Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Hugos: Ender's Game

1986's Hugo winner merely proves what I have always known: I love 1986.

When I was 10, everything was perfect in the world of TV, film, and fiction. If my own actual life was a never-ending sinkhole full of crap- what of it?

I was never there: I was inside books.

This book wasn't one of them, not at that time. But during my Hugo reading in my adult life I rarely turned up a story I liked better.

I give Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card the ultimate 5 stars out of 5.

Ender Wiggin is six years old, and a whiz in the skills required to kill Formics (an insectoid alien species bent on Earth's destruction). Those skills include being able to play video combat games the best of all. Bullied by the other students at Battle School, Ender nevertheless perseveres and thrives to become Earth's savior, executioner, and pawn in a final epic space battle.

It's very black and white, very simplistic. Exactly the sort of morals I was issued with. But of course, there is so much more to the problem. Earth's hero is merely another kind of victim, a soldier drip-fed only as much information as is necessary, and only from a human point of view.

There's a less forgiving but perfectly valid take on Ender's Game from Ryan. (That it is no more or less than a disturbing adolescent power fantasy.)

My great fondness for this story does not negate my disagreement with some of what the author personally believes. Card is the descendant of Brigham Young, second prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As such, he is vocally and financially opposed to legalizing gay marriage.

For a man whose books asked me to take a hard look at the Other Guy and see him as something besides an enemy, and especially to ask ourselves to REALLY question what our authorities have told us since our births, that feels, just to me, like a smidgen of hypocrisy. I'm just sayin'.

Lord knows I've never met the guy. He's probably nice. He looks nice. His books are certainly powerful. I want to like him. Or understand him, at least.

And I DO want to see his movie next year or soon. I just DON'T want any of my ticket money to end up forcing two boys to stop kissing.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Thanks for the shout out. I tried really hard to figure out if I would have liked the book better if I'd read it before I knew about Card's politics. I think some of the ways Card revels in bully-killing would've bothered me regardless, though maybe not if I'd read it as a kid.

Still, there are some great images, and I can see the appeal of Ender. I certainly don't blame people for loving this book (and even I gave it what I consider to be a pretty good grade after ragging on it for 4 paragraphs).

I'm interested to see what you think of Speaker, which is just weirder in every way.