Orson Scott Card

This post doesn’t really have anything to do with the class, but it does have to do with writers. Sort of.

This weekend, I was reading a collection of short stories by Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender’s Game, probably his most well-known book.  Partway through one of his stories, I noticed a snarky little aside by one of his characters concerning homosexuality cast in a negative light.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the book with me at the moment, so I can’t quote it.  This piqued my interest, and I looked into Card’s personal beliefs.  Before this week, all I knew about him was that he is an awesome writer and a member of the Latter-Day Saints (made evident in his novel Lost Boys).

After a rather cursory bit of research, I discovered that Card is extremely anti-homosexual, mostly within the context of his religious beliefs, but socially as well.  His article, “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality” explains his beliefs on the subject quite well.  I was disgusted while reading this.  This author, who I’d admired so much before, was a bigot, albeit a bigot who can argue intelligently (according to the article, he would argue against my using the word “bigot” to describe him as well).  I finished reading the book of his short stories after reading this article, but the rest of the stories were tainted for me, despite having no subject manner related to homosexuality.  I’m half afraid that upon re-reading Ender’s Game, one of my favorite novels, it will be tainted a bit as well.

Which brings to mind the question of how much I should let knowledge of an author’s personal life influence what I read?  I know little to nothing about the lives of most of my favorite contemporary authors, but if I went in and did the research, how many people’s books would suddenly be ruined for me?  Perhaps I’m taking this a little too far.  Perhaps Card is the exception, the one of few authors who go out of their way to make a particular point known.  Why am I letting this knowledge affect how I read his books, books which almost never reflect his personal moral opinions (other than, of course, his LDS-specific stories)?

Of course I would never deign to silence these authors in any way.  Free speech, and all that.  I would love it if you guys replied to this post with how you would tackle this problem of potentially alienating readers when it came to certain subjects, should you become a relatively well-known author in the future.

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
This entry was posted in Ideas and Opinions, What People Are Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Orson Scott Card

Comments are closed.