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 Orson Scott Card’s (ridiculous) "Empire"
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  10:50:00  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, so I was traveling last week and picked up a book in the Airport Borders. I read Ender's game and the two followups and I thought they were pretty good stuff. So I see this book by Card called Empire about a contemporary American civil war. Sounds like it could be a fun read. Well, did ya know Card thinks liberals hate the military, that Princeton is populated by left-brainwashed mental zombies afraid to speak their mind, that NPR is Leftist news media, that GW's a good president who makes the tough calls, and Bill O'reilly is honest, fair and balanced? WTF?

The book's about an evil Left Wing conspiracy to murder the president, frame the US military, and then overthrow the weakened government by occupying Manhatton with an army of futuristic battle mechs all plotted and funded by George Soros. And oh by the way, it reads like a first or second draft - unpolished with particularly scene-inapproprate dialogue. And in the interests of full disclosure, I am enjoying the read, despite it's many many flaws. I'm nearly finished and I can't wait to find out what the retired Spec Ops soldiers working directly for the president find in the secret Washington State hideout of Mr. Soros' evil alter ego.

If there's one thing every scifi fan should be wary of, it's anything an admired author types in a contemporary setting. It's bound to be an ugly surprise. Same damn thing happened to me with Larry Niven in the book "Fallen Angels."

EDIT: Note, this book is not supposed to be a joke, just so you know. Reading over this post I realized the the forum reader might get the idea Card was being sarcastic and I somehow failed to pick up on that. But he wasn't - indeed it's been a bit of a controversy.

-Chaloobi


Edited by - chaloobi on 10/13/2008 11:47:07

Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  11:56:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah; Orson Scott Card is not a very nice person, according to our sensibilities.

I, however, hotly recommend this interview of him by Donna Minkowitz.
And, because this is the book sectin, I read her book which was interesting but did not overly convince me.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  12:29:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Orson Scott Card also seems to think marriage is a biological imperative and that homosexuality is evil because it flows counter that imperative. The man is - or can be - a good writer, but that doesn't stop him from being a wackjob in his spare time. Here's where I found about that. It's discussed elsewhere in the intarwebs, too.

edit: yay, I finally remembered how to make links

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
Edited by - Siberia on 10/13/2008 12:31:06
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9664 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  14:23:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Siberia
edit: yay, I finally remembered how to make links

Your post/day ratio has been dropping fast this last half year or so, but it's not too late to repair that dammage. Once you post count is back on track, I'm sure your forum tag skills will resurface...


xox

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2008 :  15:54:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Don't forget that Card also supported Expelled and denies global warming.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2008 :  09:03:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a sad sad situation. Ender's Game is one of my all time favorites.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1263 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  07:14:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's not that sad really, I find his beliefs rarely crossover into his work. For example the homecoming series, which is based on the book of Mormon, accepts evolution as fact and has a homosexual character portrayed in a positive way. Just because someone believes that homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry, doesn't mean he is a gay bashing, bigoted nazi.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13455 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  10:57:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

It's not that sad really, I find his beliefs rarely crossover into his work. For example the homecoming series, which is based on the book of Mormon, accepts evolution as fact and has a homosexual character portrayed in a positive way. Just because someone believes that homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry, doesn't mean he is a gay bashing, bigoted nazi.
You're right. I would leave out "nazi" and perhaps "bashing".

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  12:22:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I went back and read Ender's game again to see if I could find a hint of his obtuse ideology, but there was none. It's still a good read.

One major nit-pick I have was the whole Bugger colonization scheme. Per the book, the Bugger's colonized dozens of worlds, presumably terraformed and built the infrastructure of civlization on each, but never sent a queen to any of them. All the queens were on their home world when Ender unwittingly blew it up, except the one egg they left for him to find. The only other queen that apparently left their home world was the one that Mazer Rakham killed in the 2nd Invasion to save humanity. That inconsistency could be explained away as a diplomatic mission, which is what I assumed the 2nd invastion actually was.

But I fail to see how (or why) they would build all these colonies with no queens on them. What, did they maintain all the colonial populations from the homeworld? In a universe where spacecraft could not travel faster than light? That's absurdly inefficient and what's the point of colonizing if you don't populate the colonies with breeders?

Ok, you might argue the Buggers brought the queens home for safety against the human invasion. But that doesn't make sense in light of the one they left for Ender to find. They obviously deduced the humans meant to wipe them out, so why make it so convenient by puting all your eggs in one basket? Why not hide many queen eggs or send out many live queens to all corners of the galaxy to save their species? Why just the one they hoped Ender would eventually stumble upon?

IMHO the answer is that whole thing was just a clunky plot device. The dramatic ending doesn't work unless Ender can kill everything in one shot and then about face to be the redeemer that eventually revives the Bugger race. On the one hand Card wanted many battles leading to the final, he wanted a space faring Bugger species that explored and colonized. But he also wanted a climactic ending that resulted in the worst crime of human history and the opportunity for the instrument of that crime to redeem himself. The result is a species that colonizes but stays home.

-Chaloobi

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