YA sci-fi classic leaves a complicated legacy
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is a science fiction novel about Earth’s retaliatory efforts following an alien invasion that has been successfully repelled. Upon release, it was billed as an important moment for science fiction and brought the genre to a generation of teenage and young adult readers.
Many Armstrong students can recognize the novel from one of their required reading lists in high school or college. It is a very popular book for teachers to assign to their students due to the accessible nature of its prose while also highlighting difficult and mature themes.
As someone who liked this book very much growing up, it is a particularly difficult book to revisit. Much has been said about Orson Scott Card’s views on and against homosexuality, and in today’s culture those views are impossible to ignore. One particularly frustrating aspect of Card’s views is that they conflict with what makes “Ender’s Game” such a good read.
“Ender’s Game” deals with huge existentialist themes that evolve with its plot. The story follows a young boy, Ender, who is selected along with others as a potential military leader in the fight against an alien civilization, colloquially called “Buggers”. Ender goes through a series of “games” designed to train him to overcome this existential threat.
As Ender and his friends progress through the games, they get more and more difficult, with consequences that continue to grow. Eventually, Ender learns that the games he played had massive and irreparable consequences on an unimaginable scale.
These consequences have led to this book being commonly banned, especially since the book is intended for a younger audience. Many would argue that young readers should not be exposed to scenarios that fictional mass loss of life.
However, the novel does not glorify acts of war and instead focuses on how we measure life, especially when the life we ââvalue is that of an enemy or a perceived threat. He uses them brilliantly and forces Ender, as well as the reader, to decide what actions might be considered moral or immoral in the face of potential danger.
This brings up the subject of Card’s personal opinions. It’s hard to accept that a novel centered so narrowly on the value of life could be written by someone who is unable to accept the gender identity of millions of humans. It doesn’t seem to match mathematically, but it is the reality of this situation.
Many fans of many different works of art are familiar with the fact that sometimes we have to enjoy art without the artist’s background, but with the internet at hand it can be a very difficult task to accomplish.
Ultimately, it is up to the reader to decide what he thinks of the personal views of the authors he reads. This example provides a particularly confusing account of how this can happen.