I've now added the first full chapter of every single one of my books to the excerpt page. I love cliffhanger endings, but I'm finding that some readers do, and others don't. So now, if you have to know right this very minute what happens next, you can do so. Of course, I hope this leads you to by the next book in the series. Happy reading!
The blockbuster sci-fi movie Ender's Game opens tomorrow, and if the trailers and associated hype can be believed, it's going to be a brilliant film.
I read the book-- for the first time-- recently, and I have to say that if the movie is half as good as the book, they have a massive hit on their hands.
When I was a kid, I cut my teeth on books by Isaac Asimov (and there are a lot), mostly his robot stories and especially the epic Foundation series, but oddly, I didn't know about Ender's Game or it's brilliant author Orson Scott Card, until a few short years ago. A friend of mine on one of my favorite internet forums is utterly smitten with Ender, in fact, that's the name he took for the forum. I don't even know his real name.
At any rate, he would simply gush about Ender this and Ender that. I was immensely flattered that he would sometimes favorably compare my writing and characters to those of Card's (fat chance) and I would politely let him.
Still, I hadn't actually read the book.
About a year ago, the first rumblings came around that the movie was in production, and being familiar with the title, it caught my attention. What I didn't know was anything about this Card fellow that wrote the book. Unfortunately, he comes across to me as something of a crackpot in some specific ways.
Until this year, Card was a member of the board of the infamous National Organization for Marriage. They're the friendly folks that got California's rightly struck-down Proposition 8 passed barring people of the LGBT persuasion from marrying the person they love, thanks to the hefty financial support of the Mormons, of which Card is also a member.
Card has also written some stupendously hateful things about LGBT people, which I won't quote here (they're widely available all over the internet). That first became an issue when Card was asked to be a guest author for DC Comics Adventures of Superman, and the backlash prompted DC to drop Card. Card also skipped the panel discussion at last summer's ComiCon on the Ender's Game movie, reportedly because of planned demonstrations. Lions Gate, the film's producer, felt compelled to issue a statement completely repudiating Card's views on homosexuality.
To come right to the point, there's been a lot of discussion on whether LGBT-friendly groups should organize boycotts of the movie, and it also made me ask myself if I really wanted to hand over a small portion of my hard-earned cash to someone I vehemently disagree with and view as willfully misguided.
Can you separate the artist from the art? This is a question that has been asked many times, perhaps most notably about Wagner; he was a well-known anti-Semite-- so much so that the Nazis claimed his music for their own. And yet, the music is genius.
After all I'd heard, I really, really wanted to read Ender's Game, but I just couldn't get over the obstacles my conscience had thrown in my way. Finally, I realized that if I was going to comment intelligently on the issue, I'd have to read the book. Rationalization? Yeah, probably.
I had a hard time reconciling the beautiful and epic story with the man that wrote it. Tolerance and forgiveness are strong themes. I suppose that all of us that write fiction are liars in one way or another. What I mean is that we have to create characters that say and do things that we'd never say or do ourselves.
I've decided that the themes and scope of Ender's Game are bigger than the small-minded views of it's author. Ender Wiggin is the great winner and savior of humanity, but I'm afraid Orson Scott Card is on the losing end of history.
Being Independence Day, there was a full-page ad in my local paper by the "Freedom From Religion Foundation." It featured portraits of various Founding Fathers along with quotes more or less disparaging the effects that religion have had on history.
I've long held that strict separation of government and religion is essential to maintaining personal freedoms, but I couldn't help feel that "the Nation's largest association of Agnostics and Atheists" were taking a little bit of a finger-in-the-eye approach.
I think it's far more instructive and constructive to recall what those founders of our nation were rebelling against-- a king.
While the founders, almost without exception, started out feeling a strong allegiance to the mother country, they found it harder and harder to reconcile those feelings with the increasingly arbitrary and capricious rule of their monarch. They started to chafe under the notion that a single person could have that much power. And where does a king's authority come from?
From God, of course! That's why the framers of our constitution felt it so important that religion have no place in government. Once you open the door to governing according to religious beliefs, anyone can decide what those beliefs are, and they are unassailable.
Taken to extreme, you end up with nasty things like Islamic republics (Iran), absolute monarchs (Saudi Arabia), "chosen" people (Israel). I could also list many of the great states of this country, as well.
So on this Independence Day, raise your beer to the idea that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.