I wrote the other day wondering if the about the author page is somewhat superfluous, and a few things recently emphasize that. Like many of you, I read Ender’s Game for the first time years ago, and liked it a lot. I would certainly credit it as one of the books that helped shaped my view of science fiction, particularly the treatment of alien antagonists (more on that in a bit). And, I assume, like most of you, I knew little of Orson Scott Card other than what was printed in said ‘about the author’, nor did I particularly care to.
Ender’s Game has long had a major sticking point when Hollywood looks to make a movie about it- namely, the majority of the cast are children. This makes it hard to cast and to convey the deeper psychological aspects of the book. The fact that there is finally a movie coming out is not news to you.
What may be, though, is that Orson Scott Card is pretty vehemently opposed to gay marriage. Before I dive in any deeper, let me say this: This post is not commentary on his views, yours or anyone else’s. This is simply an example. He gets to have his view, you get to have yours and I am leaving it at that. In any case, as that link and this BookRiot post show, there are a lot of people who are going to not watch this movie because of Card’s stance. That is also their right, of course, I’m certainly not questioning that.
What I am questioning is how good this amount of knowledge is. Now, Card makes himself an easy target here because he’s pretty outspoken about his stance, as opposed to simply not liking gay marriage and not publishing that opinion all over the place. Is boycotting an author/producer/director/actor because their views differ from ones own the best thing? If I did that, there would be nothing for me to read or watch. Or is it limited to large issues? But most of the authors I read I don’t know much about- or should I be googling them to make sure they don’t support something I oppose or oppose something I support?
Here’s the oddity to me (I promised I’d get to this): The major takeaway I had from Ender’s Game and the subsequent books set in that universe was that there is always another side- the bad guys all along were pretty sympathetic and whole wars were fought over a misunderstanding and an unwillingness to see the other side. This made me, as a writer, always want to consider the point of view of my antagonists and, as a human being(ish), consider the viewpoints of others- even when I disagreed with them. I like that message better than the digital battle lines that are being drawn because of the author’s opinions.