8 December, 2021

OpEd: The Other Moral Dilemma of ‘Ender’s Game’

This piece comes to us from our good friend Tee Morris:

The Other Moral Dilemma of ‘Ender’s Game’

Orson Scott Card


Orson Scott Card.

What can you say about celebrated New York Times bestselling author Orson Scott Card?

Well, there’s this…

Orson Scott Card is a homophobic piece of shit.”

And then there’s this…

That P.O.S. gets none of my dollars.”

And from the same thread…

He’s not getting a dime from me.”

Members of the Science Fiction community have been of late truly repulsed by some of the things OSC has expressed both online and in the world of op-ed pieces, and—let’s be honest—OSC as an author is so mainstream that his recent spirited opinions inspired articles like this:



Tee Morris

Here’s where it gets tricky though…

Ender’s Game is a book I have never read, but I know the book. I’ve known this book for decades, prominently displayed in bookstores everywhere in 1985. And in 1995. And in 2005.

And today, people still recommend it. My wife Pip loves this book, and while I already know how this epic adventure wraps up, a part of me really wants to read it in preparation for what promises to be an incredible epic rivaling the upcoming Man of Steel.

Yes, I believe in you, Zac Snyder, even though you got a Brit playing one of the most iconic of American superheroes…

…but I digress.

Since OSC started spewing his hatred and other political rants, fans of his work have taken a moment to step back and say “Hold on.” There was enough uproar against his opinions that DC Comics artist Chris Spouse walked away from OSC’s Superman story, compelling DC to shelf the story until they can find an artist willing to work on it. Even Browncoats who held OSC’s review of Serenity as a golden fleece for Whedon’s deep space western had to stop and wonder where this hatred was coming from.

Then the Ender’s Game trailer hit the Interwebz, and suddenly enders gamethe same geeks once chastising him for his bile-laden bigotry were starting a countdown to the movie’s release. And regardless of what kind of deal OSC signed (and in his own words, “I jealously protected the movie rights to Ender’s Game so that it would not be filmed until it could be done right,” so you know this had to be one killer deal for it to look this good in a preview), one way or another, the Ender’s Game movie puts money in OSC’s pocket.

So I find myself in a quandary. I honestly don’t want to give money or support of any kind to Mr. Card. I want to read the book. I really do. Based on the casting and the glimpses we got in this two-and-a-half minute trailer, this looks to be an incredible story. However, you could be the best storyteller EVAR; but if you’re a bigoted punk, why would I want to buy your stuff?

From the earlier quoted thread, there was another comment worth noting:

If you judged every work by its creator, you’d live in a dull, motionless vacuum. Go see the damn movie.”

Good point. After all, I’m a writer. So’s Pip. Shouldn’t we be practicing solidarity for our fellow author, and shouldn’t we take a point-of-view of “Would we want people passing judgment on our work based on the merit of the work itself, not on our beliefs and opinions?” I’m sure, based on my blogposts, my podcasts, my sentiments expressed both on and off panels, and my social media updates, I’ve turned off potential readers on account of my tree-hugging-raging-liberal-Christian viewpoints.

No, you didn’t misread that self-description. You read that right. Shocking but true: I drive an E.V., and I recycle.

But seriously, would I want someone to judge my work based on how I live my life, or on the quality of the stories I tell and the characters I create?

When you think about it, this impasse sounds a lot like something you’d read in Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine or see on The Twilight Zone. If a scientist discovers the cure for cancer, but then reveals his or her insistence that this cure would be reserved for “whites only” would you financially invest in his or her work? Okay, for something less dramatic, what if you have a favorite musician and you love their work. You have all of this artist’s music, maybe even a few rare vinyls of their early works. Then you discover the artist is anti-Semitic, supports white supremacist groups, and is about to come out with a new album. Do you purchase it? Yeah, maybe you can pirate it, but by enjoying their work, aren’t you also giving that artist validation for their efforts?

One part of me wants to discover a great story. Another part of me does not want to give any kind of validation to Orson Scott Card. But by boycotting the film, I’m boycotting what promises to be powerful performances from Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley, and artistic accomplishments of the film’s director and technical crew. Is one guy carrying a lot of fear and hatred within him worth it?

It truly is a moral dilemma. And once upon a time, there was an author who wrote about such a moral dilemma. Back in 1985.

-Tee Morris

This piece originally posted on teemorris.com, May 8, 2013.

4 thoughts on “OpEd: The Other Moral Dilemma of ‘Ender’s Game’

  1. It’s one thing to hold a personal opinion and to articulate it. It’s quite another to be a political activist. OSC is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the big anti-gay PACs that supported Proposition 8 in California and Proposition 1 in North Carolina, and actively opposes gay rights in other states as well. This guy isn’t just SAYING gays shouldn’t have equal rights. He is actively trying to influence the political process to make sure they don’t have equal rights. He donates thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars to oppose GLBT rights.

    By casting this in a “who am I to judge how OSC wants to live his life” light you’re missing the point. He’s trying to tell GLBT Americans how THEY should live their lives, and he’s using the political process to do so. I don’t think there’s any “other” moral dilemma involved here. I don’t see why I should have to have any thought other than “I refuse to fund my own oppression.”

    1. So with this tactic of no “other” moral dilemma, you’re saying that any involved in this production — Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, the rest of the cast, the visual effect artists, etc. — are contributing to supporting OSC? Should they also be given the cold shoulder? And what if we build on this scenario and people boycott the movie and it fails. Will Hollywood be gun shy in supporting a beloved story (and let’s be honest, it IS a beloved book. The comments on my own blog reflect this.) because there is a risk in Ender’s Game.

      And yes, Hollywood is still risk-adverse. My wife just read a story about Fox considering a limited return of 24. I loved that show, but it’s DONE. Do we really need to tap that well again?

      OSC’s recent rants could have a damaging effect on the box office. Consider the damage Tom Cruise went through during his ranting phase. MI3 tested the highest of all the film (pre-Ghost Protocol) but it did not perform well at the box office. I think even the Cruise Camp caught on to that because he’s been a bit more “subdued” than during that point of his career.

      But if Ender’s Game fails, then books and stories that could make fantastic films could be put on the back-burner because producers want to see what kind of public image that author has.

      Just something to think about. And thank you for the discussion.

      1. You’re missing my point entirely.

        The moral question here is not based on “public image.” Plenty of people–writers, athletes, musicians–have bad “public image.” The reason people don’t get so upset about them is they don’t spend their fortunes trying to get everyone to vote the way they want us to, and they don’t advocate overthrowing the government if it does something they disagree with (and yes, OSC has done precisely this. He believes the people should rise up against any government that condones gay marriage. Think about that for a minute–he thinks armed insurrection is an appropriate response to same-sex marriage).

        Further, you’re comparing apples to oranges by bringing Tom Cruise into this discussion. OSC is a political activist.Tom Cruise articulates his personal beliefs as such. OSC is pushing to make his beliefs the law of the land. If you don’t get the difference between Tom Cruise and his rants, and OSC being on the board of directors of one of the biggest, best-funded anti-gay organizations in the country, there’s no use even trying to continue this discussion.

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