Ender's Game (mild spoilers)

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Sat Mar 15 10:35:46 EST 2003

Rebecca said...

> How do people on the list feel about Orson Scott Card's _Ender Game_?
> In many ways, I find the book very powerful, and yet I always feel
> vaguely uncomfortable.

Well, as the person who recommended this one, I suppose I'd better defend my
choice. :-)

I first read it aged 15 or so, and thought it wonderful.  I still love it.
But I admit that I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone under that age -
and OSC, in fact, objects to its being marketed as a YA book; he says
himself that it's an adult book.  Some teenagers could read and enjoy it,
but it for many, especially younger teens, it just wouldn't be appropriate.

> I
> keep finding things that make me twitch and say 'misogyny,'
> 'anti-semitism.'  I mean, Card makes his one female equal very
> competent (Petra), but he also says there are very few women being
> trained, because they've evolved to be bad fighters.  And then again,
> with Rose the Nose, when the reader is told that all of the Jewish
> generals always win fights, and we're told that almost everyone in
> power is Jewish...Am I just overly sensitive?

Hm.  You know, that really didn't occur to me until you pointed it out.
Then again, anti-semitism is really not a big issue here, and in general in
Ireland we tend to worry less about discrimination than, say, Americans do.
(I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.)

Now that you mention it, it does seem to me that OSC probably doesn't know
many women who, say, do martial arts, LARP, are soldiers or police officers,
or any other "agressive" (for want of a better term) pursuit.  Then again,
aren't Mormon women encouraged to stick to more traditional feminine roles?

I'm not sure that I have a point here.  I think I'm saying that any misogyny
is probably unconscious rather than malicious, though that of course doesn't
necessarily make it better.

But this hypothetical person that we're recommending these books to has
surely read other stuff, if not spec-fic, and is presumably not stupid; I
don't know that we need to "nanny" him/her too much.  Or am I being overly

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
- O. Cromwell

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