Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is considered one of the classics of science fiction. It has appeared near the top of any comprehensive list of the best of sci-fi and fantasy since it was originally published, in 1985. It is the winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honors in the genre. And yet, the long-delayed release of the film version of Ender’s Game has been accompanied by controversy and threats of boycott.
At issue is the author’s history of statements condemning homosexuality and gay marriage. In response, the LGBT group Geeks OUT has organized a boycott and protests of the film, stating that, “As a writer, [Card] has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights….Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda.”
Ironically, perhaps, empathy and tolerance are some of the main themes of Ender’s Game, and many long-time fans of the book have written about how influential those messages were in their own lives. Others have argued that punishing everyone involved in the movie solely because of Card’s marginal involvement is wrong and counter-productive. (Card has a producing credit on the film, but was not involved creatively. He was reportedly paid for the book rights many years ago, and will not see any additional money from the box office. He will, of course, receive royalties from any additional books sold as a result of the publicity.) Some have even gone so far as to say that Card’s statements have inadvertently helped the LGBT movement, arguing that “Most fair-minded people who read his screeds will see that they are not proper arguments at all, but merely ill-tempered reflexes. When Card puts his stuff out there, he makes us look good by comparison. The more he talks, and the more we talk, the better we sound.”
What do you think? Are you a fan of the book? Do you plan to see the film?
– Lorena N.