Boycotting Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card is one of my roll models as an author, but not necessarily as anything beyond that.  Specifically, I do not agree with his position against gay marriage, nor do I condone his vehement and sometimes hateful attempts to stop it.  Now there’s a movie coming out based on his greatest book, Ender’s Game (I wrote a post on that yesterday), and there’s an effort to boycott the movie because of Card’s controversial political views.


Card’s views can be extreme, even to those who favor traditional marriage.  According to the website, Card once said that people in the LGBT community “[…] cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within [a] society.”  As a bookworm, especially a bookworm of Science Fiction books, this puts me in a difficult position.  I love Ender’s Game, but I have far too many gay friends for me to be neutral, and even if that weren’t the case… really, you don’t think they should be citizens?

But Ender’s Game isn’t about this at all.  It has nothing to do with marriage equality.  In fact, it’s a book about learning to understand another person’s point of view, no matter how “alien” that person may seem to you.  It’s about looking at someone you think of as an enemy and finding only a reflection of yourself.  In other words, it’s about tolerance.

It’s strange to get this message of tolerance from a man who, by all appearances, is not very tolerant himself.  So where should we draw the line between an author and the stories he writes?  How much do the political views of writers, actors, artists, or musicians affect the way we perceive and enjoy their work?

Are You Excited for Ender’s Game?

You’ll usually find Ender’s Game and Dune taking top spots on lists of the greatest Science Fiction or Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels of all time.  On my own top ten list, they’re constantly battling over the #2 slot (for me, The Lord of the Rings is unquestionably #1).  Now the movie version of one of those books (Ender’s Game) comes out in theatres this Friday.

But we all know what Hollywood sometimes does to popular books.  Just look at what happened to Dune.  The feature file version is… well… some people liked it, I guess.  So as we approach the release date for Ender’s Game, I’ve been both excited and apprehensive.  Will they ruin Orson Scott Card’s best and most provocative book?

So it was with a great sense of relief and reassurance that I read this interview with Gavin Hood, the director of Ender’s Game.  This is a man who seems to understand what this story is about beyond the epic space battles and explosions and such.  In the interview, he said, “There’s always a theme I’m drawn to, that we humans are not good or bad.  We’re all a mixture of both.  We can have great compassion or commit great violence.”

Ender’s Game is about a lot of things: war, space, childhood, video games… but in that statement, Gavin Hood has captured the soul of Orson Scott Card’s work.  If he can do that in three sentences, I’m sure he can do it in a two-hour movie.

So this Friday, when I walk into the local movie theatre and give them $9.00 of my hard earned cash, I will feel confident that I’ll get to see the real Ender’s Game on the big screen, and not some Hollywood bastardization of the book I love.