Judging a Book by the Name on The Cover

Yesterday I was discussing sci-fi and fantasy with Sam, a good writer friend of mine and the book Ender’s Game was mentioned. I felt compelled to state that it’s hard to separate the work from it’s author and his extremely bigoted views on marriage and same-sex equality.

Sam makes a good point, one that I found myself dwelling on last night. Am I ‘right’ to judge Ender’s Game the work quite predominantly on it’s author, Orson Scott Card being (among other things) a thoroughly horrible person? Can I enjoy a work when I know fully that it’s author espouses extremely bigoted and, to say the least, pre-millennial views on the subject of sexual equality?

Ender’s Game is a book that intrigues me. A military sci-fi adventure where children are indoctrinated to fight an alien threat, and the ultimate messages include tolerance and that the ends never justify the means in regard to warfare. However, can I truly enjoy a book when it seems to me that the author themselves consider these values a fiction?

A book should be criticised separately from the personality of it’s author, though the personality of its author should be instilled throughout it’s pages. But with Ender’s Game this whole issue the proverbial elephant in the room and the scale of it means it really can’t be ignored. This is more than judging a book on the basis of it’s author being a bit of a prat; this man is through-and-through nasty and his outlook does nothing to advance society. In my humble opinion.

If people want to read or watch Ender’s Game, then fine, but I feel the skeleton in the cupboard in regard to it’s author deserves to be at least mentioned in passing. It’s a tragic shame as I’m sure I’d enjoy Ender’s Game; I might pick it up second-hand should I come across it. I really don’t want to support the views of a man I find quite disgusting financially, however abstract that connection may be, through a direct book sale or cinema ticket.

This post has been quite saddening to write as I don’t want to be known for talking trash about other authors or getting personal but Mr. Card is, I feel, deserving of the criticism. By deeming people undeserving of basic human rights and worthy of discrimination solely on their sexuality (which isn’t a choice) he stands on the wrong side of progress and history. Ultimately we’re all people sharing a planet and it is cruel to be so discriminatory for so little reason. I don’t wish his film well and I suppose most damning, I don’t hope he has a nice day.

What do you think? Am I right to cast Ender’s Game aside because of the personal views of it’s author? Do you think I should separate Ender’s Game the book from Orson Scott Card the bigot?

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