Orson Scott Card
Author, Speaker and Teacher
Brigham Young High School
Class of 1969

Scott Card at BYH in 1968
Scott Card at BYH in 1968
Orson Scott Card, successful author
Orson Scott Card, Author

Will university students soon be writing papers examining the question, "What group of people wrote under the pen name of Orson Scott Card?" The list of OSC titles already produced is staggering, impossible to update, and already too many for three men to have written.

"Orson Scott Card" -- we'll write as if there is just one -- was born on August 24, 1951, in Richland, Washington. His parents left Washington to start up a sign company in San Mateo, California. Eventually his father switched careers and became an educator. Scott grew up the son of a college professor and always in the shadow of a university.

Books were always a part of his life, and he learned to read early. He was an intelligent child who got along better with adults than with the children around him.

He and his family lived in Salt Lake City, Utah while his father went to college. After that Scott spent most of his childhood back in San Mateo, California.

However, when Scott's father got a faculty job at Brigham Young University, they moved back to Utah, residing in Orem. He was a member of the Class of 1969 at Brigham Young High School, but when the school was closed at the end of the 1967-1968 school year, he went on to college a year early.

He had gotten in with the drama crowd at BYH, and he did so again at BYU. This is where he began writing stage plays. As he progressed, he developed an understanding for what moves an audience and gives them sympathy for his characters.

He graduated from BYU with a BA in Theatre and Cinema in 1975. He earned an MA in English at the University of Utah in 1981.

After he served a two-year church mission to Brazil, Card started a theatre company, which soon ended. Because his salary did not offset the loss, he decided to try to make some money by writing.

His first story, Tinker, was initially turned down, so he started another story. He wrote Enders Game in a notebook, in longhand, sitting on a lawn outside the Salt Palace, while a circus went on inside.

This time his story was purchased immediately. But at that time it was not yet a book, just a short story. It was published in the August 1977 issue of Analog. It came in second on the Hugo ballot, and he won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.

He wrote several more short stories, published collections of them, as well as several full-length novels. Enders Game, the story, became a novel, and was a remarkable success. It won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1985.

The next year he finished Speaker for the Dead which also won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1986 and 1987.

Nobody had ever won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row, until Orson Scott Card did it.

The third novel in the series, Xenocide, was published in 1991. The fourth and seemingly final volume in the series, Children of the Mind, was published in August 1996.

A new novel in the Ender's series, titled Ender's Shadow, was published in August 1999 -- but it is not a sequel. Instead, it returns to the events of Ender's Game and views them from the point of view of another character, a street urchin named Bean. Card discovers a new story in the midst of the old, when seeing it through other eyes.

A sequel to Ender's Shadow was published in January 2001 entitled Shadow of The Hegemon.

But Orson Scott Card's experience is not limited to one genre or form of storytelling. His contemporary novels Lost Boys, Treasure Box, and Homebody brought a powerful emphasis on character and moral dilemmas to the old-fashioned ghost story.

And his contemporary novel, Enchantment (April 1999 from Del Rey), is a romantic fantasy that has Sleeping Beauty being awakened by an American graduate student in Ukraine in 1991. The characters pass back and forth between Sleeping Beauty's world of ninth-century Russia and today's America, with the famous anti-hero of Russian folklore, the witch Baba Yaga, following close behind.

Card has broken new ground with each of his major works. The Homecoming Saga (the novels The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, The Ships of Earth, Earthfall, and Earthborn) are a retelling of ancient scripture as science fiction.

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus is the sine qua non of alternate history novels, in which time travelers return to keep Columbus from discovering America -- or at least from returning to Europe after having discovered it. It will be followed by books that reinvision Noah's flood and the Garden of Eden -- in historically, culturally, and scientifically plausible ways.

Perhaps Card's most innovative work is his American fantasy series, The Tales of Alvin Maker. The first five volumes, Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, and Heartfire are set in a magical version of the American frontier. Two more volumes, The Crystal City and Master Alvin, will complete this reexamination of American history.

Card's works have been translated into many languages, including Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, and Swedish.

A dozen of Card's plays have been produced in regional theatre, including the musical Barefoot to Zion (written in collaboration with his composer brother, Arlen L. Card), which played to sold-out houses in Utah as part of the Church's sesquicentennial celebration of the arrival of pioneers into Salt Lake Valley.

His historical novel, Saints, has been an underground hit for many years, and Card has written hundreds of audio plays and a dozen scripts for animated video plays for the family market.

And his TV series concept, The Gate, was purchased by the WB network for development.

Meanwhile, Ender's Game is being developed for film. In March of 2006 it was announced that Warner Brothers and Card have extended their option on the film version of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, with Card himself writing a new draft of the screenplay. Work on the script is progressing. Card continues to work with his partners in Taleswapper and Chartoff Productions, where Lynn Hendee is the lead producer on the project. At Warner Brothers, Lynn Harris is the executive in charge of the Ender movie.

Also a teacher: Card has written two books on writing: Character and Viewpoint and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, the latter of which won a Hugo award in 1991.

He has taught writing courses at several universities, including a novel-writing course at Pepperdine. He has also taught at such workshops as Antioch, Clarion, Clarion West, and the Cape Cod Writers Workshop.

Because of his commitment to family he eventually announced that he would no longer be going on book tours, in part because they take too much time away from his family.

As a self-described orthodox member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, religion is important in his life. These factors make his stories not only interesting for their inventiveness, but also for their moral and ethical situations, with characters connected to the world through their families.

Orson Scott Card and his wife, Kristine Allen Card, are the parents of five children: Geoffrey, Emily, Charles, Zina Margaret, and Erin Louisa (named for Chaucer, Bronte and Dickinson, Dickens, Mitchell, and Alcott, respectively).

Card recently began a long-term position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

So, is "Orson Scott Card" just one man? -- or three? or three dozen? We will leave this conspiracy theory question to future literature professors and their students around the world.


OSC in shades

Orson Scott Card x 3

Books Published - Orson Scott Card
(in reverse chronological order)

WORKS IN PROGRESS

  • Bully and the Beast (young adult novel based on the short story, Tor)

  • Rasputin (with Kathryn H. Kidd, book 2 in the science fiction series Mayflower, Tor)

    COMPLETED, AWAITING PUBLICATION

  • Empire (novel, Tor, November 2006)

    PUBLISHED

  • Magic Street (formerly Slow Leak) (contemporary fantasy novel, Del Rey, June 2005)

  • Shadow of the Giant (science fiction novel, sequel to Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow Puppets, Tor, March 2005)

  • Rachel & Leah (3rd in the Women of Genesis series, Shadow Mountain, July 2004)

  • The Crystal City (volume 6 of Tales of Alvin Maker, American Fantasy, Tor, November 2003)

  • Shadow Puppets (science fiction novel, sequel to Ender's Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon, Tor, August 2002)

  • Rebekah (2nd in the Women of Genesis series, Women of Genesis series, Shadow Mountain, November 2001)

  • Shadow of the Hegemon (science fiction novel, sequel to Ender's Shadow, Tor, January 2001)

  • Sarah (1st in the Women of Genesis series, Women of Genesis series, Shadow Mountain, October 2000)

  • Magic Mirror (picture book, Gibbs Smith Publisher, September 1999)

  • Ender's Shadow (novel, Tor, August 1999)

  • Enchantment (novel, Del Rey, 1999)

  • Heartfire (volume 5 of the Tales of Alvin Maker, American fantasy, Tor, 1998)

  • Homebody (novel, HarperCollins, 1998)

  • Stone Tables (novel, Deseret Book, 1997)

  • Treasure Box (novel, HarperCollins, 1996)

  • Children of the Mind (science fiction novel, sequel to Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide, Tor, 1996)

  • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (novel Tor, 1996)

  • Alvin Journeyman (volume 4 of Tales of Alvin Maker; American fantasy, Tor, 1995) Locus Award (best fantasy novel) 96

  • Earthborn (volume 5 of the science fiction series Homecoming, Tor, 1995)

  • Earthfall (volume 4 of the science fiction series Homecoming, Tor, 1995)

  • Lovelock (with Kathryn H. Kidd, book 1 in the science fiction series Mayflower, Tor, 1994)

  • The Ships of Earth (volume 3 of the science fiction series Homecoming, Tor, 1994)

  • A Storyteller in Zion (essays, Bookcraft, 1993)

  • The Call of Earth (volume 2 of the science fiction series Homecoming, Tor, 1992)

  • Lost Boys (novel, HarperCollins, 1992)

  • The Memory of Earth (volume 1 of the science fiction series Homecoming, Tor, 1992)

  • Xenocide (science fiction novel, sequel to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, Tor, Aug 1991)

  • The Worthing Saga (omnibus volume incorporating The Worthing Chronicle, most of Capitol, and several previously unpublished or uncollected stories from the same future history; Tor, Dec 90)

  • Eye for Eye (Tor double novel, with Lloyd Biggle, Jr., "Tunesmith," and Foreword and Afterword to "Tunesmith" by OSC, Tor, Nov 90)

  • Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card (Tor, 1990)

  • Maps in a Mirror: Paperbacks:
    ~ The Changed Man (book 1, 1992)
    ~ Flux (book 2, 1992)
    ~ Cruel Miracles (book 4, 1992)
    ~ Monkey Sonatas (book 3, 1993)

  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy (Writer's Digest Books, 90) Hugo Award 91

  • The Abyss with Jim Cameron (science fiction, novel based on the film The Abyss, Pocket, May 89); in French translation as Abyss (J'ai Lu, 89); in German translation as Abyss: In der Tiefe de Meeres (Bastei Lubbe); Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese editions forthcoming.

  • The Folk of the Fringe (science fiction, collection of linked stories, Phantasia Press/Tor, Apr 89)

  • Prentice Alvin (vol. 3 of Tales of Alvin Maker; American fantasy, Tor, Feb 89); UK edition Century/Legend

  • Treason (science fiction, St. Martin's Press, Oct 88; revised edition of A Planet Called Treason, 10% new material)

  • Character and Viewpoint (Writer's Digest Books, Aug 88)

  • Red Prophet (vol. 2 of Tales of Alvin Maker; American fantasy, Tor, Jan 88); UK edition (Century/Legend); in German translation as Der Rote Prophet (Bastei Lubbe) Hugo finalist 89, Nebula Finalist 88, Locus Award (best fantasy novel) 89

  • Wyrms (science fiction novel, Arbor House/Tor, Jun 87); UK edition (Century/Legend); in German translation as Die Stadt am Ende der Welt (Bastei Lubbe)

  • Seventh Son (vol. 1 of Tales of Alvin Maker; American fantasy, Tor, Jun 87); UK edition (Century/Legend); in German translation as Der Siebente Sohn (Bastei Lubbe) Hugo finalist 88, World Fantasy finalist 88, Mythopoeic Society Award 88, Locus Award (best fantasy novel) 88

  • Cardography (fantasy collection, Hypatia Press, Mar 87; all stories to be incorporated in Maps in a Mirror)

  • Speaker for the Dead (science fiction novel, Tor, Feb 86); UK edition (Century); in French translation as La Voix des Morts (Opta); in German translation as Sprecher fur die Toten (Bastei Lubbe); in Spanish translation as La Voz de los Muertos: La Saga de Ender (Nova) Nebula Award 86, Hugo Award 87, Locus Award 87, SF Chronicle Readers Poll Award 87

  • Ender's Game (science fiction novel, Tor, Jan 85, based on 1977 novelet "Ender's Game"); UK edition (Century); in French translation as La Strategie Ender (Opta); in German translation as Das Grosse Spiel (Bastei Lubbe); in Spanish translation as El Juego de Ender (Nova); in Japanese translation (S.I. Hayakawa); in Dutch translation as Ender Wint (Meulenhoff). Also translated into Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Sweedish. Nebula Award 85, Hugo Award 86, Hamilton-Brackett Award 86, SF Chronicle Readers Poll Award 86

  • Saints (historical novel, Berkley, Jan 84 [as Woman of Destiny]; Tor, Apr 88); named Book of the Year by Association for Mormon Letters

  • The Worthing Chronicle (science fiction novel, Ace, Jul 83; included in The Worthing Saga, qv)

  • Hart's Hope (fantasy, Berkley, Jan 83; Tor, Feb 88); in French translation as Espoir-du-cerf (Denoel); in Spanish translation as Esperanza del Venado (Nova Fantasia); in German translation as Die Hirschbraut (Bastei Lubbe)

  • Saintspeak (humor, Signature/Orion, 82)

  • Ainge (sports biography, Signature, 82; out of print)

  • Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories (story collection, science fiction, Dial/Dell, 80; out of print in U.S.); in German translation as Play Kosmos (Bastei Lubbe); in French translation as Sonate sans Accompagnement (Denoel); in Japanese translation as Mubanso Sonata (Hayakawa Publishing)

  • Songmaster (science fiction, Dial/Dell, 79, 80; Tor, 87, slightly revised); UK edition (Orbit); in German translation as Meistersanger (Bastei Lubbe); in Dutch translation as Zangermeester (Meulenhoff); in Spanish translation as Maestro Cantor (Nova Ciencia Ficcion) Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award 81

  • A Planet Called Treason (science fiction, St. Martin's/Dell, 78,79; permanently out of print; replaced by Treason, qv); UK edition A Planet Called Treason (Pan); in Dutch translation as Wereld van Verraad (Elmar); in French translation as Une Planete Nommee Trahison (Denoel); in Spanish translation as Un Planeta Llamado Traicion (Nebulae)

  • Hot Sleep (science fiction, Baronet/Ace, 78; permanently out of print; replaced by Worthing Chronicle, qv)

  • Capitol (story collection, science fiction, Baronet/Ace, 78; permanently out of print; much material included in The Worthing Saga); in German translation as Capitol (Bastei Lubbe)

  • Listen, Mom and Dad (child-rearing book, Bookcraft, 78; out of print)


  • Orson Scott Card of Hatrack River
    Orson Scott Card of Hatrack River


    Orson Scott Card suffered a mild stroke on Saturday, January 1, 2011. He is now back home, retraining his brain so that the fingers of his left hand strike the keys he's aiming for.

    He will not be responding to most emails because his typing time must be devoted to finishing his fiction. But he is grateful for your good wishes and he promises not to die with any series unfinished.

    For the foreseeable future, Card will not make any public appearances or undertake any travel. Since his speech is unimpaired, he will still conduct radio and recorded interviews. His recovery has progressed so well that he has resumed writing his weekly column for the Mormon Times.

    Who Is Orson Scott Card?


    Best known for his science fiction novels Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card has written in many other forms and genres. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977 -- the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog.

    While Card's early science fiction stories and novels were earning attention (Card won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer from the World Science Fiction Convention in 1978), he supported his family primarily by writing scripts for audiotapes produced by Living Scriptures of Ogden, Utah.

    Later, in the mid-1980s, he wrote the screenplays for animated children's videos from the New Testament and Book of Mormon, while the novel version of Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead were winning the Hugo and Nebula awards.

    Card's writing ranges from traditional sci-fi (The Memory of Earth; Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus) to biblical novels (Stone Tables; Rachel & Leah), from contemporary fantasies (Magic Street; Enchantment; Lost Boys) to books on writing (Characters and Viewpoint; How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy). His "Tales of Alvin Maker" series (beginning with Seventh Son) reinvented medieval fantasy in an American frontier setting.

    Meanwhile, Card's commentaries on subjects from literature and film to restaurants and consumer products appear weekly in his column "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything" (published by the Rhinoceros Times in Greensboro, NC, and then online), while his writings on culture, politics, and world affairs, online at "The Ornery American" (www.ornery.org), are a part of the new blog journalism.

    Card's first collection of poetry, An Open Book, appeared in 2004, and that same year, in Los Angeles, he directed a production of Posing As People, three one-acts adapted by other writers from short stories by Card.

    Card's first venture in writing illustrated novels is the comic series Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel; he will also be scripting the comic book prequels to Advent Rising, a videogame he helped write.

    Card offers writing workshops from time to time, and recently committed himself to a longterm relationship with Southern Virginia University, where he teaches writing and literature. His "Hatrack River" website (www.hatrack.com) also offers free writing workshops, for both adults and younger writers.

    Growing Up in the West

    Born in Richland, Washington, in 1951, he was named "Orson" for his grandfather, Orson Rega Card, who was a son of Charles Ora Card, the founder of the Mormon colony in Cardston, Canada, and Zina Young Card, a daughter of Brigham Young. Orson Rega's childhood was spent in a pioneer household with American Indians as frequent visitors, and the family credits Blackfoot neighbors with saving his life as a baby.

    Even though Card is only two generations removed from Mormon pioneers, his own growing-up years were more like those depicted in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.

    Card's parents, Willard and Peggy Card, first moved to San Mateo, California, when Scott was an infant. Then, when a back injury forced them to abandon Willard's sign company, the family moved to Salt Lake City while he completed his bachelor's degree. Then they returned to the bay area of California, buying a house in the little town of Santa Clara.

    It was long before the word silicon meant anything more than another name on the periodic table of elements: To young Scott, living in Santa Clara meant attending Millikin Elementary, then wandering through orchards and exploring dry creek beds with his friends, or hopping on his bicycle and riding down to the Santa Clara library, where he devoured all the books in the children's section and then sneaked into the adult section to discover the then-new genre of science fiction.

    But Card was always eclectic in his reading. At eight years of age, he read The Prince and the Pauper, which first attracted him to English history. (He soon got over the disappointment of learning that Tom Canty did not exist.)

    Other historical novels -- YA novels about the Civil War and French and Indian War by Joseph Altsheler, the Williamsburg novels by Elswyth Thane, and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind -- drew Card into American history, and when his parents gave him Bruce Catton's brilliant three-volume The Army of the Potomac for his tenth birthday, he had his first experience of the reality (rather than the romance) of war at every level.

    At about the same age, his older sister was required to read William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in high school, and passed the book down to Scott. The account of the political and diplomatic maneuvering and of the war itself was fascinating; but the story of the holocaust was devastating.

    Alongside fiction and history, Card also read scripture -- the Book of Mormon and the Bible -- and collections of sermons by Mormon prophets. He was also fascinated by histories of medicine and by books about the exploits of archaeologists. So when he advises young writers that their best education is to try, through reading, to "learn everything about everything," he is only counseling them to embark on an endless quest that he began in childhood and continues to this day.

    Meanwhile, Card inherited a love of performing from his mother. Card was a boy soprano with enough of an ear to make up harmonies as he joined in family singalongs; he grew up in a house filled with music ranging from Lawrence Welk to Scheherezade, from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to church hymns.

    Above all, though, was the music of Broadway -- Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, and many others. In the Card family, Broadway was always only just next door, and because in those days the Mormon Church also greatly encouraged the production of plays, he was surrounded by the flurry of rehearsals and performances.

    When Willard Card took a position at Arizona State University in 1964, the family moved to Mesa, Arizona, just in time for the 1964 presidential election. This was where Scott was first initiated into political activism. When the organizers of a mock political debate in the junior high school turned up not one student who admitted to being for Lyndon Johnson (Mesa was one of the most conservative towns in a pro-Goldwater state), Card volunteered and did his best to present LBJ's case to the student body. It was Card's first experience with the notion that it might be possible to be a Democrat....

    Card had played French horn and tuba in California, and marched in school bands in Arizona playing E-flat alto horn and sousaphone (at different times).

    When a family friend, Owen Peterson, then a new Spanish teacher at Scott's junior high, bought a set of the Great Books, he had no children of his own and so chose Scott to enter the scholarship competition that the Great Books then offered. Scott plunged in and had his first acquaintance with Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Plutarch, and many other writers of the ancient world. He eventually won a thousand-dollar scholarship; the money was quickly gone, but the reading was a lasting gift.

    The Utah Years

    At age 16, Card moved with his family to Orem, Utah, so his father could take a position at Brigham Young University. After a year at Brigham Young High School, a private academy associated with the university, Card graduated from high school at the end of his junior year. He won a Presidential Scholarship to BYU which he entered as an archaeology major.

    He soon realized that he was spending all his time in the theatre department, however, and changed his major. It was as a theatre student that he first began to school himself to be a writer. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience." Not to mention the actors: "If an incorrect reading of a line is possible, the actor will invariably find it." Even now, Card says that he doesn't so much write his novels as improvise them in front of an invisible audience. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

    Like many young artists in love with their art, Card resented all the hours that the university required him to "waste" on general education requirements; as a novelist, however, he found that those were the most useful parts of his college education.

    Only a few credit hours shy of graduation, Card left for Brazil on a two-year mission for the LDS Church. Serving in the cities of the state of S„o Paulo (Ribeir„o Preto, Araraquara, AraÁatuba, Campinas, Itu, and S„o Paulo itself), Card became fluent in Portuguese and fell in love with Brazilian culture.

    He returned home to his family in Orem and quickly finished up the remaining work for his bachelor's degree in theatre. Meanwhile, he founded a repertory theatre company and was the first to produce plays at "The Castle," an outdoor amphitheater that was built as a government project during the Depression, located directly behind the state mental hospital in Provo. The rent was free; the other expenses were met by Card personally selling a hundred season tickets at $20 each.

    The plays at the Castle were a success; unfortunately, an attempt to run a fall season at a remodeled barn in Provo came nowhere near paying back the money Card borrowed to finance it, and after limping through another break-even summer season, Card closed the company. It was because of the expenses of the company, and the hopelessness of repaying the debt from his meager salary as a copy editor at BYU Press, that Card set his hand to writing science fiction. The result was "Ender's Game."

    But it took a couple of years to see any payment from that project, and in the meantime, Card changed jobs to become a staff editor at The Ensign, the official magazine of the LDS Church. He moved to Salt Lake City and he and two friends at the magazine -- Jay A. Parry and Lane Johnson -- avidly traded story ideas and read each other's work. They also took a very long lunch one day to see Star Wars on its first day in Salt Lake City, a memorable event because it marked the creation of science fiction as a blockbuster film genre rather than a mere branch of the horror genre.

    Meanwhile, though, Card had dated, sometimes quite seriously, but kept returning to the first woman he dated after returning from his mission, Kristine Allen. Kristine's father, James B. Allen, was a BYU professor of history and also an Assistant Church Historian for the LDS Church. Card learned much from Kristine's father, but fell in love with his daughter, and after three years of up-and-down courtship, they got married in May 1977.

    Their first child, Michael Geoffrey, was born in 1978, and as other children were born -- Emily Janice, Charles Benjamin, Zina Margaret, and Erin Louisa -- they were all given at least one name in honor of a writer that Scott and Kristine admired: Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, and Louisa Mae Alcott. (Their third child, Charles Benjamin, was afflicted with cerebral palsy and died soon after his seventeenth birthday. Their fifth child, Erin Louisa, died the day she was born.)

    Scott and Kristine first lived in Salt Lake City, but after he left fulltime employment to support himself as a writer, they were free to move, first to Sandy, Utah, and then to Orem. Meanwhile, Card pursued the hobby of higher education, earning a master's degree in English from the University of Utah in 1981.

    They moved to South Bend, Indiana, that summer so Scott could begin doctoral work at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the recession of the early 80s dried up Scott's income for one long year, forcing them to seek fulltime employment.

    Offered two jobs, one at Coleco in Hartford, Connecticut, and the other with Compute! magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, they chose the latter and thus began their sojourn in the American South. The job at Compute! lasted only nine months; their love affair with Greensboro is still going on.

    Life in the South

    It was in Greensboro that their last three children were born and two of them died; it was in Greensboro that their children have all gone to school. They have been active in the local Mormon community, and in recent years Card's columns for the Rhinoceros Times (reprinted online at Hatrack.com and Ornery.org) have brought him more involvement in the community at large.

    But Greensboro is only home base. They travel often, having taken their kids on many visits to New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., and other American and Canadian cities and towns, as well as visits to London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Berlin, Leipzig, and Jakarta -- and one wonderful summer in Provence.

    Son Geoffrey is married to Heather Heavener Card and lives near Seattle, where he is a game designer for Amaze Entertainment (Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku and Shark Tale) and Heather is a tutor and substitute teacher. Daughter Emily is an actress, poet, singer, and audio producer in Los Angeles. Zina is living at home, attending school, and playing videogames and chess.

    Meanwhile, Card continues to ply his trade as a writer, including efforts to get good films made of some of his books. Ender's Game is in development at Warner Brothers, and other film projects are at various stages. Meanwhile, Card remains an avid watcher and critic of film and television, as well as books and music.

    Copyright © 2011 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc.


    What Happened to Orson Scott Card?

    By Steven Lloyd Wilson

    For loyal science fiction fans, the author's slow descent into poisonous politics has been nothing short of tragic
    ______________________________________
    What happened to Orson Scott Card?
    This piece originally appeared on Pajiba and Salon
    ______________________________________

    When I was twelve years old, I read Enderís Game and had my mind blown. This was an author that not only understood children, but understood smart children. In stories, children tend to be presented as either miniature adults, or some sort of mentally disabled version of human beings. Card blew those tropes out of the water with children who fight, die, bond, and think, while still retaining the vestiges of childhood that render their decisions often inexplicable to adults. And thatís the key to why these characters, of Ender and Peter and Valentine, still pop off the page almost thirty years later.

    I have an almost infinite number of books that I recommend people to read at one point or another, but Enderís Game is on that very short list of novels that I feel is truly universal. Every aspect of the novel revolves around a nuanced exploration of what empathy really is and why it matters. From Peterís use of empathy as a weapon, to Valentineís uncontrollable sympathy for those around her, to Enderís devastating tension between the two. This is a novel for those who think and feel too deeply.

    And thus Orson Scott Cardís gradual descent into a poisonous brand of politics has been nothing short of tragic to anyone who has read the masterpiece of Enderís Game. His main focus has been on homosexuality, though he has ranged across the entire landscape of small-minded and hateful political issues over the last decade. I wouldnít be terribly surprised if the vicious dreck Card has blathered onto the Internet over the last decade ended up being a performance art demonstration of the hateful populism that Demosthenes used to great effect in Enderís Game.

    I really am okay with Card having his opinions. I can roll my eyes at his political positions, I can accept that he thinks the world be a better place if it was different than the way that I think it should be. He is welcome to have his opinions, and heís welcome to try to convince people that his ideas are right. What I cannot quite wrap my mind around is how the mind which wrote such a beautiful meditation on empathy can be the same one that argues for the violent overthrow of the American government because of its failure to ban gay marriage and to outlaw homosexuality generally. Card describes in a fair amount of detail the advocated program of state-sponsored shaming he is in favor of. Thereís a cognitive disconnect here, of how someone can advocate the minimal government of libertarianism while in the next sentence saying with a straight face that the government should regulate the sex lives of its citizens, but thatís run of the mill hypocrisy as far as political conversations go. Iím more confounded by the cognitive disconnect between the empathy required to create Ender and the callousness required to insist that you have the right to use violence to tell other people how they should live their lives.

    Cardís political views have come to the forefront over the last year, as a film adaptation of Enderís Game has gotten underway, and especially in the last month when DC announced that Card would be writing for the Superman comic. Some comic book shops announced that they would not stock Superman after Card starts writing for it. And a couple of days ago, the artist on Superman quit, releasing a statement dancing around the issue, a thinly veiled non-statement in order to not burn bridges with what amounts his dream job. DC caved to pressure yesterday and announced that Cardís story had been scrapped.

    Now thereís a furor from the right, that this is a left wing witch hunt against people who disagree with their agenda, to economically punish those who donít toe some political line. I disagree quite strongly. This is not some freedom of speech thing, not some despicable and childish refusal to engage with those who disagree politically. I would defend to the death Cardís right to speak his beliefs, but the hell if I have to stock it on my shelves if Iím the owner of a comic book store. And the hell if I have to draw the panels into which those words are written if Iím an artist. Card has the right to speak, but so do all these other people.

    There are some in the comics world who are really angry about the events, arguing that this is an instance of judging the artist instead of his art. Of not letting a gifted storyteller tell a story because of people disliking his politics. If the story he wrote for Superman has nothing to do with gays, then what does it matter, the argument goes. The problem is that there is no separation of the artist from the art. And when that art in question is a figure of the cultural significance of Superman, the choice of who gets to put words in that mouth is about more than a literal reading of whatever script he turned in. How do you reconcile the symbol of truth, justice, and the American way being written by someone who loudly proclaims a violent revolution to topple American democracy if the majority doesnít agree with his opinions?

    And yet there are signs there even in Enderís Game. I always found Peter to be the most fascinating character, the one that I related to so much more directly than Ender in my darkest moments. His monologue about the nihilism of the modern world still sticks with me, the manifesto of the brilliant and ambitious. I understand people, he intones, I understand how to hurt them, how to make them do what I want. And for all the ability to be successful, to maneuver his way inevitably into the upper echelons of corporations and such, it means nothing to him next to power, to the real power of state. Thereís something almost refreshing about Peter, little genius sociopath who wants to rule the world. Heís what happens if John Galt decides to conquer the world instead of withdrawing from it.

    And in retrospect, itís Peter who really announces what Card thinks about the way the world works. Peterís the character who subverts the government, who takes over the world behind the scenes, with pseudonyms and back door deals to gather power like a pile of poker chips, before ruling the world for the rest of his life as a supposedly benevolent dictator. The contempt for democracy, the loathing for the very idea that the people should make their own decisions about their futures, is staggering in Enderís Game once noticed.

    Democracy is empathy. It is being able to see the rest of society as people just like you are, whether they agree with you or not. It is about not ruling at the barrel of a gun, but explaining to others the way you feel, bringing them around by letting them inside. By getting them to feel what you feel, which is the very definition of empathy. There are those who think that the failure of the world to agree with them, and their embrace of violence as a solution, somehow makes them the strong ones and the world the weak ones. But violence is such an easy solution, the emotional cowardís way out of actually dealing with the existence of those who disagree as legitimate equals.

    I know itís an overused clichť to make a point like this, but I think that Ender would hardly recognize who Card is today. Yet I think Peter would. I think Peter would recognize him as one of the sad, angry, and scared men who make it possible for the Peters of history to ascend their thrones.

    Mar 7, 2013



    Brigham Young - Biographies
    BYH Biographies