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View Diary: Orson Scott Card: What's Mainstream in the Madness (144 comments)

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  •  Not sure there's anything to be worried about (4+ / 0-)
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    jeopardydd, NWTerriD, sphealey, kyril

    As a standalone work. The book is pretty clear about the genocide that occurs and Ender's regret over his role. The training of children to be military weapons is happening, right now, in the United States. That's why games and movies are being licensed by the U.S. military. The book absolved Ender in that he isn't aware of what he's doing, and I remember being shocked myself when I realized he'd basically killed an entire species. But it doesn't speak approvingly of child armies. Jesus Loves You.

    by DAISHI on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 02:58:49 PM PDT

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    •  the first book attempts to absolve Ender (5+ / 0-)

      but he does not feel absolved, and in later books their weight of his guilt comes upon him

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 04:08:45 PM PDT

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      •  Yes, but (4+ / 0-)

        But, see, he feels guilty because he is 'the god among men', who is not only smarter and prettier and manlier and more aggressive than everyone else, but also more sensitive and more kind and more shy and more .... well, he's basically better in every single possible way than every other person in the universe.

        But, see, even though ENDER beats himself up for what he did, the book (and at least the first sequel, I couldn't stomach any of the others, though I did try so that I could write usefully about the series as a whole) in every other way tells us that he did the right thing, made the right choice, made the only possible choice. That the reason he is beating himself up is because he is simply too good, too noble, too sensitive.

        I highly recommend this essay as a starting point for this argument. It's much better than what I wrote, and covers most of the bases admirably. You might also be interested in this one, although I admit I feel certain aspects of it are reaching a bit.

        •  those were great links (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, sphealey, Ahianne, kyril

          sometimes i feel that the people who hate the book that much are reading a completely different book.

          I loved the short story because I was addicted to video games at the time and loved the idea of little children being video game masters (which is commonplace now but was not true in 1977).  There was also talk then about the military using video games to train soldiers.  Those two ideas came together in Ender's Game.  Many years later when the novel length version was released, the kernel of the story stayed the same.

          i have read the novel many times. I deliberately re-read it every few years to see if adulthood and greater maturity will change my opinion of it.

          Both the critiques you link to struggle with the idea that Ender is being presented as innocent and good, even though a killer of large numbers of people makes us think of Hitler and other mass murderers.

          But I never thought of Ender as innocent, or good!  Maybe that is because of the mixed feelings I have about killing and war.

          The center of the book is the goal of military training writ large--how do you take an otherwise caring young man and make him willing to kill large numbers of people on command?  Answer: (1) it helps if you start with someone who already feels threatened and desperate enough to fight every battle as though he were fighting for his life.  (2) you start training him very young.  (3) you hide the fact that he is killing people until you absolutely have to tell him.

          They figured out a way to train a killer/general  who could win a war that required mass killing and do it without being consumed by guilt.  But Ender does end up consumed by guilt.  Even though what he did was "necessary".  Even though he was simply "aimed as a weapon" and did not consciously know what he was doing.

          But no one compares Jean Luc Picard to Hitler for killing the Borg.  No one compares Data to Hitler for killing the Borg queen.  And they both knew what they were doing!  No one compared Kirk to Hitler for killing those flying pancake parasite creatures (!).  Those are just the first 3 Star Trek parallels I can think of off the top of my head.   I have never seen this kind of discussion about the morality of wartime genocide applied to any other science fiction character who has killed in this way.  Have you?

          Anyway, thanks for the links.  I find the whole controversy about the morality of the killing in Ender's Game very interesting.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:50:04 PM PDT

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          •  Well actually (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby, stevemb, kyril

            It was not in the movies, but in the television show, there was a discussion about the implications of killing all of the Borg. They discussed it in "I, Borg" when they were deciding whether or not to use a program to infect Hugo and wipe out the entire race. They decided that even though the Borg were a massive threat to their own race, genocide was wrong.

            The movies pretty much rewrote the entire show.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:55:10 PM PDT

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