Orson Scott Card gives me the creeps. But Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books. What to do?!?
Back in my immature, naïvely intolerant youth, when an aspect of an author’s personal life offended me, I stopped reading that author. Thankfully I’ve grown up and can see that the pleasure I get from reading a book is entirely my own and has nothing to do with the author.
Recently, DC hired Card to write some new Superman stories for an online comic book. Card’s backwards-minded politics angered members of the LGBT community who requested DC remove him from the project. DC responded: “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.” (Source: USAToday)
I applaud DC’s decision to keep him on the project. Orson Scott Card is an idiot with his personal politics, but he is still an imaginative, creative and prolific writer. (Of course – the project is on hold at the moment because DC can’t find an artist willing to work with Card – which makes me laugh.)
I firmly believe that once a creator has created something, and released it to the world, his association with it is over. Done. Complete. And yes, I will spend money on it. I am paying for the pleasure I receive from the book, and as compensation to the author and the editor and the publishing company for their efforts.
On the other hand…. In my recent attempts to re-read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, I ran into a problem. The creepy relationships between old men and young women and the constant discussions of sex and free love make the book completely unreadable by modern audiences. The author’s personality and politics are so tightly weaved through the narrative, it is impossible to separate creator from creation.
Card may go down in history as a man with bad politics but he will still be thought of as a great writer. Heinlein will only be remembered as a creepy sex addict.
Something to keep in the back of my mind as I write… I must make sure my creation has its own voice, a life of its own, separate from me. To do otherwise is to risk a creation that will only appeal to people who think exactly the way I do. And that would make for a very small audience.