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Tag: Orson Scott Card

Reading Update 03/25/20 – Conscientious Purchases

Navigating any field when you want social justice to be a consideration, is tricky. Literature has its own fair (read “gargantuan”) share of awful people, well meaning mishaps, toxicity, representation issues, and good old-fashioned bigotry.

On that last note, I have no trouble admitting that Orson Scott Card is probably the ONE famous name in the field of Speculative Fiction that I have no qualms over trashing. He is a horrible human being. Not uniquely horrible. In fact, chances are he probably isn’t close to the MOST horrible person even in SFF. However, I take his horribleness personally, because A) I used to love his work and it was a huge drive for my love of science fiction; and B) he hates homosexuality, and I am very intensely homosexual.

All that said, it is a rule of mine to never directly support people that I consider to be problematic in ways that are important to me. And by that I don’t mean my tween gesture of throwing my copy of Ender’s Game into the trash back in the day, when Card announced that any government that would support gay marriage was his enemy, and he would take up arms against it. No, I am talking about money. I cannot purchase a book by a person like that, knowing that even a fraction of my dollars would go to their wallet.

However, for all his character flaws (and supposed massive drop in writing quality, which I would not know anything about, as it’s been a decade since I have read any of his work), Orson Scott Card remains someone with a lot of knowledge about the craft of writing. After finding his How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy in a used bookstore last year, I had decided that despite the sexist undertones, I could learn a lot from him. Which is the end of my extremely and unnecessarily long prelude to the admission that I just got Characters & Viewpoint through a second hand retailer, and I now feel vaguely gross, despite knowing Card won’t see a red cent from the transaction. But I think that if one wants to read a work by a problematic person for whatever reason, second-hand is the only conscientious way of going about it. Bigots shouldn’t get your money.