I first read Ender’s Game when I was 14 years old, and I’ve written before about the strong impact of the book on me and many other young readers. Even Orson Scott Card has acknowledge the incredible way young people connect with the underdog story of Ender Wiggen: “They didn’t love Ender, or pity Ender (a frequent adult response); they were Ender, all of them. Ender’s experience was not foreign or strange to them; in their minds, Ender’s life was echoed in their own lives. The truth of the story was not truth in general, but their truth.”
The strong connection I have to this story makes it even harder to understand how the man who wrote the character of Ender is also the same man who hates and actively campaigns against gay marriage and LGBTQ rights. The Ender I fell in love with at 14 would never have supported such action, and it’s that Ender I want to support when the movie comes out this weekend.
But how can I willingly buy a ticket, knowing some of my money will go directly to Orson Scott Card? He absolutely has every right to his political and religious beliefs, just like I have a right to my own beliefs. But part of my belief system includes not supporting people or organizations I think are actively harming society, so giving Card money makes me squirm.
Of course nothing says he will use the money made from this film to support his political causes…but nothing says he won’t do it just to spite all his angry fans either.
But I want to support the movie to show the entertainment industry that a story like this–one that features smart characters, serious moral topics, and no unnecessary uber-sexy women who add nothing to the plot–can be well received. Not every person involved with this movie agrees with Card’s views, and my aim is not to punish them because I’m upset with one man. I love science fiction, and I want there to be more sci-fi movies.
Sites like Skip Ender’s Game make a compelling argument for why it’s important to boycott the movie, and I agree with what they say. But my inner 14-year-old fan girl wants to relive the joy of first discovering Ender Wiggin and realizing that I wasn’t a freak. Maybe the movie will suck, and I won’t even want to go see if after the initial reviews come out this weekend.
Or maybe it will be as good as I hope, and I’ve got to choose between one of my favorite books and a cause I cannot let my money support.
So we went to see the movie, and I did not like it. At all. They kept to Ender’s basic story line fairly well, but changed so many other characters. Bean was there from the beginning, and Valentine and Peter’s entire story of world domination was cut! And because the movie didn’t have a narrator, the only insight we got into Ender’s mind was from super sappy emails he wrote Valentine. The special effects were amazing, and I like most of the casting decisions they made….but there was none of the emotion and moral debate that made the book so wonderful. The movie also felt extremely rushed–I would have gladly sat through a three hour movie, if it meant the movie would be better and they didn’t have to cut as much material. Oh well, at least my husband and I got a nice date night out of it?