Bookish News


Ender's Game

Ender’s Game

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.

**Update**

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?

Books and music recommendations are two of my favorite ways to meet new people. “Oh, you like X band? Me too, what else do you like?” “Oh, you like Y book? I hated it, what did you like about it?” So when I read about a website that is the “Pandora of books,” I had to give it a shot.

For those of you not familiar with Pandora, it’s a website that allows you to create radio stations based on a band, genre, or song. It then generates an entire station based on which songs you vote up or down using the “Music Genome Project,” perfect for when you really want a specific style of music. BookLamps uses a similar “Book Genome Project” to suggest books similar to ones you’ve already read and enjoyed. This article in Flavorwire, “Like Pandora? Try a literary offshoot, Booklamp,” describes a few tests the author did to see how good BookLamp really was at suggesting similar books. While some of the suggestions were a bit weird, overall the author decided it’s a fun little tool.

And BookLamp agrees that they aren’t perfect yet. On their website, BookLamp.org, they say “…we get better every day, and you can help us do that. Use the site; we’ll learn from your interaction. If you like what we’re doing, let us know. We need publishers willing to work with us on the project. So if you know one, introduce us. There’s lots of ways to help.” The thing I like most about BookLamp is that it isn’t user generated, unlike many of the recommendations on GoodReads or Amazon where the most popular books are most often suggested. Based on many factors, and which publishers have allowed them access to their books, BookLamp suggests books that most closely match, not which ones are rated highest or most popular right now (great for those of us who tend to dislike the most recent “it” book).

BookLamp started with a group of students at the University of Idaho in 2003, with the mission to “be the best in the world at applying science to the written word; to know and share more knowledge about books than anyone else; to be an agent of change for readers, writers, and everyone in between.” You can learn much more about the project on their FAQ page, where they describe in detail the different features that make up a books DNA for comparison. And of course, find your next book by searching for similarly great reads on BookLamp.

Quick moving update: finally got wireless internet so I don’t have to sit on the floor to be plugged into the modem. Books are still just thrown on shelves instead of organized so no pictures yet (that’s my project for next weekend, this weekend’s project was wireless internet, hooking up the television and my video games). But really, there are more important things to talk about than why moving has so completely upset my reading and blogging schedule.

A Dance With Dragons is finally out! I haven’t actually read it yet because I’m in the middle of a different book, but I’ve been waiting 3 years for Martin to release this book (yes, I came into this series late). He’s promised that it will actually deal with my favorite character, Jon Snow, so maybe this one won’t end up hurled at a wall like A Feast For Crows may have… Any of you read the book yet? Am I the only one that went out and bought it on the day it was released but haven’t started it yet? Funny story, the Border’s I bought it at is huge and the check out line was really long, but half of the people in it were buying A Dance With Dragons (and some of them were buying the entire series) and my first thought was “Wow, I wonder how many books he’ll sell in a day if every bookstore is like this?” and then the next day Martin announced on his blog that “Dance had the highest first day sales totals of any work of fiction released this year. Not just SF or fantasy, but all categories of fiction.”

And in other bookishly wonderful news, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is out! Again, with the moving and being busy thing, I haven’t actually seen it yet. But I’m pretty excited. Most of the reviews say it’s good (hard to be worse than Part One), and friends who love the series have told me it’s a fitting end to the movies. Have you seen it yet? Was anyone lucky/crazy enough to go to the midnight premier? Did you dress up? I’ve always wanted to go to a HP movie premier dressed up, but my love of sleep and dislike of crowds always won out.

That’s it for today. I’m going to vaguely promise to blog more now that I will have more time to read and write, as long as you all promise to share your thoughts with me. Have you read A Dance With Dragons yet? Have you seen the Harry Potter movie? Do you have any other exciting book news?