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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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Orson Scott Card

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Standard Disclaimer:

This is a brief discussion of Orson Scott Card and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by Card.

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Card: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)

I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales Card tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Card worthy; in sum, to help you rank Orson Scott Card (and the works by Card listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

Secondary Disclaimer:
This page has not been updated in a long while; consequently, external links (if any) may lead to dead or moribund pages. I am now cleaning up these pages as fast as I can, but I am one man and it may take me a while to get to every page needing link checking (or even the “Other Resources” section added). Sorry. Please be patient.

A Few Words About Orson Scott Card

Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the "Other Resources" section below will lead you to some information about the "Notable Books" listed farther down this page.

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Other Orson Scott Card Resources

Card has his own web site, Hatrack River; he also publishes an ezine called The Intergalactic Medicine Show. (There is also an opinion column not related to speculative fiction, and so not included here.) Besides those, there is a fan wiki site, and an Ender's Game fan site.

Of individual pages, there are not so many that are not focussed on Card the person rather than Card the author (see the paragraph below); one of the more useful is Orson Scott Card at Henry Jenkins's "Media and Imagination" site.

Card's personal beliefs --which include, among many controversial things, a call for literal revolution (see the last three paragraphs of the linked article) to stop the legalization of homosexuality--have drawn much attention, little or none of it less than vitriolic (the Wikipedia text is easily the most nearly neutral presentation); while some of that is outside our scope here, there remain not a few essays that examine how those beliefs affect Card's writings. Among the more notable are John Kessel's "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality"; Elaine Radford's "ender and hitler: sympathy for the superman (20 years later)"; Roger Williams's "Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat" (with extensive back-and-forth correspondence following it); and Donna Minkowitz's Salon article "My favorite author, my worst interview". If anyone thinks that such matters don't belong here as being irrelevant, let us not forget that for many classic speculative-fiction authors a knowledge of their principles is a crucial part of any critical understanding of their work-- G. K. Chesterton or David Lindsay or E. R. Eddison, just to name a very few. And the harvest of essays here is only a sampling, and a sampling more or less related to his fiction; there's a lot more that doesn't much address him as an author.

For more--and there is a very, very great deal more--on Card, Google Is Your Friend.

Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Orson Scott Card **

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This page was last modified on Tuesday, 13 October 2020, at 5:43 pm Pacific Time.