|Orson Scott Card
Card at Life, the Universe, & Everything at Brigham Young University in 2008.
||August 24, 1951
||Greensboro, North Carolina
||Brigham Young University, University of Utah, University of Notre Dame
||Author, professor, public speaker, critic, essayist, columnist, playwright, poet, political activist, apologist
||Ender's Game series,
The Tales of Alvin Maker
||Science fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror, historical fiction, LDS fiction
|Board member of
||National Organization for Marriage
||Latter-day Saint (Mormon)
Orson Scott Card (born August 24, 1951) is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist, columnist, and political activist. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. His novel Ender's Game (1985) and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (1986) both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win both science fiction's top U.S. prizes in consecutive years. He is also known as an advocate for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he has been a lifelong practicing member, and as a political commentator on many issues, including opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Card is the son of Willard and Peggy Card, third of six children and the older brother of composer and arranger Arlen Card. Card was born in Richland, Washington, and grew up in Santa Clara, California as well as Mesa, Arizona and Orem, Utah. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Brazil and graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah; he also spent a year in a Ph.D. program at the University of Notre Dame. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, an environment that has played a significant role in Ender's Game and many of his other works.
Card began his writing career primarily as a poet, studying with Clinton F. Larson at Brigham Young University. During his studies as a theater major, he began "doctoring" scripts, adapting fiction for readers theatre production, and finally writing his own one-act and full-length plays, several of which were produced by faculty directors at BYU. He also explored fiction writing, beginning with stories that eventually evolved into The Worthing Saga.
After returning to Provo, Utah from his LDS mission in Brazil, Card started the Utah Valley Repertory Theatre Company, which for two summers produced plays at "the Castle," a Depression-era outdoor amphitheater behind the state mental hospital in Provo; his company's were the first plays ever produced there. Meanwhile, he took part-time employment as a proofreader at BYU Press, then made the jump to full time employment as a copy editor. In 1976, in the midst of a paid acting gig in the Church's musical celebrating America's Bicentennial, he secured employment as an assistant editor at the Church's official magazine, Ensign, and moved to Salt Lake City. It was while working at Ensign that Card published his first piece of fiction. His short story "Gert Fram" appeared in the July 1977 fine arts issue of that magazine under the pseudonym Byron Walley.
He first wrote the short story "Ender's Game" while working at the BYU press, and submitted it to several publications. The idea for the later novel of the same title came from the short story about a school where boys can fight in space. It was eventually purchased by Ben Bova at Analog Science Fiction and Fact and published in the August 1977 issue. Meanwhile, he started writing half-hour audioplays on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the New Testament, and other subjects for Living Scriptures in Ogden, Utah; on the basis of that continuing contract, some freelance editing work, and a novel contract for Hot Sleep and A Planet Called Treason, he left Ensign and began supporting his family as a freelancer.
He completed his master's degree in English at the University of Utah in 1981 and began a doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame, but the recession of the early 1980s caused the flow of new book contracts to temporarily dry up. He returned to full-time employment as the book editor for Compute! magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1983. In October of that year, a new contract for the Alvin Maker "trilogy" (now up to 6 books) allowed him to return to freelancing.
Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead were both awarded the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, making Card the only author (as of 2011) to win both of science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years. Card continued the series with Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, "First Meetings in the Enderverse", Shadow of the Giant, the 2007 release of A War of Gifts, and the 2008 release of Ender in Exile, a book that takes place after Ender's Game and before Speaker for the Dead. Card has also announced his plan to write Shadows Alive, a book that connects the "Shadow" series and "Speaker" series together. In 2008 Card announced that Ender's Game would be made into a movie, but that he did not have a director lined up. (Wolfgang Petersen had previously been scheduled to direct the movie but has since moved on to other projects.) It was to be produced by Chartoff Productions, and Card was writing the screenplay himself. Other works include the alternate histories The Tales of Alvin Maker, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, The Homecoming Saga, and Hidden Empire, a story about a near-future civil war in the United States, based on the Xbox Live Arcade video game Shadow Complex. He collaborated with Star Wars artist Doug Chiang on Robota and with Kathryn H. Kidd on Lovelock.
He has since branched out into other areas of fiction with novels such as Lost Boys, Treasure Box and Enchantment. Other works include the novelization of the James Cameron film The Abyss and the comic book Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel Universe series. Outside the published fiction world, Card contributed dialog to at least three video games: Loom, The Secret of Monkey Island and The Dig in the early 1990s.
In 2000, Card published the first novel in The Women of Genesis series. This series explores the lives of the principal women mentioned in the first book of the Bible and includes Sarah (2000), Rebekah (2002), and Rachel and Leah (2004).
In the fall of 2005, Card also launched Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show. He edited the first two issues, but found that the demands of teaching, writing, and directing plays for his local church theatre group made it impossible to respond to writers' submissions in a timely manner; former Card student and experienced freelance writer and editor Edmund R. Schubert took over as editor on June 1, 2006.
The dialog and screenplay (but not the story) for the Xbox video game Advent Rising was written by Card and Cameron Dayton.
In 2008, Card's novella Hamlet's Father, a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, was published in the anthology The Ghost Quartet (Tor Books). The work re-interpreted all of the characters' personalities and motivations. After Subterranean Press reprinted the work as a stand-alone novella in 2011, there was an outcry because the work portrayed old King Hamlet (Hamlet's father) as a paedophile, suggesting that pedophilia caused people to become gay, and equate homosexuality and pedophilia.
Reviews and critiques
Card authors "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything," a weekly editorial for the Greensboro Rhinoceros Times, which features personal reviews of movies, books, restaurants in the greater Greensboro area, and a variety of other topics. The column also later appears on his website, Hatrack River.
Over the years Orson Scott Card has used at least seven pseudonyms.
The names Frederick Bliss and P.Q. Gump were used by Card when he was asked to write an overview of Mormon playwrights "Mormon Shakespears: A Study of Contemporary Mormon Theatre" for Spring 1976 issue of Sunstone magazine. According to Card he used these pseudonyms because the article included a brief reference to himself and his play "Stone Tables".
The name Byron Walley was used by Card on his first published piece of fiction "Gert Fram" which appeared in the July 1977 fine arts issue of Ensign magazine. According to Card he used this name because he had a non-fiction article, "Family Art", a poem, "Looking West", and a short play, "The Rag Mission", appearing in the same issue. Card also used the name Byron Walley in stories he published in Friend magazine, New Era magazine and in the anthology Dragons of Darkness. Stories by Byron Walley include: "Gert Fram", Ensign magazine, July 1977; "Bicicleta", Friend magazine, October 1977; "The Best Family Home Evening Ever", Friend magazine, January 1978; "Billy's Box", Friend magazine, February 1978; "I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry", New Era magazine, May 1979; and "Middle Woman", Dragons of Darkness, Ace Books, 1982.
The name Brian Green was also used by Card in the July 1977 fine arts issue of Ensign magazine. He used this name for his short play "The Rag Mission" because he had three other pieces appearing in the same issue.
The name Dinah Kirkham was used to write the short story The Best Day, in 1983.
The name Noam D. Pellume was used by Card for his short story "Damn Fine Novel" which appeared in the October 1989 issue of The Green Pages.
Card wrote the novel "Zanna's Gift" (2004) under the pen name Scott Richards, saying, "I was trying to establish a separate identity in the marketplace, but for various reasons the marketing strategy didn't work as we'd hoped."
In 2005, Card accepted a permanent appointment as "distinguished professor" at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, Virginia, a small liberal arts college run based on the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Card has cited his frustration with dismal teaching methodology for creative writing in most universities as a reason for accepting this position, along with his desire to teach the techniques of effective fiction writing to writers whose values are more harmonious with his own. Card has worked closely with colleagues to develop new and effective ways to educate aspiring writers and has published two books on the subject. He was eager for the opportunity to apply these techniques in a university environment—his assorted workshops did not allow the follow-through he desired. After being affected by stories of his students' parents in some of their essays, he decided to stop teaching regularly at the university to spend time with his youngest child who still lives at home. However, Card returned to teaching for the spring semester of 2009.
Literary Boot Camp
Since 2001, Card has run an annual, one-week intensive critique workshop for aspiring writers called "Literary Boot Camp." Participants are picked from applicants who submit a sample of their fiction writing. The week-long workshop is paired with a weekend lecture-style workshop open to all comers. Graduates have gone on to win major science fiction and fantasy contests (for instance, the now-defunct Phobos contest and the Writers of the Future contest), sell many stories to the SF and fantasy magazines such as Asimov's Science Fiction and Realms of Fantasy, sell books to major publishers (Judson Roberts' Strongbow Saga trilogy is one of many examples), etc.
Books on writing
Card has written two books on the subject of creative writing. The first of these books was Characters and Viewpoint published in 1988. The second was How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy published in 1990. Both of the books were published by Writer's Digest Books and remain in print. He was also a co-writer for How to Write a Million (though his contribution is actually a reprint of an earlier work).
Card also gives advice about writing in an interview in Leading Edge #23 in 1991.
Writers of the Future
Card also serves as a judge in the Writers of the Future contest. Writers of the Future is a science fiction and fantasy story contest for amateur writers originated by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1980s and continues to be funded and organized by the Church of Scientology.
Card's immersion in the Mormon faith has been an important facet of his life from early on. His great-great-grandfather was Brigham Young, an important leader in the Latter Day Saint movement, and all of Card's ancestors from at least three generations have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). His ancestors include several other figures notable in the LDS Church, including the Cardston colony founder Charles Ora Card. As such, his faith has been a source of inspiration and influence for both his writing and his personal views.
In 2008, one day before the 2008 presidential election in the United States, Card wrote an opinion piece in which he (while being a Democrat) encouraged voters to support the Republican John McCain, stating that he wished he could have supported Obama.
Card has publicly declared his disapproval of homosexuality and of marriage rights for gay men and women. In 1990, Card called for laws that ban homosexual behavior to "remain on the books... to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society", although he no longer advocates this, and argues that the 1990 stance must be seen in the context of the times (such laws were still deemed constitutional at the time) and the conservative Mormon audience to whom his essay was addressed. In 2009, Card became a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Card has voiced his opinion that pedophilia and homosexuality are sometimes linked. In a 2004 essay entitled "Homosexual 'Marriage' and Civilization", Card wrote:
The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.
Additionally, in Card's novella Hamlet's Father, which re-imagines the backstory of Shakespeare's play Hamlet, some claim that Card depicts the main character's problems as being the result of his father's activities as a gay pedophile. The novella prompted public outcry and its publishers were inundated with complaints. The trade journal Publisher's Weekly criticized Card's "flimsy novella" and stated that the main purpose of it was to attempt to link homosexuality to pedophilia. Orson Scott Card has responded to the claims that Hamlet's Father links homosexuality with pedophilia, Card wrote:
...[T]here is no link whatsoever between homosexuality and pedophilia in this book. Hamlet's father, in the book, is a pedophile, period. I don't show him being even slightly attracted to adults of either sex. It is the reviewer, not me, who has asserted this link, which I would not and did not make.
Environment and science
Although he supports government-funded research into alternative energy sources and the phasing out of fossil fuel use, Card has also frequently criticized precipitate action on global warming, and has voiced the suggestion that scientific evidence against global warming is suppressed because global warming has become an academic orthodoxy that discourages opposing evidence. His short story "Angles" also features scientists fearing to pursue research because it would run counter to scientific dogma. Similarly, he has voiced distrust of Darwinism as dogma in opposition to Intelligent Design (which he also distrusts, for entirely different reasons). While criticizing scientists for claiming that Darwinism explains "completely how evolution works," Card also said that "real science does not—and never can—prove or even support" Intelligent Design.
Card and his wife Kristine have had five children, each named after one or more authors he and his wife admire. Their children's names are Michael Geoffrey (Geoffrey Chaucer), Emily Janice (Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson), Charles Benjamin (Charles Dickens), Zina Margaret (Margaret Mitchell) and Erin Louisa (Louisa May Alcott). Charles, who had cerebral palsy, died shortly after his 17th birthday and their daughter, Erin, died the day she was born. Card and his wife live with their youngest living child, Zina, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The life of their son Charles influenced some of Card's fiction, most notably the Homecoming series, Lost Boys and Folk of the Fringe. Their daughter, Emily, along with two other writers adapted Card's short stories "Clap Hands and Sing", "Lifeloop" and "A Sepulchre of Songs" for the stage in Posing as People.
In 2008, he appeared in the short film The Delivery, which starred his daughter Emily. He plays an author reading an audiobook in this film, which won First Place in Fantasy at Dragon*Con Film Festival. He wrote an original story, "The Emperor of the Air," specifically for the short film by Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki.
Card is an avid fan of the science fiction television series Firefly and makes an appearance in the documentary Done the Impossible about Firefly fandom.
Card suffered a "mild stroke" on January 1, 2011, and was briefly hospitalized. He reports expecting to make a full recovery, although his use of his left hand was impaired, requiring "retraining his brain."
- 1978 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer from the World Science Fiction Convention
- 1981 Songmaster: Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award, 1981
- 1984 Saints: Book of the Year by the Association for Mormon Letters
- 1985 Ender's Game: Nebula Award, 1985; Hugo Award, 1986; Hamilton-Brackett Award, 1986; SF Chronicle Readers Poll, 1986
- 1986 Speaker for the Dead; Nebula Award, 1986, Hugo Award, 1987; Locus Award, 1987; SF Chronicle Readers Poll Award 87
- 1987 "Eye for Eye": Hugo Award, 1988; "Japanese Hugo". 1989
- 1987 "Hatrack River": Nebula nominee, 1986, Hugo nominee, 1987, World Fantasy Award winner, 1987
- 1988 Seventh Son: Hugo and WFA nominee, 1988; Mythopoeic Society Award 1988; Locus Award winner, 1988
- 1989 Red Prophet: Hugo nominee, 1988; Nebula Nominee, 1989; Locus winner, 1989
- 1991 How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Writer's Digest Books, 90): Hugo Award
- 1995 Alvin Journeyman: Locus Award winner, 1996
- 2008 YALSA Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Contribution to Young Adult Literature; for Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow
- 2008 Whitney Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award
- ^ Eric W. Jepson. "Orson Scott Card Interview". Mormon Artist. http://mormonartist.net/issue-13/orson-scott-card/.
- ^ "Orson Scott Card". The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0136298/. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- ^ a b c d e "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1986. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ a b "1987 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1987. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ a b "1985 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1985. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ a b c d "Who Is Orson Scott Card?". Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. http://hatrack.com/osc/about-more.shtml. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- ^ a b Willett, Edward (2006). Orson Scott Card: Architect of Alternate Worlds. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0766023540.
- ^ "Ender's Game Movie Searching for New Director". http://endersgamemovie.blogspot.com/2008/04/enders-game-movie-searching-for-new.html. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- ^ "Interview with Author Orson Scott Card". Gaming Today. http://news.filefront.com/gaming-todays-exclusive-interview-with-author-orson-scott-card/. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- ^ "Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show". http://www.oscigms.com. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- ^ Card's comments on working on Advent Rising from his official website
- ^ a b Flood, Alison. "Outcry over Hamlet novel casting old king as gay paedophile: Publisher showered with complaints over Orson Scott Card's Hamlet's Father" The Guardian 8 September 2011
- ^ a b c Pseudonyms "Orson Scott Card's website The Hatrack".
- ^ Card bio from FantasticFiction.co.uk
- ^ The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1984-1998, Locus Online, http://www.locusmag.com/index/s122.htm, retrieved March 28, 2011
- ^ Card, Orson Scott (November 2, 2008), Uncle Orson Reviews Everything: Bean on Baseball and Parker's Trilogies, Hatrack River Enterprises Inc, http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2008-11-02.shtml, retrieved March 28, 2011
- ^ "Why I Am Teaching at SVU... and Why SVU is Important" from LDSMag.com
- ^ "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything: Politically Incorrect Literature, Audio Drama, "My American Culture"". Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. 2007-05-27. http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2007-05-27.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
- ^ Roberts, Judson (November 2001), Former Boot Campers Published, Hatrack River Enterprises, Inc., http://www.hatrack.com/writers/news/judsonroberts.shtml, retrieved March 28, 2011
- ^ "Writers of the Future contest.". http://www.writersofthefuture.com. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
- ^ http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2009-12-20-1.html
- ^ http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2008-01-06-1.html
- ^ "WorldWatch - November 4, 2008 - This Very Good Election Year - The Ornery American". Ornery.org. 2008-11-04. http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2008-11-04-1.html. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- ^ "The Hypocrites of Homosexuality". http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html. Retrieved 15 Sep 2011.
- ^ NOM Latest News. National Organization for Marriage. April 27, 2009. http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=omL2KeN0LzH&b=5075187&ct=6938473
- ^ Homosexual "Marriage" and Civilization (Orson Scott Card) - published in The Rhinoceros Times (republished by The Ornery American.com - Feb 15, 2004)
- ^ Publisher's Weekly - review of Hamlet's Father (Feb 28, 2011)
- ^ OSC Responds to False Statements about Hamlet's Father (Orson Scott Card) - September 2011)
- ^ Card, Orson Scott (2007-04-29). "Civilization Watch: Don't You Dare Ask for Proof". The Ornery American. http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2007-04-29-1.html. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- ^ Card, Orson Scott (2006-01-08). "WorldWatch: Creation and Evolution in the Schools". The Ornery American. http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2006-01-08-1.html. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- ^ "Posing as People". Hatrack River Enterprises Inc.. http://www.hatrack.com/store/store.cgi?loc=us&item=BOOKS_PosingAsPeople&opt=.
- ^ "The Delivery". The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1362206//. Retrieved 2011-3-28.
- ^ http://www.locusmag.com/News/2011/01/orson-scott-card-suffers-mild-stroke/
- ^ "1984 AML Awards". Association for Mormon Letters. http://www.aml-online.org/Awards/Year.aspx?year=1984. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
- ^ a b c "1988 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1988. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ a b "1989 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1989. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ "1996 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1996. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- ^ Orson Scott Card's Whitney Award Speech, Mormon Times
- Card Catalogue: The Science Fiction and Fantasy of Orson Scott Card, Michael R. Collings, Hypatia Press, 1987, ISBN 0940841010
- In the Image of God: Theme, Characterization and Landscape in the Fiction of Orson Scott Card, Michael R. Collings, Greenwood Press, 1990, ISBN 0-313-26404-X
- The Work of Orson Scott Card: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide, Michael R. Collings and Boden Clarke, 1997
- Storyteller: The Official Guide to the Works of Orson Scott Card, Michael R. Collings, Overlook Connection Press, 2001, ISBN 1-892950-26-X