Orson Scott Card (born August 24, 1951) is a science fiction author, best known for the book Ender's Game and its spinoffs. Card is the only author to have won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award in consecutive years; the books that achieved this are Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, respectively; he is also one of exactly eight people to have won more than two Hugos. After 28 years, Ender's Game was released as a film.
He teaches creative writing at Southern Virginia University, where he works with colleages to change the paradigm for English and Writing education methods. He also runs an invitation-only annual "boot camp" for writers, of which some participants have gone on to successful writing careers. He has dedicated large amounts of his time to assisting aspiring writers, and those who have been lucky enough to be taught by him often cite him as a contributor to their success. He is also a Browncoat. According to his blog, he is also a fan of animated films, as well as Avatar: The Last Airbender after being convinced to watch it by his daughter. More recently, Card wrote an article for a newspaper in which he said Cowboy Bebop was better than "all but a handful" of sci-fi films.
He is a practicing Mormon, and dabbles in LDS fiction alongside his better-known sci-fi.
While genuinely famous for his novels, Card's place in recent science-fiction news can be traced in part to his right-wing politics, particularly his vocal opposition to same-sex marriage and relations. Although for the most part his politics are separate from his fiction, there are exceptions, most notably with the book Empire.
EnderverseCard's most well-known series, mostly due to the first book Ender's Game. The series branches off from there:
- Following Ender are Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, and Ender in Exile.
- Following Bean and Peter Wiggin: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight. Another, Shadows Alive, is planned and is expected to connect the hanging threats from Children of the Mind and Shadows in Flight.
- A prequel series about the First Formic War includes Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, and Earth Awakens. A second prequel series about the Second Formic War picks up a few years after, with The Swarm.
- And Card has released chapters from another work in progress, Fleet School, which appears to be a sequel following training for the interstellar merchant fleet at the old Battle School, and part of a new series with the working title Children of the Fleet.
Homecoming SagaA fictionalized account of 1st and 2nd Nephi, and Alma from The Book Of Mormon. From a Mormon perspective the Homecoming Saga is semi-historical fiction set IN SPACE!.
The Worthing SagaAn intergalactic story on a similar scale to the Dune universe. Originally composed of short stories and then later collected into a (more-or-less) coherent narrative. They center around Jason Worthing, The Empire's most famous space pilot — and its most dangerous one, primarily because he has "the Swipe." His Trickster Mentor, Abner Doon, sends him out to found a new colony while he quietly causes The Empire (and thus the known universe) to collapse back into the Dark Ages. Worthing's colony eventually develops into a telepathic powerhouse who consider themselves guardian angels of the human race, removing memories of suffering and pain with their out-of-control powers. Jason makes them cut it out, which is where the events of the first novel start.
The Tales of Alvin MakerA fantasy/Alternate History series set in an alternate America where folk magic works.
Orson Scott Card's Empire
A tie-in to the Shadow Complex video game. The series is a political what if? story where a secret conspiracy plots to plunge America into a second Civil War based on Red vs. Blue state politics.
Stone Tables, a fictionalized account of Moses, is often included with these books despite being written far earlier in his career (and of course not being about a woman- although Moses' wife makes a significant impact on the book).
- A Planet Called Treason: A group of people are banished to the planet Treason after attempting to create a meritocracy within The Republic. Being a metal-poor planet, the people of Treason have to barter with "Ambassadors", teleporters connected to The Republic, in an attempt to gain the precious iron with which they hope to build a starship with and escape their banishment.
- Scott Card also worked a brief writer's tenure at LucasArts, writing dialogue for some of their games, including The Dig and the swordfighting insults in The Secret of Monkey Island. (Technically, this makes him the Trope Namer for "You Fight Like a Cow".)
- He also helped write the story for the Xbox/PC game, Advent Rising.
- Ultimate Iron Man. Seriously. It's generally hated by fans, but not for its actual quality (which is decent) but rather because its Tony Stark barely resembles the other writer's Tony Stark.
- Also, it probably wasn't a good idea for a Mormon to try to write a sympathetic alchoholic character's backstory - Tony is warned by his father not to drink, has one sip of champagne at a party and is immediately intoxicated and addicted. At least it's explained by Technobabble.
- Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus: A future culture realizes that it's too late to save Earth's habitability because of the damage already done by industry and war. They use devices able to see the past in order to determine the exact moment in history where they could perhaps alter course and prevent eventual disaster. Notable in that they acknowledge that they only get one chance to send people back in time, because their present will instantly vanish once they change the timestream.
- Pastwatch is notable for being a total inversion of the Noble Savage trope; it speculates on Europe's conquering of the Americas actually being a good thing, since it prevents the rise of a powerful culture dedicated to human sacrifice.
- At least two more books are planned for the series, covering the Biblical Flood and The Garden of Eden, events alluded to in parts of the first book's backstory explaining why they made the changes they did.
- The Flood was covered in the short story "Atlantis", included in the most recent collection of Card's stories, Keeper of Dreams.
- Enchantment, a re-telling of "Sleeping Beauty" set in medieval Russia, on a backdrop of war, witchcraft, and Time Travel. (Not to be confused with the Disney film Enchanted.)
- Lost Boys, an entertaining yarn about a game developer trying to reestablish himself in the industry while his son and his friends are somehow able to play next-gen games on the computer despite the hardware being nowhere near up to supporting it. It turns out that the son, and all of his friends in the neighborhood, were murdered by a neighbor and now exist as ghosts.
- Card co-wrote the Dragon Age six-issue comic book miniseries with Aaron Johnston.
- Songmaster Pedophiles IN SPACE!
- The Lost Gate which expands the world found in his short fiction "Stonefather," creating the Mither Mages series. It has a magic system that's supposed to explain everything, including mythology and ghosts. Turns out they're from another planet called Westil, but they've all gotten stranded on Earth since Loki closed all of the Gates that let them get back and forth. Has a second volume in a proposed trilogy, The Gate Thief.
- Pathfinder, another first novel in a new series. It takes place on a world called Garden and follows a boy named Rigg who can see people's paths as he tries to find his mother after his father dies. There's also a side story about a first attempt at faster than light travel with strange side effects.
- Saints, An Author Tract about Mormonism set in Victorian England and America.
- Hamlet's Father, Card's reimagining of Hamlet. Infamously known as one of the more extreme examples of Scott Card's private beliefs seeping into his work.
- The currently ongoing Firefall manga, Affinity. It details the events leading up to the start of the titular game, as well as the origin of the Melding, and the Chosen.
- Maps in a Mirror, the complete collection of his short fiction.
- Hart's Hope
- Lovelock, about a genetically-enhanced capuchin monkey struggling to free himself from human masters aboard a Colony Ship.
- Laddertop, A manga-style comic written with his daughters. Like Ender's Game it centers around gifted children students, a futuristic space station, and mysterious advanced aliens.
- Extinct, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi series.
Works by Orson Scott Card with their own pages include:
- Dragon Age
- Ender's Game series
- Hart's Hope
- Homecoming Saga
- Maps in a Mirror
- Mither Mages Series
- Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
- A Planet Called Treason
- The Tales of Alvin Maker
- Ultimate Iron Man
- The Worthing Saga
Other works by Orson Scott Card contain examples of:
The Women of Genesis
- Bible Times, obviously.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sarai, on many occasions.
- Death by Materialism: The fate of Lot's wife in Sarah. In Card's version, the "killed because she looked back" was metaphorical and she actually died because she was trying to collect her belongings rather than flee the city with Lot and their daughters.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Sarai is unable to bear children for Abram, who has been promised by God that he will be the father of a great nation.
- Royal Blood: Pharaoh's reason for wanting to produce an heir through Sarai.
- Royal Brat: Qira, Sarai's sister, is totally self-centered and incapable of seeing anyone else's point of view.
- Sacred Hospitality: Invoked many times. Abram uses it to prevent Pharaoh from killing him and taking his wife. Lot takes it to such an extreme that he is willing to give his daughters to the men of Sodom, who want to have their way with his guests.
- The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Lampshaded when scientist Carol Jeanne Cocciolone's marriage to her marriage-counselor husband falls apart due in part to the latter's adultery, mother issues verging on an Oedipus Complex, and latent homosexuality.Carol Jeanne: Who theraps the therapist?
- Colony Ship: Lovelock takes place aboard the Mayflower Ark, an enormous starship carrying the population of a small town to start a colony on a new planet. Despite the name, this is not The Ark, as there's no cataclysm on Earth; they seem to be doing it For Science! as much as any other reason.
- Generation Ship: The Mayflower Ark is a low-key example: time dilation means that it will arrive at its destination within the lifetime of (most of) its original inhabitants, but the voyage is still long enough that some births are expected en route.
- Restraining Bolt: Lovelock, the genetically enhanced capuchin, is conditioned to value the needs of his human companion above all else, and also to react to sexual stimuli with excruciating pain (to prevent any unauthorized breeding).
- Brown Note: The protagonist, Ansset, can manipulate people psychologically with his singing. At one time, he causes a sadistic man to disembowel himself by showing the sadist the depth of his own evil through a song.
- Bury Your Gays: Josif, who is bisexual, marries female Kyaren; they have a happy marriage except he warns her that he's attracted to the inhumanly gorgeous male protagonist, Ansset. She tells him that that's fine, she doesn't mind if he sleeps with Ansset; but he still continues to worry about it. Ansset and Josif do end up getting together. Unfortunately, treatments Ansset received as a boy soprano, to delay puberty, cause a weird chemical reaction, making sex intolerantly painful. Josif is hunted down and castrated as punishment for "raping" Ansset. Josif then dies. His wife remarries the next day and in the epilogue is said to be much happier in this more peaceful relationship.
- Depraved Bisexual: Josif is introduced as homosexual, enters a heterosexual relationship with the statement that he is '60% attracted to men, 38% attracted to women, and 2% attracted to sheep,' and ends his sexual career unable to control his urges toward a barely pubescent child, making him at least a homosexual hebephile. No meaningful counterexamples exist in the setting, in part because most of the book centers around pederasty.
- Genre Shift: Treasure Box turns out to be one of Card's "tales of dread", but you don't realize it's in that genre until well into the story, about the same time the main character does.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: The weird rich people eat food that appears to be the platonic ideal of food, the best food you could possibly imagine, every bite perfection. Turns out that's because you are imagining it.
- Brain in a Jar: Wyrms features talking disembodied heads kept alive by some kind of leech.
- Razor Floss: The heroine keeps a strand of this in her hair for use as a weapon in case of an assassination attempt.
- Losing Your Head: The heads in jars, which are kept alive by bio-engineered alien worms, and are chemically conditioned to never lie. The king keeps them as advisors, and many of them openly hate him, and were his enemies in their former lives. They can't speak unless someone pumps the bellows that push air through their vocal cords.
- Author Usurpation: Ender's Game is the only one of Orson's books that became mainstream, and it overshadows his other books.
- Blasphemous Boast: In The Lost Boys, a young software engineer will tell anyone who listens that he makes more money than God.
- Extremely Lengthy Creation: He has a tendency to wander around before continuing a series.
- Children of the Mind came out in 1996, and despite fans wanting to know what happens next, Card wrote a ton of prequels.
- It took seven years to make the fifth book of the Ender's Shadow prequel series.
- He co-wrote Lovelock with Kathryn H. Kidd in 1994. It's supposed to be part one of The Mayflower Trilogy, and the second book still isn't out.
- The Crystal City, sixth book of the Alvin Maker series, came out in 2003. Book seven, Master Alvin, is still in the works.
- Rape and Switch: Hamlet's Father has as part of its backstory Hamlet's father raping pretty much the entire male cast (except maybe Claudius and Polonious). It is implied this turns them all gay (Card denies it, but he's said in the past homosexuality is caused that way). This is why Hamlet's insane. Also, Horatio killed Hamlet's dad as revenge for the aforementioned orientation-destroying sodomy.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Card feels his best work is his short story Unaccompanied Sonata. Similarly it's noted on Ender's Game page that it was meant to be a lead-up for Speaker for the Dead, though he's come to appreciate the first book just as much. However, he doesn't mind that it has become so much more popular than his later work.Card: Readers choose which books and stories they'll care about most and remember best, and if I am remembered only for a novel I wrote in 1984, and not for the better books I wrote after that, I'm not going to complain: Writers are lucky if readers care about and remember any of their works, and a writer is a fool if he criticizes his readers for liking the wrong book.