Orson Scott Card is a longtime expert in making the fantastical seem almost real. He’s done it over the course of his decades-long literary career, bringing to life child generals at war with alien insects; magic-wielding prophets in the American West; spooky child ghosts living in video games; planet-ruling musician kings; Mormon colonies scrabbling for existence in a post-apocalyptic waste; worlds populated by talking heads and fascinating failed copies of humankind. Card did grim and dystopic before it was cool. Not one but two of his books have won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in the same year — which is kind of like winning Best Picture and Best Director the same year, except awesomer.
Recently, to the puzzlement of some observers, Card has directed his prodigious talent into the production of political punditry. Like his novels, Card’s political columns are often masterpieces of speculative fiction. For instance, there is the one about how gays with pitchforks and torches are coming to end democracy in America — an apocalyptic horror story that rivals The Folk of the Fringe.
And then, there is Card’s latest column. He primes readers for the fantastic right away, launching quickly into a declaration that Mitt Romney is properly seen as “a man of solid convictions, who does not temper his core beliefs according to the prevailing political winds.” That gem alone would be more than many writers could pull off. But Card is a true master of the craft, and is able to work in another whopper before the column ends. After chronicling his own openness about his faith, Card concludes:
“The result is that I am not invited to speak or teach at most universities, despite the popularity of my fiction on college campuses; I am rarely mentioned for awards in my field. Few are the fellow writers who list me on social networking sites, or make positive references to my work (though I admire the courage of those who do).”
Given the weight evidence against this claim,* Card’s unironic assertion is nothing less than a tour-de-force of fiction writing. Forget about the giant bugs, the living computers, the tribal tree-monkeys. This is the good stuff.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
-Campbell- and Hugo-winning author and SFWA President John Scalzi stating that Card is one of his favorite authors (though he disagrees with Card’s politics).
-Award-winning author David Louis Edelman writing positively about Card (e.g., here).
-Fantasy superstar Brandon Sanderson frequently mentioning Card (such as here). Of course, Sanderson is Mormon, so he might not count. (The same applies to Hugo-nominated SF writer Eric Jame Stone.)
-Author Nancy Werlin starting an interview with a quote from Card.
-Both Cory Doctorow (who compares another work to Card’s as praise) and Neil Gaiman (who writes good-naturedly about how Orson’s Mormonness limits his ability to autograph female bodies) mentioning Card in positive ways.
Here’s a basic rule of the universe: If both Cory freaking Doctrow and Neil freaking Gaiman are saying positive things about you, you are officially Not An Outcast.
-Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist listing Card in the “what should I read next?” column..
-Tor.com frequently mentioning Card (e.g., this very positive post). He is also frequently discussed at sites like io9 and SFFsignal.
-And of course, Card is such a pariah in the field that he can launch a new SF magazine and immediately fill it with new work. Many of the authors in the magazine explicitly mention how Card influences them. The Booklist review notes that “the authors’ afterwords . . disclose the remarkable diversity of ways writers reach the Web or the page and how Card influences new writers.”