This is topic Ack! And Double Ack! in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by lonelywalker (Member # 7815) on :
Cheers to those of you who have been helping me out on the "Scholarly Articles" thread. I was in the library yesterday, and figured that this article might be a good bet:

"Creating the Innocent Killer" by John Kessel.

Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. 2004 (Spring).

Except... my library doesn't have it, and it isn't available on the net. So, I asked my library to get it on ILL (inter-library loan). But they emailed me back saying that they - gulp - CAN'T.

Anyone have any ideas?
Posted by King of Men (Member # 6684) on :
Go on a mad rampage through the library, throwing books, magazines and people right and left. For extra weirdness point, howl "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Throne of Khorne!" as you do so. When you get expelled, you won't have to write your assignment anymore.
Posted by Shan (Member # 4550) on :
Try locating the author and begging for help?
Posted by Katarain (Member # 6659) on :
Go here:

Maybe the price for the back issues won't be that expensive. I'm fairly sure I could get the article through ILL at my library, but I think sending it to you would be a violation of copyright. I can ask the ILL department, though, if you would like. They're only a few feet away (remember, I work in the library.) [Smile] If they got the article in electronic form, it would only be a matter of emailing. They'd probably want to do it through your ILL department, though. I don't see why your ILL department doesn't have the same resources--I thought this was supposed to be a grand sharing network--worldwide.


[ April 19, 2005, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Katarain ]
Posted by DemonGarik (Member # 7793) on :
Lexis or one of those major search sources might have it availible too.
Posted by Orson Scott Card (Member # 209) on :
Do keep in mind that John Kessel really hates me and my whole career, and that this "article" is an unvarnished attack on Ender's Game as the most evil book published in the history of science fiction.

Or at least that's how it has been described to me.

This is all so unfortunate, because I always liked John and admired his writing. But those feelings, I'm afraid, remain unreciprocated. And he has let these personal feelings find expression in supposedly-scholarly settings.
Posted by lonelywalker (Member # 7815) on :

If you have a moment to ask your ILL people just to run a search (or whatever they do), that would be great. The ILL *is* supposed to be worldwide, and I suspect that if my library couldn't find it, then your library shouldn't be able to either - but I'd be interested to know if they come up with different results.

I will email the back issue people as well. I have a feeling it may be cheaper to get the whole issue. The price for me to get a document from overseas is 90 shekels, which is about 11 pounds. I doubt that a back issue (even plus postage) would be that much... but you never know...

Incidentally, my ILL people are supposedly finding me ANOTHER article, on Ender in the military. Hopefully it will turn up.
Posted by lonelywalker (Member # 7815) on :
Mr. Card,

"Do keep in mind that John Kessel really hates me and my whole career, and that this "article" is an unvarnished attack on Ender's Game as the most evil book published in the history of science fiction."

Well, my position is that I'm in need of ANY scholarly (or at least supposedly scholarly) articles on Ender's Game. However, this doesn't mean I'm going to agree with him.

If I find these articles I'm looking for, I will post summaries here which might be helpful for other students (the existing summaries online are not very helpful).
Posted by bmeaker (Member # 4443) on :
I doubt you need it any more but John Kessel has posted the article on his website . If you scroll down a little you can get to it or go directly here.

I haven't had time to read it yet so I can't really say anything about it though I like both Card's and Kessel's writing. I already knew that Kessel didn't like OSC or at least his ideas in his books because my brother took Kessel's science fiction class at NCSU.
Posted by Steev (Member # 6805) on :
Wow I just got done reading John Kessel's "Scholarly Article" on Ender’s game.

First impression is that John seems to lashing out about something from his childhood.

I feel like he is showing his inability to look past the acts of a person to truly understand their reason. There are several instances that seem like John forgets that the story is written from Ender's point of view and he seems to make arguments against Ender's reasoning that could only be made outside of that point of view. I really get the impression that John cannot accept the story for what it is because he can't accept that he was only given the point of view of a single character. He seems to want to extrapolate more detail out of the other characters that are more than what Ender perceives. He says nothing of writing style at all. It's mostly a character assassination of Ender based on what he thinks he understands about Ender.

He seems to take issue with the fact that the narrative fails to depict Ender as a person of pure evil because of his acts. He doesn't believe that intentions have anything to do with a person's character. Then he continues to insult my intelligence by taking things that OSC says in interviews and twisting them in to some over-the-top analogy to the Ender character such as, "He is the murderer as scapegoat. The genocide as savior. Hitler as Christ the redeemer."

Wow, just wow.

Then at the end he seems to want to refute any arguments that try to explain why Ender’s Game is so popular.

I'm glad I took the time to read it but I would never consider it to be of any scholarly value.
John claims to understand but it just seems like he is continually missing the mark again and again.
Posted by Orson Scott Card (Member # 209) on :
As I said.

What John does not point out is that he hated my work (and, apparently, me) long before I wrote Ender's Game, so it is impossible for him ever to have been an impartial reader. And it apparently sticks in his craw that the book has become so popular. Instead of wondering whether the book might just have values that his bias made him miss, he assumes that all those readers must be fools. He once wrote me an appalling letter that revealed feelings that would lead some people, at least, to recuse themselves from public discussion of the works of a writer that they so viscerally loathed.
Posted by CRash (Member # 7754) on :
I agree that John has some issues. It's a bit sad, really, that he seems to be completely blind to some things while missing the mark on others.

Oh, and by the way, did any seventh-graders out there feel offended? I'm in ninth grade, and his little analogy just made me seethe.

God, how I would have loved this book in seventh grade! It’s almost as good as having a nuclear device.
The problem is that the morality of that abused seventh grader is stunted. It’s a good thing I didn’t have access to a nuclear device.

Either he was an extremely immature seventh grader, he has had some abuse problems in the past himself, he's forgotten what seventh grade was like, or he just has a whole lot of rage. Talk about unprofessional. How can you even joke about using a nuclear weapon on a school?
Posted by Dr. Evil (Member # 8095) on :
I just read Kessel's article and I found it to be a great thorough analysis for his own feelings. He has missed so much from this boo except to see it from his own blind side. I particularly liked the comment:

"Ender goes down in history as “the Xenocide.” Doesn’t this indicate that Card believes that Ender did something wrong?"

Wouldn't he love it to be that way but in truth, this statement just proves that today's hero is tomorrow's scapegoat and if anything shows just how misunderstood Ender is throughout his entire life.

I would think that a truly objective opinion of this book would come only by talking to OSC himself and not writing an "appalling letter". Seems more like Kessel has become Bonzo to Card's Ender.
Posted by filmstar (Member # 8115) on :
Kessel's article, at the very least, gives us a good insight into the kind of reasoning that made Ender into the Xenocide.
Posted by docmagik (Member # 1131) on :
I'm trying to think of a misreading of another book that would be the equivalent of this one.

It's like somebody watching Planet of the Apes and writing an essay about how condesending and racist towards humans Cornelius was, but how they fooled us all into accepting it since a lot of times Cornelius was nice.

Or somebody reading Farenheit 451 and writing an essay explaining how Bradbury's Utopia is cruel and inhibiting.

I don't know--can anybody think of a better analogy?
Posted by AMCSteel (Member # 6321) on :
Wow! What an interesting read. Honestly most of it I don't really take as bashing Ender's Game itself but more of how he doesn't trust the world understand the novel.

It is an interesting truth that I have come to know, in that NO ONE ever thinks of themselves as evil. No mater what they always find some faint justification for their action. Even Hitler didn't think himself as evil know he was just trying to cleanse the world of his perceived 'plague' of Jews. Trying to make sure his 'race' remained pure.

I believe the only reason why WE don't view Ender as evil is that Mr. Card wrote the books from Ender's Point of view. If we knew nothing of the circumstances and only of the outcome we would be like everyone else and call Ender the Xenocide.

I for one don't want to chastise Mr. Card for making someone who has done such an unspeakable act out to be a hero. He is telling a story. Kessel believes that Card has candy coated the unspeakable act however to make it go down better with audiences I for one disagree.

Forgiving the Soldier and Blaming the Commander is something America has already embraced. We have seen the error in our Actions towards the people that do the actual killing in war and instead blame the people that put them there. That is what Vietnam has taught us. And why people who appose our war today still claim to support our troops.

I agree with Mr. Card in the mater that the path to hell is not paved with good intensions. Why you do something is way more important then the act, but then again ignorance is not a good excuse. It is an interesting paradox.

In many ways Ender is a typical 'Fallen Hero' character, only in his case he is an unwilling hero but willing villain, it is an inventive flip-flop.

Most of the 'attacks' at novel that Kessel makes are more 'attacks' on storytelling in general. Card tells a story to draw out certain moral quandary within every reader to make them ponder the situation.

Only in Kessel's last line do I think he personally attacks Cards ability to write. It is something I for one greatly disagree with. Before that Line I think everything else is more of an attack at the intensions in is writing rather then the ability.

I for one could probably write an essay the length of Kessel’s on my thoughts on this interesting debate. It has taken two hours of my time already, and this chop job I have done has already seen many paragraphs added in the middle and many more deleted entirely. So I hope some of this makes some sense to everyone. 

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