Owned and operated by Orson Scott Card
OSC Answers Questions

  Ask A Question
Search Q&A with OSC  

In your book Xenocide, youve said something to the affect, that it was inspired by your old project filodes. The whole concept of filodes is something that has resonated with me ever since I heard it.

All but the first two within the enderverse timeline, Ive listened to on EBooks. I remember you saying that hearing your stories is the medium you prefer. All of the core books Ive thoroughly enjoyed, listening to them, numerous times. Im not trying to fanboy you just enable you to understand the magnitude of this series has had on my life.

Your concept of filodes is something Im interested in. Im asking to know if you have that old project accessible to the readers? If not Id love to hear more of your thoughts on the concept.

Over anything else Id like to know where your inspiration came for the filodes concept? I understand that may require allot of explanation. If you have the time Id love to hear you out.

First off, I'm a long time fan of some of your books, and remember a reading you did in Rochester about, oh, 32 years ago or so!

I am excited to find this Q & A forum and I've read almost all of the questions and answers and have been fascinated.

Surprisingly, the question I am asking is somewhat mundane/technical though.

I have been quite taken with the societal effects of a universe with near instant communication but slower than lightspeed travel. I encountered this primarily in your Ender series, but I've run into it in Ursula LeGuin's books as well.

In an early answer of yours on this site, you wrote, 'many stories have needed to take place in a universe where travel is limited by lightspeed, but communication is not. '

I have actually not found a great many such stories (I have two questions about this on the SF&F StackExchange forum). Are you referring to any specific stories, earlier than LeGuin, or was this just a general though?

You and Ursula LeGuin are my favorite science fiction authors. Alas, LeGuin passed away, and so I find myself (having read her entire science fiction oeuvre already) looking for more authors that can write like her. There's a sort of transcendent quality to her writing that it's hard to put my finger on. At the same time, she looked at humanity head-on, with neither delusion nor cynicism. Could you recommend some other writers like her? I'm sorry if the question is vague or incoherent.

I read that you and your brothers played a modified version of Risk. My question is, how did you revise the rules?

Sometime ago I wrote an open question on Quora about Octavia Butler. You replied that she owed her success as a writer in part because she had an important understanding of Story. Could you explain her masterful understanding of Story? Further, you remarked that because she mastered Story, she could keep us eagerly reading to find out more. I'm very much interested in these observations, because I'm writing my own novel. Could you explain these attributes in detail?

My teacher is asking us to do research on you, and so one of the questions is: what is your favorite song, and why?

After reviewing your background in starting to write science fiction, I was wondering if your college education was critical to your success as a writer.

As an assignment for my eighth grade English class, we were required to read a 'banned book' and write a paper examining the reasons for its "banishment." I chose Ender's Game, and the main reasons cited for it being banned included profanity and sexuality. What are YOUR thoughts on banned books in general, but especially on Ender's Game?

I'm writing a college research paper on fanfiction and one of the sections is going to be "When Not to Write Fanfiction." I know several authors have come out and stated that they do not want to have people use their characters in fanfiction writings (i.e. Anne Rice and Anne McCaffrey). Could you please tell me your opinion on people using your characters in fanfiction stories for personal enjoyment?

Did you insert any of your own life experiences or any friends or family members of yours into your stories? Can you "relate" to any character in any of your Ender-based novels, and if so which?

After reading the Ender Saga, I found a copy of Enchantment in a used book store, I loved it and couldn't put it down'What I found most intriguing was the how you intertwined history, legend/fairy tales, and magic.

I wrote that to ask you this: Where did you get the idea for the premise of Enchantment and for the Alvin Maker Series?

The folk magic/alternate history of the Alvin Maker series is really great, but how did you come up with torches, sparks, doodlebugs, makers and other knacks,and what inspired the alternate American History? (I have a bachelor's in history and I find the alternate history not only excellent, but also truly thought provoking.)

Most of the protagonists in the OSC books I have read (all of the Ender/Bean and Alvin Maker books) either struggle with, have no use for, or do not believe in religion. When they do believe in God, they believe in him in more of the Newtonian "Wind-up Clock Universe" theory in which God creates the universe to run by itself without interference or help.

I see myself in their opinions. It amazes me to think OSC could understand their characters so well if HE was very religious. Yet I know that he is LDS, and yes this is a generalization, but I have yet to meet a half-hearted Mormon. Ah, finally to my question. DOES Orson Scott Card believe whole-heartedly in the Bible and the Mormon doctrine? And if so, did he ever struggle with his beliefs? How can he write so well for his protagonists if he does not see validity in their views, and if he does see validity in his views, does it effect his beliefs?

I realize that these are involved questions requiring an involved answer, but I do hope to receive one. I always burn with curiosity and I beg you to dowse one flame.

My question is about OSC's military knowledge. Although I'm only 16, I aspire for a position of leadership in the military, and I wonder where OSC gets his knowledge of the fine skill of military leadership. From Ender's actions as a Commander, I've already got some ideas on how to lead men willingly and would like to know where OSC learned this.

Why do you write? What is your inspiration?

I was re-reading Shadow of the Hegemon in preparation for Shadow Puppets, and a question came back up that had bothered me the first time through the book: why invent a new word ("jeesh") and then state that it was a Battle School term that everyone knew . . . but that we readers knew was not a word that occurred in the book? This question is not about the word itself but rather about the way you went about bringing it out. I know you must have a reason, but I haven't been able to figure it out yet.

I have another question, one whose response I will use in a few weeks as I re-teach your exquisite Ender's Game: What changes would you make in the novel if you were writing it for the first time today instead of in the mid-80's?

Throughout the Ender series, of course, one of the main topics in the book is destroying the various species. Are you trying to convey to the reader that it is alright to destroy a race to insure human survival? Or, are you trying to take the other approach by telling us that it is wrong to do this?

I was wondering if you could tell me the major events in U.S. history (if any) that influenced or that you included in Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow Puppets. I have read through all the books and I have found a few, but I thought that there might have been some more important events.

How long did it take you to write the book "Ender's Game"?

I am doing a research paper on the opposing viewpoints of censorship for my AP Eng. class. Have any of your books been censored? What is your opinion on censorship in public schools? Any other feedback would be great.

I noticed many analogies in the Ender sequels to Mormonism, but I can't find any official statement by OSC to confirm the ones I've found, or to shed light on ones I hadn't seen before. Are there intentional ties to Mormonism in the Ender sequels?

I was wondering if when you wrote "Ender's Game" in the novel form, if you had any backstory with Bean that might have included Anton's Key? Also, where did you get the idea for Bean's genetic difference?

Do you think that your religion has inspired you to use the fantasy/science fiction genre? (Especially in the case of Alvin Maker) It seems to me that a large number of science fiction stories are written by Mormon authors (Battlestar Galactica, Titan A.E., your books, etc.)? Am I imagining things, or is the knowledge of this fact due to the increased scrutiny given to Mormon authors by the media? Likewise, does the importance of proselytization in the LDS religion, reflect in your writing? Are any of your books conceived of by you as ways, though certainly not offensive nor overly aggressive ways, to expose readers to some Mormon values and stories? (Again with special respect to the Tales of Alvin Maker.)

I am writing an analysis essay for Ender's Game for my High School English class. After reading many reviews and interviews, I put together some ideas that somehow worked. You have said that history is usually doomed to repeat itself, as well as that you have been influenced by American history. In my American History class we just finished studying World War II, and as I thought about both, some things began to click. My thesis is that Ender is symbolic of American involvement in WWII. Obviously, you did not write Ender's Game with that in mind, however you have said that much of your writing is influenced by subconscious ideas. Although the idea is not perfect, many parallels are there. For example, the fact that Ender's life is controlled from his birth parallels American foreign policy, in which America was almost controlled by European events. Ender's growth and development through the story-learning to use his resources for war-parallels the industrial development of the United States. Mazer's victory-a turning point in the bugger war, could be paralleled to the key victory, caused by only 12 lost bombers, at Midway. The buggers could be the Japanese, and therefore, the invasion could be paralleled to island hopping. Finally, the final bomb dropped on the bugger world could symbolize the atom bombing of Hiroshima. These are just a few of the possible parallels between the story and American history. Am I completely wrong? Do you think that the story could not be interpreted in this way, or that it was unintentional and should not be interpreted in this way? Or is it possible that, at least subconsciously, you were making these parallels in your book to learned history?

As I was reading Shadow of the Hegemon, I noticed the unique "language" that the children use to communicate. By language, I mean mostly, the use of slang, (Terms like "greeyaz" and "kuso" come to mind), but it is more than the individual words. Somehow, it feels like a separate language of the 'insiders' -- battle school grads. Like real groups of friends do, they speak more than the sum of the words, there is additional meaning, between friends, that the reader can feel a part of.

How do you create this language so that it comes across to the reader as more than English with a few random slang-terms, and allow the reader to feel like a part of the group, albeit a silent one? In addition, how did you come up with the actual words?

Mr. Card, in my opinion, Peter was the most intriguing character in Ender's Game, and yet, there was still much that the reader had to guess. My question is, when Peter told Ender that he loved him (page 15) was it another planned move by him, or were we really seeing another part of him? Any information about Peter would be amazing!

I am doing my junior thesis on you and the topic is "What is Orson Scott Card's view of the future in the books Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow?" I read the whole Ender's series and when I tried to approach the question, I was dumbfounded. How you have one view where the government is controlling population growth and the Earth seems to be in a rebuilding stage and a totally opposite view where the city is overrun by poverty and there is a serious overpopulation problem. And also, all of the subtle hints that you provoke to the reader, can you just give some in-depth information at what you were trying to aim for in the books?

This question is going to be quite a contrast to the rest of the serious literary questions posted at this site. As part of my research project on Orson Scott Card my teacher asked me to find out what his favorite food was. Hopefully you can answer or tell me where I could find the answer.

Hi I have been working on a report on your books in the subject Swedish, yes I'm from Sweden. Let's get to the point, what I'm working on is how much the readers influences you in your writing. After reading the Alvin and Ender sequences I took a look on your prefaces and there I saw that you wrote the last Alvin books because the readers demanded it. Is that true? Is it usually like that? How do the readers contact you? Do you keep the contact with some of them?

My question is about Xenocide's Gloriously Bright and her faith.

GB starts out with a pseudo-Buddhist faith, with no reason to question it. As the story progresses, her father discovers the truth and abandons belief in the gods -- GB doesn't. In fact, she constructs a series of arguments that have a certain logic to them (at least barring close examination). GB has what I would call "blind faith," as opposed to "unshakeable faith."

So my point . . . how do you know your own faith (which I have seen you competently defend on Beliefnet) is of the unshakeable variety, instead of blind?

My question is when I finished Speaker for the Dead I remember reading that when Ender was in light speed space travel he loses all contact with Jane and when he comes out she gives him a follow up on what he missed. I just started Xenocide yesterday and I am reading the section with Miro in lightspeed travel. He says he is in contact with Jane the whole time. How could this be if Ender could not originally do it in speaker for the dead, or am I missing something entirely? I thought I should ask the source since you are the mind behind the work.

I've been wondering if you based Ender's personality, leadership style and/or character on any historical persons.

I noticed a parallel between Ender's relentless final battle with the Buggers in Ender's Game and U.S. Grant's battles against Robert E. Lee. Grant was cool under pressure and was willing to fight battles even as his losses were staggering. During breaks in battle, he was overcome with emotion and wept, but then was clear headed and emotionless when it came time to fight again.

Was Ender based on any historical character(s)? Is there one standout character that he is modeled after, or is he a synthesis of characters?

I was wondering if you could explain who the shadow is supposed to be throughout the "Shadow" companion novels of Ender's Game. I have had a few ideas, but none of them are quite satisfactory. I'm not even sure if all four books refer to the same person in their titles, or if to different people. I think it's pretty clear that Ender's Shadow refers to Bean, but what about Shadow of the Hegemon? I have constructed for my self arguments that this could be Peter because of his desire to become Hegemon, or Bean. I already gave you my main reason that it could be Peter, I think it could be Bean because of the progression the books are making. Bean spends his whole life in the shadow of others. Physically, because of his height, but also internally as he struggles to find who he really is. He makes a progression standing first in Ender's shadow, then that of Hegemon, in the shadow of death as he struggles with the truth about his short life and finally comes into his own in the fourth book. This is pure speculation. It is impossible to know, until you write the other two books and maybe we won't even know then. But, please let me know what you have planned and if my idea has any merit or if it is completely bogus.

My upcoming project on an author of our choice needs us to go deep into that author. My teacher told us we should know their favorite color by the time we're done. I have chosen one of my favorite writers, OSC, but I'm having troule with this one idea. I have noticed in many books, especially yours, that a main character of a young child who is wiser than those around him is very common. This is in the Ender Saga, of course, and in Sarah, Lost Boys, the Homecoming series...the list could go on. I've also noticed this in The Giver (Lowry), From the Corner of His Eye (Koontz) The Dark is Rising Sequence (Cooper) and other books, which all seen to effectively draw one into the character. Why do you think that a child's loss of innocence and premature maturing has such an effect on the reader, and why do you and other authors of great books keep going back to this common theme, which nevertheless is fresh and new in each situation though the idea is the same?

In '"Speaker for the Dead'" you state or imply that if you really understand someone, or put yourself in their place, you end up agreeing with them. Could you do this exercise with the mastermind of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Can you understand him? Put yourself in his place? Agree with him?

Also, in '"Ender's Shadow (I think) you say that the best teacher is your enemy. What can we learn from these terrorists that could help us?

You mention that Science Fiction was the vibrant literature of the last 50 years but that it is now dying. What made is so vibrant, and what is it now losing? And what are young writers like myself to do, if we would really rather write Fantasy-SF and not another genre?

I am a senior in high school and I am working on my senior exit essay. The topic for my essay is how science fiction writers have influence science. I would just like to know if you think this is true and if so how have they influenced science.

This is a question that came up often during our class discussions of Ender's Game. We found passages to lead us either way, so our question is, "Were siblings allowed to attend battle school at the same time?" There was no record in the books either way, so we were curious.

As a person who is as religious as you are, how do you write generally atheist characters like Bean so well? Is it just through your own logic, or do you have a model, or what?

In a prologue or introduction or something I read of Card's, he said that he likes playing the game Risk but with modified rules. What are these rules?

I am writing a research paper on Ender's Game and Children of the Mind. In both books you present your main characters as innocent children. You also continue on the same plot that a specie or species is about to be wiped out and you chronicle their lives trying to save their world. My question to you is: Is there a reason you kept these two elements constant for a reason or just coincidence? You also incorporate many characteristics, such as brilliance and strength, throughout these books, I was wondering is there a reason for this?

Did you have to get permission from Ursula K Le Guin in using the idea of or the term "ansible" in your books? Having read the Le Guin. book, (something about utopia) I noticed that the book wasn't all that concerned with the idea of instantaneous communication. But does that mean that any writer can use it in their writings or is permission from the author required?

My class was split up into two groups and every person in my group had to read a different book, written by you, and compare them. One of the things we noticed is that the number seven comes up in your books very often, Such as in Alvin Maker, He is the seventh son of a seventh son, and in Ender's Game, Ender's father is a seventh son, and more sevens in Wyrms.Is there any reason for this? Does it have anything to do with your religous beliefs?

Just out of idle curiosity, do the same metaphysics/physics aply in the Ender and Alvin universes, specifically are the "atoms" that Alvin teaches the same as the philotes of the Ender series?

I'm doing research for a paper I'm writing about Ender's Game and I came across a criticism by Elaine Radford. In her criticism she claims that you purposely modeled Ender after Hitler and your novels are a defense of genocide and race hatred. There are many similarities between the two that she points out and much of what she says makes sense.

How has religion influenced your writing?

what is your purpose for writing your sci-fi novels? what do you want to warn humanity about? or what do you want people to learn?

I was wondering if Mr. Card has ever considered writing a novel adaptation of "A Thousand Deaths". I'm suprised that it hasn't happened. I think it is a great story and I would definitely buy it. Has Mr. Card looked at it and decided against it or has he just never thought of it.

I'm doing research on the use of pseudonyms in journalism and publishing and understand that you have published a few things in the past under assumed names. Most of the people I am studying are dead, and I would love to have the insight of a living author. Could you please share a little with me about what motivated you to publish this way, and what advantages/disadvantages you discovered.

I know you hear it all the time, but I have read the Ender saga countless times, and still it is intriguing, there is always more to analyze. In Children of the Mind, Peter seems to undergo a paradigm shift. He is no longer the violent or uncontrollable; no longer as ambitious. He is more of a cocky, skeptical person. My question is, is this an effect of Peter maturing, or did your feeling about him, your image, change?

Could you please tell me what a Hegemon is?

How do you manage to draw my imagination in so well that any problems, or stresses I may have at that moment in life go away? How do you manage to keep me reading and not watching TV, or playing games or other things I have done so often?

Looking back, what do you consider to have been the "low points" and "highlights" of your career?

What made you want to write? Did you ever not know what you would do with your life or aspire to be something different than what you eventually became?

Have you ever done anything musical?

Who is your Hero?

In many of your writings you pay a lot of attention to religion. Who introduced you to Mormonism?

Though I am not a writer myself, I have a question to which I think you could provide an answer. I am an oil painter, and though I have been painting for quite a while now, when I look back on my previous paintings, I often feel that they never quite said what I wanted to say.

My question is this: As you are unable to re-write any of your previous works, yet they are always open to criticism, are you frustrated at this situation, or are you proud of every story you wrote?

An interesting discovery today during class discussion of Ender's Game. I had asked a reflective question on the study guide: "Do you think Ender and Alai are seriously racist, or are they just playing around?" The question was meant to refer to page 61, where the following exchange occurs: ....

I am a teacher trying to design multi-disciplinary unit around the Ender's Game series. I would like to know, is there any scientific basis for the difference between subjective time for light-speed travelers and "real" stationary time? If so, what sort of formula could one use for calculating subjective time at light speed?

In the Ender Saga, I see standard patterns of values and attitudes and here I pose my questions.

1. What values and attitudes do you hold dear in real life?; and

2. Why did you write the Ender Saga?

I'm having trouble with the terms "raman and varelse", I really enjoy your books and want to have a better understanding of them. The term "raman" was used in the Philmont Grace at boy scout camp. Please help and keep writing.

I've noticed that the Peter character in "Ender's Game", and the one in the "Shadow of the Hegemon" preview, he seems to have completely different personalities. In Game, he appears to be cruel, to an almost unusual extent, while in Hegemon, he does what he does to help Ender. I was wondering, is Peter just a normal older brother who likes to beat the younger one down, as is common in so many homes, and is portrayed in Hegemon, or is he abnormally cruel in his approach to others, and is this how you were attempting to depict him in "Ender's Game"?

I am a thirteen year old boy, and have been thinking about whether or not religion has a bad or good affect on human lives. You tend to bring up religion in some way or another in most of your books, and you are a religious man, so I thought that you would be a good person to ask. From what I can tell, religion has caused more death than saved life, more pain than pleasure, and created more evil that it ever has good. To me, it seems like religion has a negative affect on human survival. I could go on and on with reasons to back myself up, but I'm sure you have already heard most of the arguments I could come up with. I just wanted to know what you think about it. I am not closed minded, and will be very interested in what you have to say.

Religion features prominently in many of your books, certainly more so than in the books of most SF authors. You write with understanding and you seem to suggest that no one religion has a monopoly on truth. From reading your work, I would guess that you do not consider one religion to be the only path to Heaven/salvation/Nirvana etc.

My question is this: How do you reconcile this view with your own religious beliefs? Do you subscribe to the view that all paths lead to God, or do you believe Mormonism to be right but wish to cause no offense?

My question is about the connection between ethics and religion. I do not dispute the need for ethics. The 10 commandments form an very compactly stated ethical system. Why not take that system and follow it because it is sensible and leads to an ordered and happy society. Why follow it because it was divinely revealed?

You are devout follower of the church of Jesus Christ of LDS. In your opinion, is it not possible to separate the ethics form the divinely revealed parts of a religion? Why would you choose to believe something there is so much scientific evidence against? Is it not enough to take the message, the ethics and work from there.

PS: I'm not saying that I have scientific evidence that there is no God. Nobody can proof or disproof that. There is however plenty scientific evidence that there is no supernatural involvement such as handing over stone tablets etc.

In the Homecoming series, What was your inspiration for Basilica, the "City of Women"?

Was it simply an ideology that you explored whilst writing the series or is it based on fact, either historical or contemporary?

I'll be the first to admit I have a tendency to "jump the gun" as it were, but I've read some of the posts you've made here and something caught my attention, and that's not always an easy thing to do.

You presented, in an answer to one of the questions here, an exhausting list of authors that you have read, and who out there doesn't have such a list; however, the list of authors you currently read blew my mind.

I fancy myself a budding writer, though the secrets hidden within that bud have yet to fully reveal themselves. I read constantly, though very little contemporary literature. In fact, with the exception of Ann Rice and yourself, very little indeed. The most contemporary works I have read recently, outside of studying, for school or personal reasons, is Frank Herbert and Tolkein.

Bear with me, I am coming to a point, and if you post this, if it pleases, use only the snippets you need out of this plethora of rambling. I have recently noticed a difference between my two favorite contemporary artists. While you seem to have enough to read to keep you busy for a lifetime and more, Ann Rice reads very little modern literature, and in fact considers all reading to be study. She says, "I read almost no contemporary fiction at all. I don't like it. It hurts my head. It makes me sad. It upsets me."

My point, my question if you will, is the following: "What are your views on modern literature, compared to 50 or 100+ years ago? Also, is this merely a stage you are currently in, reading as much contemporary literature as you do, or have you always delved into modern fiction with a vigorous appetite?"

What was the very first story about that you scribbled down on a sheet of paper late one night? Was it something you just crumpled up and tossed a few days/months/years later, or did you ever do anything with it?

You have written books of many genres. Sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, suspense fiction, etc. What is most enjoyable for you?

Is the link between Ender and the Roman Catholic belief in God intentional? It struck me one day as I was thinking about your books, that there is an uncanny parallel. God, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three beings, one God. Ender, Ender, Peter and Val. Three people, one philote. Ender is clearly father to the others. Peter is his son. Val is a pretty holy spirit as far as Ender is concerned. Was this intentional, or am I reading way too much into your writing?

Is the Ender universe one in which America "lost" the Cold War? I am asking this in response to several things in the books. One is the mention of the Warsaw Pact in Ender's Game. Another in the policy in which only two children are allowed per family. That sounds like the One child policy in communist China, which might be the case if we had lost a war to a communist country. Thirdly, in the second chapter of your new "Ender" book about Petra, the characters include America as a nation which used to have power but does not anymore. Anyway, I was just curious if these books were set in an universe where the U.S. lost the cold war, since it never actually says this in the books.

Is Han Tzu related to Han Qing-Jao? The family name is the same, so I wondered if Han Tzu were an ancestor of Qing-Jao's.

When I originally read the Ender's Game series yeas ago, I was absolutely fascinated with the beauty of the theory of philotic physics as presented in Xenocide. Recently in my philosophical studies I have begun reading about Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz's monadic theory. The similarities between this theory and the fictional concerns of the characters in Xenocide are remarkable. My question for Orson is, are you familiar with monadic theory and were you conscious of it in any capacity when developing your fictional theory for Xenocide?

I have read every book in the Ender Series, finishing "Ender's Shadow" just today. Because of my love of the series, I managed to work it into a research paper topic for school. I love the didactic motif that I've identified in the novels. Therefore, I'm using that as my basis for the research paper.

I read several reviews of "Ender's Game" that mention the delineation of good vs. evil being a matter of empathy. One does the same act, and the motive for the act is what really makes it good or evil. I identified that in "Ender's Game." What is your take on this and what were your intentions in the novel by its inclusion?

Also, it is my interpretation that Ender's book, "Speaker for the Dead" in which he told the story of the Buggers, and caused humanity to feel great sorrow for their destruction, ultimately turning the populous against him, was very similar, and symbolic in my opinion, of the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation. I would really like to use this argument in my paper. Am I on track?

Did Catholicism have any basis in your writings for the Ender Series? I also noticed the religious conflict between the parents, and the placing of Saints' names on all the children, in accordance with the Catholic requirement of raising children in the Catholic Church.

Any comments you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

The more books of yours I read the more curious I get -- how many languages do you speak? And how well? Every time I read a book of yours I'm determined to go out and learn a new language!

In Ender's Game you portray children as innocent humans that are taken advantage by adults. Do you think this statement would be correct and if so, to what extent does your portrayal compare to traditional views of children?

Do you ever find yourself writing the same elements into your stories? (A good example being the similarities in The Worthing Saga and The Homecoming Series.) If so, would you say that maybe your way of understanding LDS scripture is reforming it into ideas more comfortable, or more personal, to yourself? As I read more and more I wonder if you ever just write something and then later go, "Dang! (That) is so much like (this)."

Please don't take this the wrong way, I really enjoy your stories and am practically wetting my pants waiting for the nest Alvin Maker series book and Shadow of the Hegemon, it's just that a lot of elements in your stories seem to repeat themselves just a little and I would like your opinion.

I have been wondering (especially after reading the first 5 chapters of Shadow of the Hegemon) if you truly believe or have associated with brilliance of children measuring up to those in Ender's Game/Shadow or Battle School, excepting the genetically altered minds. The quick thinking and analyzing demonstrated by the young Battle School alumni is something that almost makes me feel inadequate as a teenager. I would have thought you to be one of those children yourself, except for the obvious fact that it is much easier to interpret situations with responses in writing-time as opposed to real-time. I'd like to know who you base your genius characters' brains off of or if it's purely your imagination. Also, do you believe children as young as your characters are capable of cruel intentions as portrayed in Peter, Achilles, Bonzo, etc?

In Ender's Game, and even more so in the sequels, you depict a very detailed view of the human response to an unknown life form. Do you believe that the response (both political, on earth and militarily) is accurate, considering human nature and the political state of the world?

When you wrote Ender's Game, were you criticizing anything about humans or the world as we know it today?

How much of Pastwatch is real fact and/or the speculations of real scientists? Atlantis, Tlaxcalan, Colombus, his father's involvement in Genovese power struggles, his early career, his possible attack on the Muslims? I thought that the speculations were very interesting and was wondering how much of them was real 'fact' and how much was your own conjectures as a science fiction writer.

Does Mormon doctrine teach that Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit are one in the same forming the Blessed Trinity the way that Roman Catholicism does. Is it taught completely differently, or a variation?

Do you think that children are capable of being as intelligent as Peter, Bean and Valentine? Are children smart enough to use propaganda for their own benefit, or are children just innocent? (This includes teens as well.)

I am a gay man who has loved your books since I was introduced to Ender's Game in middle school. Your stories have provided me with the passion to write and I am currently hard at work on my first novel. My question is in regards to the Homecoming series. Zdorab is a gay man that lives his life the early part of his life in shame, but, once away from the gay culture, spends the rest of his life content to be married and love his best friend Shedemei. Were you trying to make a statement about gay culture or homosexuals in general and what relation does that have to the priest that rapes Ilihiak in Earthborn?

What inspired you to write Ender's Game?

Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books.

This might be a stretch, but is Mazer Rackham's name derived at all from "Ockham's Razor" -- the scientific principle that states that when all possibilities are explored, the best answer or solution is the simplest (or something like that)? It seems that Mazer Rackham followed that principle in his victory over the Buggers in the 2nd invasion.

What are your scientific beliefs? Do you feel that science is a bad thing or a good thing?

I am not a student, just a housewife, but I have a question that might be of interest to students doing research on OSC's writings.

I am intrigued by OSC's use of "the outsider" in some of his stories. I have noticed that "the outsider" is often the key to bringing a cohesiveness and healing to characters in the stories. There are many examples: Ender in the Speaker for the Dead series when he marries; Neeraj in Lovelock; some of the stories from Folk of the Fringe, etc.

Is this a conscious decision on your part to have someone from outside the group (family, religion, society, culture) bring a new dimension to the character's lives so that they can change and evolve the way they want and need to? As opposed to the characters sorting things out amongst themselves?

A reader asked earlier about your depiction of "communist-style" governments in some of your stories. Since you were a missionary for two years in Brazil during a long period of political turmoil in that country, I would like to know whether you had any interesting experiences that were a result of the situation in Brazil. You use the Portuguese language in a couple of your novels, and the colonists on Lusitania are descended from Brazilians. Are there other examples of your experiences in Brazil that you include in other stories?

Can you describe your experience when you were a missionary for the Mormon Church in Brazil?

How has your religion and the upbringing you received influenced the person you are today and what you believe in?

I'm doing a research paper on you as an author. I have read many of your books including Ender's Game and Songmaster. I was wondering whether you were attempting to make a statement about children, and the effects of being pushed too hard (growing up before they are ready). I was just wondering whether you were making some kind of statement.

In both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, were you trying to portray Ender and Bean as how powerful and how intelligent the human race can be? And if so, then were you and are you trying to send a message to today's youth?

Could you tell me some things about your childhood that maybe brought your interest in writing?

Are you worried at all that the movie Ender's Game may not be as powerful and brilliant as the novel? The book is amazing to read and for example, while the beatings of Stilson and Bonzo are very violent and obviously wouldn't be very pleasant to watch, they are necessary events for the development of Ender's character. What if the omission of some things like this takes away from the brilliance of the story.

I loved "Enchantment" and enjoyed the "Homecoming" saga very much. It seemed that both had tremendous amounts of Russian culture. I was wondering if something made your books take on these great Russian flavors. Do you have a Russian Heritage, or do you just know a lot of cool stuff about the culture of Russia that you put in your books?

I have noticed that in several stories you have written, you illustrate communist-like governments that can easily be taken as an evil in the story. For example, these governments force the lawbreakers to admit their wrongs on live broadcast or face several deaths ("A Thousand Deaths" in Flux); control TV viewing for the good of the people ("We Try Not To Act Like It" in Flux); and suppress religion and limit the number of children a family can have (Ender's Game). Are you trying to make a point with these strong examples, or is it merely coincidental that this element appears in your stories?

In Ender's Game, are the names of the characters symbolic?

After reading Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Ender's Game, I have noticed them to be very similar. The enemy is similar. The training is similar. There is some similar philosophy, or at least it seems the way of philosophy expressed in dialogue is similar. You have said yourself that you have read Heinlein's work. My question is: to what extent is Ender's Game, if any, influenced by Starship Troopers?

For a digital media class, I have chosen to report on the ansible "internet," the existence of Jane, and other technological communication devices and their psychological influence on the characters in the Ender quartet. I was wondering if your representations of computers, technology, and public reaction are in anyway based upon real life opinions of you or anyone else. Are things symbolic, or only as symbolic as the reader makes them?

I would like to know information on who Locke and Demosthenes really were and what the Warsaw Pact is.

Many young readers recommend and read Ender's Game. Did your use of youthful protagonists anticipate a young adult audience?

Is the choice of a computer simulated environment (The Giant's Game, 3D Fighter Simulation) to develop/measure Ender's character related to this audience?

In Ender's Shadow you mentioned the book "Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age." Is this where you received most of the tactics that Bean and Ender display in the books?

What was your main influence for the brilliant "A planet called Treason"?

I just finished reading Stone Tables and could not help but notice that the relationships between Moses, Miriam and Aaron somewhat resembled those of Ender, Peter and Valentine. (Youngest brother given preferential treatment in the world, Older brother jealous, Older sister caring and understanding.) Knowing that some of the research you conducted for Stone Tables preceded that of Ender's Game, is it possible that the relationships for the siblings in Stone Tables was the precursor for the relationships of the siblings in Ender's Game?

I don't suppose you could just lay out for me the entire metaphor of the mind game (in Ender's Game). I'm very curious; I've been thinking about it for a long time, some pieces are obvious and that's no problem. It's other things that just don't make sense. You mention plenty of times the fact that the mind game is developing with the child, etc., and in that sense you can see how it works with Ender in some stages. But what I'd like to know is how those very peculiar scenes fit in (e.g., the giants corpse, how it grows old with time, how it becomes a home for the buggers, Ender and Valentine walking down the stairs with all those fairy tale creatures, etc.).

I was wondering if you could write me back a brief response of some important events in your life, when they occurred and where. Also, if they influenced your writing at all that can also help.

So when are we going to see your "Secular Humanist Revival Meeting" published again? We're swinging into another election year and the religious nutcases are likely to be out in force again, and I think it'd be a wonderful addition to your Web site. I'd heard a tape of one performance, and I'd love to see the thing transcribed into text.

I'm enrolled in a class teaching aspects and ideas behind Aerospace Art and all its derivatives (namely Space Art). What were your influences and driving ideas behind the ansible, the art conveyed in and on the covers of your books? More to the point, how is it you have been able to imagine detailed plans of the battle school, the ships flying near relativity, mid-flight reanimation from suspension, and the ability to "float down the wire" of the "ansible" to any world instantaneously? The new worlds the "Buggers" left for the Human Species to develop and cultivate surely brings new ideas and scenes of futuristic societies with different suns and other planetary bodies as backdrops. What were your "mental images" also trying to convey to us?

I finished Ender's Shadow. It seems as everybody loves Ender so much because in game you made him out to be this innocent kid who couldn't help but to kill people and win and all that stuff. In shadow you made him seem all cold and unfeeling . . . was that because he really was cold or was it because that's the way Bean perceived him?

It seems as though in some of your books you have a hard time with a character doing anything without an intricate explanation of his/her motives. Do you have motives in mind before deciding on the specific actions of a character or do you write specifically to a story then decide on the motives of the characters as your explaining them.

The question deals with character conflicts amongst each other. Wolverton calls these conflicts prods, and envisions a rose with thorns wound together. It's most evident in the buddy cop movies, where you have two cops working together but they almost hate each other.

In analyzing Star Wars New Hope vs. Phantom Menace, I noticed that New Hope is filled with these internal conflicts. They are minor, but they are everywhere. Darth Vader and his generals bickering, the generals themselves bicker, C3PO and R2D2 never stop, Han and Leia go at it, Luke and Han to a degree over Leia's affections, etc. They are constantly bickering with each other. Han and Obi Wan.

But Phantom Menace lacks this kind of bickering, this interaction. Obi Wan and Qui Gon Jin are boring. They get along so well it's ridiculous.

The question however, is not about whether these ‘prods' are good or not. The question is ... why are they good? Why do prods work in a story? They do, we can site thousands of examples. But why do they work? What's the reason they create interest in the audience?

As I am reading Ender's Shadow, I noticed that Bean disapproves of Ender's choices quite often. Does 15 years of hindsight and experience as an author cause this, or is it just Bean's character? More specifically, is Bean a method of correcting your younger self without changing your original work?

I was wondering if there was any real basis to the terminology "philotic effect?" Are there any real theories in quantum physics that deal with this concept?

In many of your books the characters are trying to find peace within the human race. For example: In Earthborn there is a struggle for peace between three species. The earth people, middle people, and sky people. The Kept (those who follow the keeper) are trying to teach the people of earth to love each other despite the three species differences. Is this idea something that you hope for the human race? That one day the people will be able to live in peace, in a world where everyone follows the same god, because that is what is right.

I was wondering, if during or before the process of writing Ender's Game you consulted research on the behavioral science of highly gifted (or, perhaps the word "brilliant" will suffice) children to supplement your ideas. It appears that you have painted a remarkably accurate picture and I am interested in how you were able to do this.

Several readers have asked this question: What is the theme of Ender's Game?

You've said in some of your introductions that your wife helps you in your writing. Have your children helped you as well, and have you noticed a interest in writing from them?

When reading Mr. Card's belief, I was just as hopeful and delighted as I was with reading his PASTWATCH piece. What I am inquiring though, did he have an experience in his life that compelled him to change his life as the "new" Christopher Columbus did? I'm doing a research essay for a critical thinking class about the PASTWATCH book and Card.

At what point did you become aware of the impact your writing has on readers, and what prompted your decision to respond to them with this degree of accessibility?

Do you have any advice for child authors like myself . . .?

If you were not a writer what would you be doing and why? What would be your greatest statement of advise to any young up and coming writer?

How did you get into all of the exact emotions of Ender? I think that would be very hard to get into the emotions and put them all on paper.

I am curious about the origin of the Philotic Parallax Instantaneous Communicator, or the ansible. Did Mr. Card simply create this by himself or did he get it elsewhere? I would be very thankful if you responded to my question.

I was wondering about the impact of Mr Card's religious awareness (religious "mind," I don't know how to put it) in his writing -- writing available in bookstores, not writing within the LDS Church -- on readers. Are the author's "Mormon moral values" actively perceived by the reader? Does the reader make a distinction between the story and the moral mindset behind it? I could imagine a reader liking the story, the way it is told, but putting aside the religious implications as "yet another Card moralism." Does the reader include it as part of the author's style?

Have readers been attracted to the author's religious mindset so much as to look for more religious writing by Card? (From reading SF Ender's Game to Lost Boys, Saints)

I have a secret question . . . have there been readers who have gone to the Mormon Church because of what Orson Scott Card writes -- who have felt drawn to not only his moral values, but to the religious background? As a matter of fact, I myself feel more and more drawn to the religious aspects within the writer's novels -- but afraid of being attracted to the religious Card, and not to the religion -- whose church I wonder if I want to join.

If only I could have Mr. Card tell me what he thinks (or is the word "feel" more appropriate here) . . .

My question is, are the characteristics and skills that Ender possesses a reflection of your views on leadership?

I was wondering how long it took you to write the Ender Series and how much you like it compared to the rest of your work that you've done in your career? What is your favorite series that you have written as of now?

Watch it on Youtube
Orson Scott Card is once again partnering with Barnes & Noble in Greensboro NC to provide signed and personalized books for Christmas.

Check out other great books for Christmas at the Hatrack Store

Eight Master Classes

on the art and business of science fiction writing.

Over five hours of insight and advice.

Recorded live at Uncle Orson's Writing Class in Greensboro, NC.

Available exclusively at OSCStorycraft.com

Recent Releases
November 2020
Zanna's Gift
September 2019
Lost and Found
June 11, 2019
The Hive
November 2018
A Town Divided by Christmas

Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show is now free and open. You can read all issues at IntergalacticMedicineShow.com

We hope you will enjoy the wonderful writers and artists who contributed to IGMS during its 14-year run.

FacebookTwitterEmail Me

Copyright © 2021 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc.
Web Site Hosted and Designed by WebBoulevard.com