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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » The Changing Style of OSC (Page 3)

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Author Topic: The Changing Style of OSC
Jenny Gardener
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I certainly don't think OSC has lost his magic. I'm just saying that sometimes it works between a writer and a reader, and sometimes it doesn't. You can't really control it too much.
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HandEyeProtege
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I think this is a fascinating topic, if only because I've been pondering the same thing for some time. The word "mythic" resonates with me, but I can't put a finger on what it really means.

In thinking about it, though, I discovered another factor that, for me, greatly affects my attachment to a book: the setting. That seems odd, because I *know* that it's really the characters I'm attached to, but I think it's the same way one gets attached to your home in real life - that's where the people you love are.

I'm drawn to a relatively contained setting - one in which I can sit myself down in a corner and watch the events play out. Battle school had that. The towns of Hatrack, Basilica, Milagre, even Hart's Hope - I felt at home in all of them. Some piece of the magic is lost when the characters are no longer rooted. Peter and Wang Mu, searching for the real power behind congress. Alvin as a journeyman. The entire Shadow series (after Ender's Shadow) jumps from country to country in every chapter.

This is by no means a criticism - some stories have external journeys as well as internal. It just surprised me when I realized that, over time, OSC's stories have tended towards that outward journey. Anyone else feel that way?

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Agnes Bean
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quote:
Scott, I will give it as my opinion that one of the things a lot of people have found distasteful in the Shadow series is the strong motivations in Bean and Petra to procreate, and the idea that all humans feel thus. *I* certainly have a strong desire to procreate, but apparently not everyone feels that way and the idea that "everyone does" or "everyone should" bothers them.
While the theme of “everyone wants to procreate” initially bothered me—it certainly contradicts my world view, and if one checks out the “childfree” community on live journal, I think it becomes abundantly clear that not everyone; wants to make babies”—after thinking about it, I realized that these views did come from the characters. Yes, clearly OSC holds them too. But the books did not preach. Occasionally the characters did, but then I took issue with the character just like I would take issue with anyone who preached at me, not with OSC. Besides, as OSC said, they were all preaching in hopes of convincing Bean to have babies, so it’s not like their pro reproduction stance was particularly forced. And clearly, Bean having babies was incredibly important to the plot.

I adored the Shadow Series, especially SotG, despite my disagreement with some of the views presented, because the story was compelling and the characterization amazing. It might help that I haven’t read any of OSC’s political essays, so although I vaguely know his political views, most don’t jump out at me. The only thing I’ve really noticed throughout the books is the procreation thing, but as I said above, that made sense in context.

Speaking of that, a comment on Achilles: Yes, Achilles is pretty damn crazy evil. But I still think he was a well done character. His insanity seemed real to me. He was not an evil overlord taken straight from a fantasy novel. He was not Voldemort or Sauron. He was charming and ambitious, it’s just that his ambitions were evil and he had that little problem with killing people who saw him weak. His evil fit with the real world. Recently I was the German movie Downfall, which is about Hitler’s last days in Berlin before he killed himself. The movie did a fantastic job as showing Hitler as a human being, without ever letting the audience forget that he was a terrible one. I think OSC achieved something similar with Achilles.

I’m not that well versed in OSC’s writing (yet, though I’m working through my library’s collection as fast as I can), but I have just recently finished both the original Ender’s series and the Shadow series. My feeling on that old v. new comparison was that the older books dealt with larger philosophical themes, and made me think and challenge my views more, they had a larger impact on me. However, the later ones dealt with character so well (I loved the characterization of Peter—I was shocked and thrilled when I realized this character who I had hated from my many reading of EG was turning into a character I loved) that I’m almost as attached to them. The books are different, yes, but I don’t think I can say one type is better than the other.

[ April 03, 2005, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: Agnes Bean ]

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LilBee91
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I've only read the Ender series and the Shadow series, and I like them both about the same. There is a difference in style, but I still love them. Both series have a powerful message, but the Shadow series is more subtle and presented in a very different way. There is no way OSC's style could stay the same after all these years of writing. There are things to love and hate in both series. It all depends on what you like, and the characters you relate to.
Good writers can change their writing style depending on their audience and purpose. If they want to write a bedtime story for 3 year olds, it is going to be a totally different style then an autobiography. OSC is a great writer. The characters in his books are different, their beliefs are unique, and his purposs in writing have changed. His style has had to change.

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Michiel
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Why do say that the Shadows series is "more subtle"? In what way?
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LilBee91
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It just seemed to me that you have to look a little harder in the Shadow series to get the whole meaning. The Ender series seemed more open.
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Michiel
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You really think there is a more hidden meaning in, say, Shadow of the Hegemon than in, say, Xenocide?
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LilBee91
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No, not more. SotH was a lot of politics and war, and there is only so much depth in that. Xenocide was completely different, not really more or better (depending on what you like), but still great. There were a lot of topics in Xenocide that allowed for great things to be shown/told.
OSC was writing for different reasons, with different knowledge, for different people. I like both series for different reasons. His style has changed. It probably has something to do with his kids getting old, but I'm not him so I don't know.

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Orson Scott Card
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Xenocide was a theological novel of awakening and transformation. Hegemon, a political novel of intrigue and violence. Really different KINDS of fiction. And Children of the Mind is downright metaphysical and cosmological. It's all part of trying not to write the same book twice.
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Shan
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What! No hidden meanings? Nothing to deconstruct? Mercy!

[Razz]

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Verai
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Does writing the same book sell?

I doubt many are familiar with the "Skeeve" books but that strikes me as a very slow-evolving series with a never-changing theme. They are getting old.

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Michiel
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I just don't see LilBee's point that Shadows is more subtle, harder to understand that Speaker/Xenocide. I would think it's rather the reverse. But I confess I'd liked the latter better than the former, so maybe it's just that. Although I don't equate a book more complicated with it being better. I am reading Orwell's HOMAGE TO CATALONIA right now. Absolutely great, but I wouldn't call it estoric or even complicated really....
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