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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » A Letter to Mr. Card

   
Author Topic: A Letter to Mr. Card
Neilsw
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Dear Mr. Card:

I have been a long time fan. My favorite short story is "Porcelain Salamander," and I think "Treason" and "Songmaster" are underrated. You once signed a book for me with the message "Thanks for sharing my stories with others." I just lent that book to a boy who I think will like it very much (if he can put down his control pad long enough to open it)
I just finished "Empire," and feel compelled to tell you that I find your conclusions flawed. While true that the rhetoric between Left and Right has been amped up, that is true of all messages in our society. Only the pundits and politicians are as radical as you suggest. Most people do indeed share beliefs from both sides of the political spectrum. Your examples from Rwanda and Yugoslavia are inadequate as they were not radicalizations of political beliefs, but rekindled tribal warfare that had never been resolved.
Furthermore, America is somewhat unique in that we have a system of government that allows for small groups of people to govern their own affairs. That is to say, the three levels of government. California was able to fund stem-cell research even though the federal government stopped funding. Some states have moved closer to recognizing same-sex marriages. People in rural Nebraska are not going to invade New York because they don't like the City Council's law about removing Trans-fats from restaurants.

I might also add a note to the designer of the book jacket. The description of the story on the flap is most disingenuous.

I would love to read more about what happens to Bean and his children on their voyage. Once again,
thank you for all your wonderful stories.

Sincerely,

Neil Weintraub (Friend of Scott Hollander if that rings a bell)

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Launchywiggin
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Welcome to the 'rack, Neil. [Wave]

I don't really see which conclusions you disagree with.
quote:
Only the pundits and politicians are as radical as you suggest. Most people do indeed share beliefs from both sides of the political spectrum.
This is a point Card has stated himself--but if we were to be thrown into a war, the point is that the moderates would have to pick sides. That's why Empire is about a "possible" future.

Politics aside, Reuben was one of my favorite characters of all time, and I can't wait to hear more. I would LOVE a prequel novel about Reuben's jeesh.

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Neilsw
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I disagree with the premise of the book, and with the Afterward. The politicians and pundits are paid for their point of view. That does not mean they believe what they espouse. There are a few wackos like the Unibomber and the guy that blew up the Oklahoma City Building, but no one is ever going to flock to their banner.

Mostly, I disagree that the moderates will have to choose sides. They will do this by voting, as they always do. There was no noticeable increase in Left Wing vigilante groups after Oklahoma City. People generally believe (both in the concept and the actual ability) in the Rule of Law in this country. No one is going to plan a coup because the country has moved too much to the left or right. That did not even happen in the American Civil War.

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Hookt_Un_Fonix
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quote:
Originally posted by Neilsw:
Mostly, I disagree that the moderates will have to choose sides. They will do this by voting, as they always do. There was no noticeable increase in Left Wing vigilante groups after Oklahoma City. People generally believe (both in the concept and the actual ability) in the Rule of Law in this country. No one is going to plan a coup because the country has moved too much to the left or right. That did not even happen in the American Civil War.

In the American Civil War the majority of people sat on either side of the issues or right int eh middle. What draws people to conflict and rallies them to follow extremist, either left or right wing, is need. Look at WWII, Hitler did not speak for all the people, but because of a need (poverty) people followed him. He just happened to have the key elements that could drive us to a civil war if they lined up. There has to be a public outcry. The person seeking to take power needs to have charisma. They need to have a plausible plan that can be swallowed by the mob. The last thing on the list, they need to insight the mob. What I mean by this is get the sheep mentality roaring. People as individuals would be hard pressed to follow a Hitler, but as a group they seek validation so accept it. So in essence it becomes a believable idea. Think about the common German who spouted quotes of Hitler to prove their validation, and how many recanted them saying they did not believe them but they where in fear of their life?
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Shnabubula
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I have a letter for Mr. Card. Friend me!

www.myspace.com/shnabubula/

you're life will never be the same

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PrometheusBound
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"There was no noticeable increase in Left Wing vigilante groups after Oklahoma City."

Particularly as the bombers were sympathetic to a Right Wing vigilante group.

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Dagonee
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quote:
California was able to fund stem-cell research even though the federal government stopped funding.
First, you need to be more specific: the federal government only restricted embryonic stem cell research, not "stem cell research." Second, no NIH grants for embryonic stem cell research were issued prior to Bush taking office. Third, Bush did not (sadly) stop funding embryionic stem cell research. He allowed it, but restricted the sources of stem cells.
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Will B
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Right. So it would be more accurate to say "even though the federal government started funding embryonic stem-cell research for the first time ever."
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Puppy
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Neils, it seems like a bad betting strategy to hang your hopes on something that has happened before never happening again.
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Neilsw
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You guys make some interesting points. There certainly are some extreme elements in our society. Luckily, these people have access to the same system of government as the rest of us. Even extreme pundints like Rush are die hard patriots.

Furthermore, I am afraid to say it, but Empire has some major flaws. Just try taking over a city of 10 million people and killing all the police with 250, or even 2500 of those mechs!

Neil

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Puppy
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Your opinion is cool and all, but weirdly enough, the last time I failed to enjoy a book, my first impulse was not to run straight to the author's forum and tell him about how much I disliked it. I'm not sure I understand why people do that.

I mean, no one is going to stop you or delete your thread or anything, so you're not breaking any official rules. It's just weird to me that you thought of doing it.

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tern
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I have been told (note, I cannot substantiate it) that the Civil Defense estimated that a well-trained force of about a thousand people could take over Los Angeles. Something to do with gaining control over the water supply.

quote:

Only the pundits and politicians are as radical as you suggest. Most people do indeed share beliefs from both sides of the political spectrum.

Right, but whose agitation would lead to this theoretical war? Theoretically, I mean.

quote:

you're life will never be the same

This is true, but not in a good way. Can I have the three minutes of my life back?
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RunningBear
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But this is an armed country, and as such I think you would have quite a few people who know how to operate items that would encourage the would-be occupiers to give up.
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Scott R
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quote:
But this is an armed country, and as such I think you would have quite a few people who know how to operate items that would encourage the would-be occupiers to give up.
I doubt that the general citizenry are organized enough to take down a force of trained soldiers.
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Sibyl
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
But this is an armed country, and as such I think you would have quite a few people who know how to operate items that would encourage the would-be occupiers to give up.
I doubt that the general citizenry are organized enough to take down a force of trained soldiers.
The Iraqis and Afghans are armed countries, they even shoot guns in the air at wedding celebrations, like we used to a hundred years ago (I remember some shotguns and dynamite used for noisemakers at shivarees: we kids had to make do with pots and pans and band instruments). They aren't doing badly at all resisting American trained soldiers, even while running civil wars between local factions at the same time.
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Scott R
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Yeah, that kind of proves my point. America doesn't have organized citizen militias that Iraq does.
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Hookt_Un_Fonix
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You know we have the two largest free standing militia in the world? Its scary but true, here in America we have two armies that drill more often then the national guard. The are taught tactics, survival, and have ranked structures sufficient enough to be called a military. And those are just the Boy Scouts, and the SCA.

I doubt that the general citizenry are organized enough to take down a force of trained soldiers.

Those two groups are much more then George ad the boys had when they organized and went after a force of trained soldiers. People through out history underestimate forces defending their homes or beliefs. There are more weapons in our country held by citizens then the entire military of Japan. There is more military knowledge floating outside of the military then in it currently. All it would take would be cause strong enough, and some one to speak out loud enough, and a leader could and would surface. I think this country would total rip itself apart before anyone other then the government in power could take over. The only way to get things going her and preserve the documents and ideas of the founding fathers would be a coupe. It would have to be quiet, sudden, and the PR would have to outrageous. I haven't read Empire yet, waiting for amazon to send me my copy, but now I am interested to see how the political powers that be quelled the masses if only in a city, and reestablished stable governing bodies with out a huge loss of citizens and troops.As for the practicality of the walkers being used earlier I do not think those where OSC's idea, I think they where already part of the game this book is based on.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

Those two groups are much more then George ad the boys had when they organized and went after a force of trained soldiers.

1) "George and the boys" were veterans of the French and Indian War.
2) England had to send men and materials across the ocean, a process that took weeks or even months, to resupply.
3) Military hardware and weaponry was not advanced far beyond the civilian equivalents.
4) Even so, the French had to start supplying Americans with cannons and heavy explosives in order to win larger battles.

I'm not arguing your larger point, mind you; I just wanted to quibble about this one. [Smile]

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Sibyl
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quote:
Originally posted by Hookt_Un_Fonix:
You know we have the two largest free standing militia in the world? Its scary but true, here in America we have two armies that drill more often then the national guard. The are taught tactics, survival, and have ranked structures sufficient enough to be called a military. And those are just the Boy Scouts, and the SCA.

I doubt that the general citizenry are organized enough to take down a force of trained soldiers.

Those two groups are much more then George ad the boys had when they organized and went after a force of trained soldiers. People through out history underestimate forces defending their homes or beliefs. There are more weapons in our country held by citizens then the entire military of Japan. There is more military knowledge floating outside of the military then in it currently. All it would take would be cause strong enough, and some one to speak out loud enough, and a leader could and would surface. I think this country would total rip itself apart before anyone other then the government in power could take over. The only way to get things going her and preserve the documents and ideas of the founding fathers would be a coupe. It would have to be quiet, sudden, and the PR would have to outrageous. I haven't read Empire yet, waiting for amazon to send me my copy, but now I am interested to see how the political powers that be quelled the masses if only in a city, and reestablished stable governing bodies with out a huge loss of citizens and troops.As for the practicality of the walkers being used earlier I do not think those where OSC's idea, I think they where already part of the game this book is based on.

Well, the weapons in which the SCA are trained are hardly "modern", and the BSA aren't trained in weapons or killing at all.

Don't forget, though, that other than the National Guard, (no longer "weekend warriors"), we also have many millions of combat veterans who are no longer _in_ the military, even Reserves, but are very thoroughly trained both in military structures _and_ weapons, and then there are the noncombat veterans who did their two, three, or four years and then got out. The Vietnam veterans, (my age) who have serious experience with (opposing) guerrilla tactics are probably still young enough to put up a pretty good fight too. I don't think that it'd take them long at all to organize when necessary, starting with the hometown people that they know as everyday friends, and collecting around these groups. These are the "general citizenry".

Sibyl

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Scott R
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[Smile]


Sounds like good science fiction to me.

I think the reality of things shows that people, when pressed, look out for themselves and their kind. For example-- AFAIK, there was no outstanding volunteer citizen police action during the aftermath of Katrina, the LA Riots, etc. There was individual bravery and individual action-- and that's it.

:shrug:

It'd be nice, I guess, if I was wrong.

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I Am The War Chief
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What about the michigan militia? militias won your civil war, was the reason why you are all allowed to carry weapons so you could fight of oppression. The iraqis arent trained militia they just have superior numbers and one man with a gun can take down 2 soldiers before they get taken down . . .
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Your opinion is cool and all, but weirdly enough, the last time I failed to enjoy a book, my first impulse was not to run straight to the author's forum and tell him about how much I disliked it. I'm not sure I understand why people do that.
He didn't say that he didn't enjoy the book. He said he didn't agree with the conclusions. Maybe that's not materially different to you, but I can see a distinction. I don't understand why defensiveness is the default state when someone posts something that disagree with an opinion of OSC's. It's not an attack, and I don't think his (OSC's) views are arrived at impetuously, so it's not as if they can't stand up to some civil disagreement.

It's when it's not civil that I think it's uncalled for.

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Puppy
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You know, you're right, actually, in this case. In the back-and-forth between me and neil, I had lost track of the original content of his post. He was just disagreeing with a conclusion, and he wasn't criticizing the fiction.

So, complaint withdrawn.

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Hookt_Un_Fonix
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Sibyl

I am one of those soldiers no longer active, though I am looking at going back into the national guard. I am waiting however to finish with my paperwork until after I see what the repercussions are after GW's big speech. I support our troops, and the idea of a free Iraq that can live in peace, but I am getting to old to be dodging bullets again.

Now from a military I think you are under estimating the abilities of groups like the BSA or SCA to be able to form and muster a viable militia. The hardest thing is not teaching people to shoot, its teaching them to maneuver as a group.

Football teams can even pose a small organized threat if they wanted to resist. For example the kids in Red Dawn, though its a movie I see it as a pretty good example of group cohesiveness.

Gangs are another source of resistance for the same reason, and they are already armed. Man would I hate to be a in a occupying force that had to deal with crips, bloods, and the rest of them.

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