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Author Topic: A lot of OSC books are devoid of sex and romance.
Christine
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I just finished reading Enchantment and while it was the most romantic book OSC wrote, IMO, the romance was rather tame and lacked passion. I would call it sweet rather than romantic.

I was expecting a more profound moment to bring them together. Instead, they just kind of waited one another out. Now, I did enjoy the book very much, as I enjoy many of his books, but OSC is not my source for romance.

His LDS leanings come through very heavily in his romantic scenes, his views on sex, marriage, women, and children. This may play very well with some people, but with me there's a slight disconnect. Most notably, I don't necessarily think the goal of sex is to produce children. (There was some commentary in Enchantment about modern women using birth control to keep themselves barren.)

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anberlinrulez
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I can't think of a book that is "packed with sex" could anybody help me out as to the title of one? I'm reading my first book by OSC right now. It's Empire. It's ironic because i'm a sci-fi fan but i'm reading a non-sci fi book of his.

-anberlinrulez

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by anberlinrulez:
I can't think of a book that is "packed with sex" could anybody help me out as to the title of one? I'm reading my first book by OSC right now. It's Empire. It's ironic because i'm a sci-fi fan but i'm reading a non-sci fi book of his.

-anberlinrulez

I don't think Empire is the best introduction to Card's work. It was his first attempt to write a political thriller. Most of his work deals with science fiction or fantasy, and there are some very solid efforts in both of those genres. I was entertained by Empire, but I really think if you want to read to Card's strengths, you should stick to his classics. In his case, his most popular work, really is his best.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
I just finished reading Enchantment and while it was the most romantic book OSC wrote, IMO, the romance was rather tame and lacked passion. I would call it sweet rather than romantic.

We're at an impasse with our definitions here, I think. You seem to consider passion romantic and sweetness not to be. For me it's the opposite -- sweetness is romantic, while passion is just about sexual hormones instead.
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hobsen
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In answer to the question posed by anberlinrulez, I generally get my books from the public library, which will not buy the real junk which gets published. One title I picked off the fantasy shelf was The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy. Nobody seems to know whether that should be shelved as fantasy or the broadest comedy or romance. But it was outrageously funny to me, and had way too much sex. The author also offers a thinly veiled portrayal of Mary Kay Cosmetics, which pleasantly reminded me of a friend who was a top saleswoman for that company. The following review is good, although it has lots of spoilers. But I am not sure that matters too much for a book I see as slapstick comedy, as the plot does not need to make sense.

http://www.theromancereader.com/cassidy-accidental.html

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Passion and emotion-- physical/mental attraction-- can be felt by completely chaste individuals.

Like those two in Pastwatch, whose names escape me at the moment.

quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
For me it's the opposite -- sweetness is romantic, while passion is just about sexual hormones instead.

Same for me, also. One of the most romantic gestures I've been on the receiving end of was not having flowers delivered to my door or being taken out for a candlelit dinner, it was having my significant other think to bring me groceries without any prompting. That was definitely sweet, and I found it very romantic. There are many other similar examples like that to pull from as well as ones that are bit more deep in nature, in the Trust sense. Both standing alone and all together, those paint a picture of romance that is far more than anything merely physical in nature could ever be.

Also, instead of repeating everything you've already said, Maratanos, I'll just say I take your view of things as well.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
For me it's the opposite -- sweetness is romantic, while passion is just about sexual hormones instead.
This is going to be a rude question: have you had sex?

Because romance without passion is not romance. It's chess.

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rivka
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I have three kids, Tom. And I rather emphatically disagree with you.
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TomDavidson
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You think you can have romance without passion? How are you distinguishing it from friendship at that point?

(I'm assuming that the distinction between romance and friendship is being made, obviously.)

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The Black Pearl
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A lot of friendships dont have sweetness either, Tom. My best friend and I insult eachotehr all the time; one of the reasons were best friends is because neither of us care.

Not that I'm taking a side here.

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PSI Teleport
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Many of the romantic scenes in OSC's novels seem to be relying on the reader's ability to draw on their own experiences to fill in the blanks, as it were. He sets up the frame work, then lets the reader's mind provide the actual details. OSC has said before that he believes that the author and the reader create the story together, because the reader will always bring his or her own emotions and baggage to the story or put a spin on it. (This wasn't his actual quote; that was my interpretation.) Whether or not that's fair is up to each individual; there's probably a fine line between letting the reader fill in the blanks and being so vague that you're no longer telling a story. But I appreciate his style, and have always found his scenes of romance, however short, to be very romantic. Maybe I've just had better experiences than you lot. [Big Grin]

ETA: One of my favorite examples is in Ships of Earth, when Luet is feeling jealous over Eiadh's attention to Nafai. The book says that he knew that Luet needed reassurance that Eiadh's affection wasn't reciprocated, so he reassured her thoroughly, and then they slept. (Something like that.) My brain went a million miles an hour at that passage, and it has stuck with me all these years. I loved that Nafai knew her well enough to understand that her teasing was a mask for actual insecurity. And as far as filling in the blanks that "reassuring her thoroughly" left, my mind did that quite well, and I "imagined" that it was incredibly sexy. One sentence was all he needed to make that impact, but only because I automatically provided the details, never thinking about it until this day.

[ July 21, 2009, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: PSI Teleport ]

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Jamio
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Elizabeth Peters does the same thing in her Amelia Peabody mysteries. In fact, I think she uses the technique in all her books, but it's most obvious in Amelia Peabody.
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scifibum
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Good example of a scene, PSI.

You illustrated your point thoroughly.

(I don't think this technique is working for me.)

((That's what she said!))

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
I just finished reading Enchantment and while it was the most romantic book OSC wrote, IMO, the romance was rather tame and lacked passion. I would call it sweet rather than romantic.

We're at an impasse with our definitions here, I think. You seem to consider passion romantic and sweetness not to be. For me it's the opposite -- sweetness is romantic, while passion is just about sexual hormones instead.
Passion is not about sex, it's about strong emotions. Technically, one can be passionate about cooking or art or literature. In the romantic sense, one is passionate about another human being. This often leads to sex, but not always. I have opinions about when explicit sex is appropriate in literature and it has a lot to do with how the emotions are laid out.

Sweetness can be romantic, and it can go hand in hand with passion. It's best when it does because then you know there's something underneath when the initial passion fades.

But when I'm reading the story about a man saving a princess and helping to rescue her kingdom, I'm kind of expecting passion. They came across as friends.

[ July 22, 2009, 06:48 AM: Message edited by: Christine ]

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
You illustrated your point thoroughly.
I'll illustrate yo--ehh, nevermind.
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insideout
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-given-

OSC prefers to keep the moral center of his characters/ stories in line with his own moral understanding of society as a whole.

-therefore-

Likely it would be noticed, because of the brutal honesty present in his central characters, that he would find stepping outside of that center to be distasteful even if the characters in question were supposedly promiscuous or unconscientious, it could detract from the comfortable honesty with which his characters assess romantic interest in the opposite sex.

The way in which the characters express themselves needs no further qualification when it is expected that they prefer to see things as they truly are in their unique roles as members of a community which, as a whole, doesn't notice the detrimental effects of straying outside the boundaries of pragmatic and honest assessment of both one's own needs and desires before choosing to enter into a relationship, and the prospective partner's ability to fulfill the expectations that would be imposed upon them in such a relationship.

I find the candor of the main characters to be refreshing in this regard. That the majority of the main characters in the "Enderverse" are possessed of both great intelligence and pragmatic self control is undoubtedly part of the authors vision of the universe as it could be if this type of strong and yet predominantly unselfish personality could be valued as a cultural ideal.

Let's not forget, the entire concept of a post formic wars galaxy gives its author much freedom to subtly weave his own view of the effect of human relationships into the fabric of (a fictional) society as a whole and to bring to fruition, to greater or lesser degrees, as many of his own ideals as is practical in his own vision as such.

OSC's approach is one of the main reasons I continue to not only read, but delight in such a vision of an honorable/ selfless subset of humanity becoming influential and effecting a greater sense of responsibility in those around them and, by association, in myself, the reader, as well.

Pragmatic,honorable self-control as a desirable quality in productive members of society is big part of what attracts me to OSC's work.

What happens in the inner workings of relationships in this context doesn't need to be explicitly exposed. An implied understanding of these things is really all that's necessary to keep the story authentic. I applaud this author for not using explicit sexual encounters and the popular view of giving in to selfish desires as a means to attract a greater audience. I believe this makes his stories more relevant because of their value as an example of people's willingness to adopt greater virtue when it is shown to be beneficial.

Thanks and well done, Mr. Card. Do not waver in you convictions.

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kassyopeia
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quote:
What happens in the inner workings of relationships in this context doesn't need to be explicitly exposed. An implied understanding of these things is really all that's necessary to keep the story authentic.
One might easily argue the opposite point of view: The central romantic relationships of "virtuous" characters have a much bigger impact on their lives than the many casual ones of promiscuous characters have on theirs. Thus, a story dominated by the first type should focus more, not less, on the inner workings of these relationships.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by insideout:
-given-

OSC prefers to keep the moral center of his characters/ stories in line with his own moral understanding of society as a whole.

-therefore-

...

OSC's approach is one of the main reasons I continue to not only read, but delight in such a vision of an honorable/ selfless subset of humanity becoming influential and effecting a greater sense of responsibility in those around them and, by association, in myself, the reader, as well.

The fact that Card's characters are an honest reflection of himself make them both believable and likable, and this is a large part of the reason I keep coming back to them. They are, in a sense, a fascinating and honest look into another person. (Not necessarily the author.)

But I can't honestly say that I find any inherent delight in the morality of the characters nor do I in all ways agree with the morality that is put forth. In particular, I have to disagree with the idea that the purpose of life is to get married and have babies, which is an idea that seems to be presented in many of his books. This is probably the biggest disconnect I have when it comes to romance in his books.

I also don't necessarily agree that stepping outside of this narrow view of love/marriage/romance is a selfish thing. There are plenty of ways to handle love and romance that are selfish, but there are also a number of honest and honorable ways to handle it that don't necessarily involve the strict code that I perceive in his books -- sex only within the bonds of marriage and only for procreation.

quote:
Originally posted by insideout:

What happens in the inner workings of relationships in this context doesn't need to be explicitly exposed. An implied understanding of these things is really all that's necessary to keep the story authentic.

I agree with this. Actually, given the picture Card is presenting it would seem odd if his sexual encounters were explicitly described. It would be out of character, where that character is actually the narrative voice.

But I don't think it is wrong to have explicit sex described and in fact, I would prefer to see in certain types of honest, romantic relationships. I find explicit sex a bit disgusting or disturbing when it involves characters that barely know one another, who are being dishonest with one another, or who are promiscuous. In the honest, romantic relationship where the sexual encounter is the climax (no pun intended) of the romantic plot/subplot, however; I have sometimes felt shut out at just the moment when I wanted to truly be a part of the character's delight in and enjoyment of one another. As I said, Card doesn't need to do this. It would be out of character. My best example of an author who has inappropriately shut me out is Mercedes Lackey, who has far more liberal views of sex and sexuality but who, for some reason, skips the emotional/physical climax.

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kassyopeia
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
My best example of an author who has inappropriately shut me out is Mercedes Lackey, who has far more liberal views of sex and sexuality but who, for some reason, skips the emotional/physical climax.

There is always the possibility that a given writer is simply no good at writing erotica, is aware of this, and chooses to not embarass themselves/spare the audience. IIRC someone suggested that this might apply to Card, early in this thread.
An example of an author who has this lack (naturally, this is a matter of taste to an extent) but isn't aware of it is Heinlein. I usually love his style, but when I see a sex scene approaching I'm almost tempted to skip it because it's more likely than not to make me cringe...

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PSI Teleport
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Hey. Sex was different back then.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by kassyopeia:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
My best example of an author who has inappropriately shut me out is Mercedes Lackey, who has far more liberal views of sex and sexuality but who, for some reason, skips the emotional/physical climax.

There is always the possibility that a given writer is simply no good at writing erotica, is aware of this, and chooses to not embarass themselves/spare the audience. IIRC someone suggested that this might apply to Card, early in this thread.
An example of an author who has this lack (naturally, this is a matter of taste to an extent) but isn't aware of it is Heinlein. I usually love his style, but when I see a sex scene approaching I'm almost tempted to skip it because it's more likely than not to make me cringe...

Heinlein's problem isn't that he can't write erotica. The success of erotic writing is all in the setup and Mercedes Lackey has the setup all there -- she's just missing the execution. Heinlein just doesn't have a normal person's view of sex or seem to understand the emotions involved. Some of his characters barely come off as believably human due to the utter lack of emotional depth where romance is involved. I enjoy reading his work for other reasons, but the sex in his books is something I find...interesting (in an old Chinese curse sort of way).
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You think you can have romance without passion? How are you distinguishing it from friendship at that point?

The direction in which it may be heading. A courtship certainly can be romantic before it becomes passionate.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You think you can have romance without passion? How are you distinguishing it from friendship at that point?

The direction in which it may be heading. A courtship certainly can be romantic before it becomes passionate.
Speak for yourself... [Wink]
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You think you can have romance without passion? How are you distinguishing it from friendship at that point?

The direction in which it may be heading. A courtship certainly can be romantic before it becomes passionate.
We must not be defining our terms the same way because the way I see passion and the way I see romance, this makes no sense. I would agree that friendship can turn romantic. My husband and I were friends before he started courting me, but had there been no inkling of sexual desire there¸no strong feelings toward him, then I fail to see how his courtship would have been romantic in any way. Instead, it would have been...embarrassing.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
A courtship certainly can be romantic before it becomes passionate.
I don't see how. Saying, "I am not physically attracted to you but intend for this to end in marriage, so I am now courting you" doesn't work with my definition of "romantic."
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kassyopeia
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Heinlein's problem isn't that he can't write erotica. The success of erotic writing is all in the setup

Gotta disagree there. Heinlein does manage to produce romantic couplings (as in combinations) that I find believable and even touching on - maybe rare - occasions, but even then the coupling (in the other sense now) scene usually goes horribly awry. It's just not part of his skillset.
quote:
the sex in his books is something I find...interesting (in an old Chinese curse sort of way)
[ROFL]
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kassyopeia
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
Hey. Sex was different back then.

Kidding aside, that may be a factor, but I don't think it's a major one. Frank Herbert's (similar creative period and genre) erotic material is top-notch, as far as I'm concerned.
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rivka
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I would say that physical attraction is only one component of passion. Necessary but not sufficient, as Porter likes to say. [Wink]
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DDDaysh
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I think it is obvious that the problem here essentially lies with what people expect from "sex and romance". Maybe that is why some people seem to feel OSC does not describe it at all, and others seem to feel his books are rather full of it.

I'm personally in the second camp. Then again, I am also one of those people who believes, sincerely, that sex is PRIMARILY for reproduction (and fun), and find reproduction itself incredibly sexy.

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TomDavidson
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Seriously? You find reproduction itself "sexy?"

*shudder* Dude, I've seen the moment of birth. Nothing's better for putting someone off sex for months, if you ask me.

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
Dude, I've seen the moment of birth. Nothing's better for putting someone off sex for months, if you ask me.
Yes, seeing it must be horrible.
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TomDavidson
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I'm not even going to imagine how arousing actually participating in it must be.
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rivka
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Arousing is the wrong word. But it is unquestionably sensual.
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mr_porteiro_head
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http://www.orgasmicbirth.com/
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Christine
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Um...I'd say it's an emotional experience, especially at the moment you feel the baby come into the world. There's a release that happens (and I even felt it with an epidural both times), but at that moment every emotion in my body was motherly. My husband was right there, but it had nothing to do with him. He could have been on the moon (although I appreciated the support).

It was the furthest thing in the world from sexy and as a matter of fact, a few minutes later I became quite aware of how disgusting and sticky I was.

There's a reason I didn't videotape the birth, which seems to be a popular thing to do. I told other mothers that I thought childbirth looked pretty gross and was only beautiful in the poetic sense. I got some real nasty looks over that, but I stand by it. If I had to watch the thing over again from a camera's POV, I don't think I'd feel quite the same. [Smile]

But as far as reproduction being sexy, he could just mean a pregnant woman. My husband thought I was sexy when I was pregnant. Not all men feel that way.

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
There's a reason I didn't videotape the birth, which seems to be a popular thing to do. I told other mothers that I thought childbirth looked pretty gross and was only beautiful in the poetic sense. I got some real nasty looks over that, but I stand by it. If I had to watch the thing over again from a camera's POV, I don't think I'd feel quite the same. [Smile]
Nurse: Maureen, do you want us to put a mirror up so you can see?

Me: Good God, what's wrong with you? Put that thing away! AWAY!

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rivka
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Me three.
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Steve_G
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The article by OSC linked on that other thread has relevance in this one. This is a passage near the bottom from a synopsis of the question/answer portion of the speech. The link to the full transcript of the speech is here: http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-talk.html (the bolded text is mine to make the format a little more clear.)

Q: Aren't there ways for a writer to sidestep the depiction of evil, and merely leave it up to the reader's imagination, instead of depicting it?

OSC: That depends upon the conventions of the audience. The writer must communicate. Eighty years ago, the audience knew perfectly well what the writer was leaving out when he said, "And upon what happens next we must draw the curtain." But today, the audience would reject such direct elision; and because they have become accustomed to graphic depictions of practically everything, they have a tendency to be unaware of subtlety-if it isn't shown, it didn't happen, so far as the reader is concerned.

This does not mean that a writer has to pander to the ignorance of his audience. It does mean, however, that a writer may have to depict more in order to communicate with most of his audience than some of his audience might think is necessary. In such matters a writer must be governed by his own sense of proportion and decorum. I have never written a scene in which I believed either sex or violence was provocative, though I have written scenes in which sex and violence take place. I have never included sex or violence at all unless they were strictly necessary in order to understand the character's subsequent actions. For instance, in Saints Dinah Kirkham is nearly raped in what I hope is a rather terrifying scene; in the first draft, I did not include that scene, but merely referred to it. However, readers of that draft made it very clear that because they had not actually experienced some of the terror of that scene, they were unable to understand Dinah's later actions in response to it. So I added the scene, still being very careful to make the scene frightening rather than arousing.

Of course, some readers will respond in the wrong way-it can't be helped. But I know my own intent, and I know that it works just the way I want it to with several intelligent readers. Beyond that, I can't be responsible for the individual responses of the readers, since I have no control over the frame of mind in which they approach the work. Certainly I don't advocate that writers of fiction depict evil willy-nilly; but then, a sense of proportion is required to write fiction at all, and the writer's handling of evil will be only one demonstration of the particular faculty.

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Fractal Fraggle
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
Nurse: Maureen, do you want us to put a mirror up so you can see?

Me: Good God, what's wrong with you? Put that thing away! AWAY!

[ROFL]

I had nearly the same conversation with a nurse when my son was born.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve_G:

OSC: That depends upon the conventions of the audience. The writer must communicate. Eighty years ago, the audience knew perfectly well what the writer was leaving out when he said, "And upon what happens next we must draw the curtain." But today, the audience would reject such direct elision; and because they have become accustomed to graphic depictions of practically everything, they have a tendency to be unaware of subtlety-if it isn't shown, it didn't happen, so far as the reader is concerned.
[/i]

This is an interesting way of putting it and I agree to a point. Modern story telling emphasizes showing rather than telling (though Card's own style skirts that line pretty closely at times) and in its competition with cinema, it also emphasizes a personal relationship with one or more characters. The thing is that once you take us to that level, once you create that frankly intimate connection with a character, "drawing the curtain" on certain acts seems odd and disconnected. It's not that it didn't happen and it's not that I can't imagine it.

But it does highlight part of when I feel that explicit sex is inappropriate -- when I don't have a strong link with a character. And of course, as feeling a link with a character is highly subjective, it is certain that there will always be disagreement, even by that standard. But for example, when a sex scene randomly pops up in an otherwise action-packed D&D-style fantasy book (which i try to avoid anyway), it usually seems wrong.

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kassyopeia
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quote:
The thing is that once you take us to that level, once you create that frankly intimate connection with a character, "drawing the curtain" on certain acts seems odd and disconnected. It's not that it didn't happen and it's not that I can't imagine it.
I quite agree. The reader expects the narrator to apply certain filters to the lives of their characters. By far the most important of these is that things that have relevance to the plot, in the widest sense, should be included, while things that don't should be excluded. Mostly, a character's going to the toilet is quite irrelevant, so nobody will mind if those experiences are not mentioned, all considerations of propriety aside.
However, this cannot be said for romantic encounters, obviously. Those are often among the key elements in character development. There may of course be a number of valid reasons to skip such a scene, but those should become clear later on in the narrative. If that doesn't happen, it leaves me with the impression that the writer is telling me "they had sex, but it didn't matter much". That may not be what they are aiming at, but it's the impression it creates.

In a way, I guess I'd prefer a flowery phrase like "drawing the curtain" to simply letting such a scene fade out, because by breaking the fourth wall and giving us the nudge-nudge-wink-wink, the aforementioned impression is, to an extent, avoided.

As to the other type of scene Card mentions, I really can't follow his reasoning. Most people have never directly experienced real, severe, deliberate violence. All they have to fuel their imaginations are fictional accounts. So, if those accounts in turn want the readers to fill in the details here for themselves, where are those supposed to come from?
To give an example, most adventure stories involving stealth missions of some kind (warrior of tribe A sneaks into tribe B's camp, British commando infiltrates Nazi installation, whatever) have someone cutting someone else's throat. Until quite recently, my only referent for how I should imagine this sort of killing was the way it's portrayed in most movies - a trickle of blood, eyes bulging for a moment, then quick unconsciousness and/or death. I guess I should know enough anatomy to make me realize that this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I never really questioned it anyway.
Then, a few years ago, I watched one of those Al-Qaeda beheading vidoes. Yikes. Not tidy. Not quiet. Not quick. Human body just doesn't die easily. After having nightmares and bitterly regretting that decision for a few weeks, I took at least something worthwhile out of it - a different set of details to fill in fictional scenes of this kind with.

Card sort of makes it sound like the depiction of evil is evil in itself, and, vice versa, the avoidance of such depictions virtuous in itself. That is, of course, nonsense, or a half-truth at best. A realistically violent scene will horrify most people, thus impressing that violence is to be avoided. A scene that pretends violence is not a big deal, like those Hollywood-staple throat-slitting ones, can easily be used to portray violence as an acceptable means to fulfilling some personal quest. Need I say which one of these messages I think is the evil one?!

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Zotto!
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kassyopeia, have you read Card's earlier fiction, say, Treason or Maps in a Mirror? Card was blasted for years for showing too much sex and violence. And he has explicitly denied Plato's old idea that depicting evil is evil in and of itself, so you're not arguing against him...
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kassyopeia
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quote:
Card was blasted for years for showing too much sex and violence. And he has explicitly denied Plato's old idea that depicting evil is evil in and of itself, so you're not arguing against him...
Yes, I find most of Card's descriptions of violence to be rather explicit. The comment above was on the fact that in the interview we were discussing, he seems to be taking the stance that what needs justification is the explicitness of the description, not the inclusion of the violence pre se. That's where he's losing me.
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oscfan
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also the age gap between Bean and petra confuses me. wasn't she like 6 years older than him?

It confused me, too. When they got married, bean was like, what sixteen or younger? (At least that's what it said in Children of the Mind.) If they were a few years older it wouldn't have been a big deal but he was still a teenager while Petra was in her twenties, which is kind of weird despite Bean's intelligence and genetic condition.

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oscfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
Mostly it's all about reproduction, which isn't really all that sexy.

I think that's true. In most of the books I've read, Orson Scott Card depicts sex as being about contributing to the survival of the human race, which is, I have to admit, pretty much the whole point when you think about it scientifically. But he also writes about lust and longing (especially from a man/boy's point of view), and as a teenage girl, that's enough sex for me. [Wink]
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gruevy
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So a question arises from this discussion. All of the graphic stuff people are mentioning, he wrote early in his career. I remember reading Ender's Game about 15 years ago, then voraciously reading everything else he had written. Some of the stuff is pretty shocking, like Wyrms and Hart's Hope, not to mention Songmaster. Saints, even. I was young, but there was quite a lot of screwing, with some scenes I still remember over a decade later. I can't think of anything that he wrote after that Lovelock nonsense (the climax of the book is a masturbating monkey? No wonder he dropped the series) that had the same oomph. Not in terms of violence, cruelty, sex, etc. Am I wrong, or did Card lose his edge somewhere?
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kassyopeia
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It's not unusual for people to grow more conservative as they get older. If, in Card's case, more conservative means taking his religion more seriously, that would certainly explain why his work got tamer.

What bothers me more, personally, is something related which has been observed by many on these boards: He increasingly builds stories around some overt moral message, rather than just tell the most interesting tale he can come up with (and he was and probably still is bloody good at coming up with interesting stuff) and leave the ethical interpretations up to the reader. IMO, irrespective of genre, the best stories are always those that follow the spirit of Twain's dictum:
quote:

PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;
persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished;
persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.


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Christine
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I couldn't read Hart's Hope. I only just tried to read it this summer and it was just so completely not what I had come to expect from Card that I decided to put it down and retain my current opinion of his work.
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gruevy
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Hart's hope was a bit much, but in my opinion, his darkest was definitely Songmaster. Which is not to say that I don't like them. I do.
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DDDaysh
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Hart's Hope was a totally different style than what we're used to seeing from OSC. However, it's not really that much darker than many of his short stories!
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