Orson Scott Card was the first author that I took seriously, that I really approached as an author to read as much of as possible. Sure, I had read Harry Potter, and Redwall, and the Hobbit, but those were scattered experiences over a period of four to five years.
I didn't learn to read series from book to book, cover to cover, until one day when I decided to pull a worn copy of Ender's Game off my family's bookshelf.
I read it. I devoured it. And then I went to the library and began tracking down everything I could get my hands on. Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind came next. Maps in a Mirror and its heartbreaking and stirring tales. The Ender's Shadow series. A Planet Called Treason. Seventh Son and all of its sequels.
I learned that he had writing resources. I still have my cherished copies of How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy and Character and Viewpoint--both of them signed, I'm pretty sure. I found this website. I got onto the Writer's Workshop forums when I was sixteen. And of course I wandered over into this colorful part of the forums shortly thereafter.
So many hours spent perusing these discussion topics. So many lively characters. The text games. The poetry. The interactions and sense of community. I didn't post much, but this place was my first real foray into the internet, and really the only forum that I kept coming back to, again and again.
I was so persuaded by OSC's influence that I attended SVU to try to take classes from him. Unfortunately, those stars never aligned--I was either on my mission, or he was out of commission (I am glad that he recovered from his stroke!). I did manage to attend a workshop or two of his, though. And I've since attended and involved myself with LTUE in Utah. OSC, your legacy is vibrant and ever-evolving.
Seeing this forum close is seeing a large chapter of my life close. But I am glad that, through rain and shine, I still have OSC's influence and resources on hand. I have him to thank for a huge part of my creative outlook. He equipped me with the tools needed to write and to think about writing. I still have his books, and I still have so much more to read, to write, and to learn.
Thank you so much for being what you were in my life.
Posts: 292 | Registered: Jun 2006
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I have been a long time lurker both here and at Nauvoo- when it was still up. Think I only had one or 2 comments on a few posts over the years. But like most, drifted away to other venues. So this shutting down likely doesn't sting me as much as it does many others. But I did think that this might be the best avenue for me to express my thanks.
I just re-read Lost Boys for the umpteenth time. While I have appreciated every book written by our host (Feels presumptuous of me to refer to him as Scott), this one resonates the most with me. As a child of the '80s, a computer programmer, a father of a disabled child, and a Mormon raised in the American South, how could it not?
Thank you for providing this space. Thank you for your engagement and thoughts over the years. Thank you most of all for having told and continuing to tell engaging stories of imperfect people trying their best to do to good and to love.
Posts: 3 | Registered: Oct 2011
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My heart refuses to say goodbye but I guess this is the way it has to be. I’ll always cherish our memories together here in the hatrack community. The only reason I am happy to say goodbye is that I know that life will find a way to bring us back together again. It’s hard to accept that the crossroads of destiny are making us part. I will miss you all mates! Take care.
Posts: 116 | Registered: Jul 2016
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When I saw the email in my inbox (of my much-cherished "pastwatch" hotmail account, no less ), I thought "Oh, an update to Hatrack...wonder what's going on with that."
I am surprised at the strength of the emotions that welled up when I read that this board is closing. While I was always a lurker, and only participated actively in a couple of handfuls of posts, my memories of both the internet & of truly falling in love with reading are tied up in this place. I met Mr. Card in Friendly shopping center at an independent bookstore that I can't even remember the name of now, when I was preparing to leave home for a residential high school - he was doing a signing, and on his advice my mom bought me Ender's Game. He was so kind and interesting...and his book! The next day I went back to that store, and I used my savings to buy every book of his that they had.
I went to every signing I could for years after that (in NC, anyway) - his books never failed to bring me into a universe, and while I loved some more than others (Pastwatch and Stone Tables both especially impacted me), I was grateful for all of them! To find out he was also so gracious with his time, well...I knew I had a favorite author for life. I then found this site...and learned how people could truly form a community even across vast geographic distances. I learned so much about various viewpoints in all kinds of topics from watching everyone interact here, and (I hope) learned to try to remember lots of good people could hold lots of diametrically opposed viewpoints at the same time...and still be good people.
I also enjoyed meeting a few folks from here...while I wasn't lucky enough to form any lifelong friendships like so many of you were, I met several others from here at the back of signing lines where we all waited with our bags full of books that Mr. Card was always so willing to sign. And he & Mrs. Card always took a few minutes to speak to us, too...and to our families. This made it so much easier to recruit my mom & my little brother to being fans, too...
I know the board has changed over time...as active posters dwindled, I began to find other ways to spend my time, too. I got married, and made her family my own, too...but I always carried with me my memories of this place. And even the end is largely good - it is allowing folks to come back to something from years/decades ago that made us all happy, and revisit it. And then we move on, and continue experiencing all of the new joys life hopefully has for us.
To all the members, old and new, thank you for being here, and for teaching me even when you didn't know you were.
And most of all, thank you to the Cards for sharing with us. You are good people, and our lives been much enriched by this place and your works. I will always be looking forward to your next book, article, or whatever else you choose to entertain us with.
Posts: 148 | Registered: Aug 1999
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I feel like I missed out on so much that was to be had here as a community, but I did catch some. I lurked around for a few years before finally deciding to make an account of my own in 2008. Still I found myself visiting much more than ever posting. Even when the posts became far fewer over the years, I still have found myself visiting at least once a month or so, sometimes more. And my life has been a bit brighter through these years thanks to it.
I greatly appreciate that a place such as this has existed, and I’m sad to see it move to the archive phase. Thanks to everyone for your contributions to this forum (what a great word).
Thanks to Orson Scott Card for his many wonderful books, and for what is yet to come.
To quote another author “ For a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day.”
I was one of the first subscribers to OMNI magazine and encountered OSC's writings there starting in early 1979. I loved Ender's Game when it first came out, but it really wasn't until many years later when I had kids that it took on a new meaning for me. My adolescent daughter showed me the book she had "discovered" and was telling me how she really identified with various aspects of it. I had to dig thru shelves of books I had read to find my own copy and she was amazed! I reread it and realized I had not been taking time to read anything other than magazines and online stuff for years. OSC got me back into reading, and not only his stuff (still waiting on Master Alvin and The Queens BTW!), but other SF writers and genres. I've known about hatrack for years (I read the author's notes!) but never joined until I saw this was the last opportunity. I hope OSC and his family read this and know that OSC's writings and sharing of his own experiences has touch our lives along with so many others. While the opportunity to post here may be gone, the posts and the writings will still be around for others who follow breadcrumbs on the Interwebs and dive down rabbitholes to seek out buried treasure. Across time and space, connections will still be made, comfort will still be given, ideas and values shared, and we will all know that we really are not alone, no matter where we are in our individual journeys. Fare thee well.
Posts: 1 | Registered: Aug 2021
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I lived at an intentional community in Missouri from ’96-’04. There were a *lot* of OSC fans there – the communal library had almost all of OSC’s books – good fiction that addressed the relationship of the individual and their community? Yes please!
I lurked for a few years before joining Hatrack in 2001. The range of folks on Hatrack was fascinating. As much as I liked living in my community, I liked reading what folks elsewhere were thinking. And being on Hatrack after 9/11, as folks tried to make sense of it, was helpful.
The early 2000s were hard for me – health problems, my girlfriend in a bad accident, my mom’s sudden death. Hatrack offered a lot of comfort in difficult times. And later it was great to meet jatraqueros on travels. Going to Bob and Dana’s wedding – going to the wedding of folks I only knew from the internet? I loved the surrealism of the idea – back at that time, it was novel to tell people, yeah, I’m going to the wedding of these folks I only know through the internet! But there wasn’t anything surreal to actually being there, just a wonderful gathering of good folks.
I miss the exuberance of those days. I’d be awed at times to see a topic go several pages in a single day. They weren’t always happy topics – feelings got hurt sometimes – but I was impressed by how many folks had good intentions to try to understand each other and learn from each other.
I hope that forums, in some form or another, will become as good against as they were back then. I’ve never joined the toxic mess that is Facebook or Twitter. But I’m so happy to have been on Hatrack back in the day.
Posts: 2911 | Registered: Aug 2001
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I think I found Hatrack around 1999 or so, probably sometime after Ender’s Shadow was published in September. I had been reading OSC books since I was 13 years old, and I officially joined the forums in February 2003, when I was 17. This place was one of my few bits of stability after I graduated High School, left my home in Hawaii to work with my Dad in Alaska, then spent the next few years wandering down through Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii, working odd jobs, occasionally taking college courses, and generally trying to figure out what I was doing with my life.
I was terribly lonely, and because my own life was not well-rooted, it meant a lot to me to be able to return here and find discussions about literature, politics, science, religion, philosophy, art, you name it. As a teenager, I got to listen in on smart grown-ups talking about issues that mattered. I still remember everyone’s names, and all our conversations and debates feel like they happened yesterday.
In fact, this place — the people here — was an integral part of my education. I learned that there could be smart people on every conceivable side of every conceivable issue, and even people I disagreed with could be good, well-intentioned folk of integrity. This place taught me how to reason in an adult way; to this day, I still think in terms of a good discussion here. That is, I approach topics trying to extrapolate the entire spectrum of opinion, seeing people as individuals with their own life stories that inform their beliefs. And on that note, the “Landmark” threads here were especially poignant; incredibly intimate portraits of a wonderful variety of unique people, from whom I learned a great deal.
I met lifelong friends here — Narnia, Annie, aka, tt&t, many others. And others, like Tom and Geoff, feel like old friends even though we’ve barely interacted in decades and they probably don’t even know who I am, haha. And of course, it was wonderful to meet OSC and Kristine at the Crystal City signing tour here in Oregon in 2003 with a bunch of Hatrackers.
Meanwhile, I loved looking through the old threads from before my time, digging up little tidbits and behind-the-scenes comments OSC had posted about this or that novel. The Q&As and writing advice sections were also very educational. I was more of a lurker than a regular poster, really, but I do remember some highlights such as talking with OSC about “consensus reality” around 2005, and having fun seeing him post in a sleep-deprived state while he was traveling in New Zealand, haha. It was so cool to be able to interact with my favorite author; in one thread, I even had the audacity to jokingly address OSC as “dude,” to which he responded that he had never felt so included, which was also a highlight. *grin*
It was always great discussing a new OSC book as they were released; I remember going through a period of depression, and my sweet Mom bought Magic Street for me, unasked, peeking into my room and tossing it next to me on my bed. And in 2007, when I was 21, Kristine contacted me and I was hired to write a sci-fi book review column for Intergalactic Medicine Show; that lasted a full year, and to this day, it is still one of the best, happiest jobs I’ve had.
And even though our esteemed host has made it clear he isn’t much of a hugger in real life, I will always be grateful he was tolerant enough to allow us young ‘uns space for the infamous Hug Thread, wherein schmaltz reigned supreme and we sappy over-emotional teenage geeks had a place to bond long-distance, me being one of the cheesiest curators/offenders.
I have been sad to see the forum slow down over the years, and I had a feeling this was coming. I will miss this place more than I can express, and there’s an aching wistful melancholy in my chest right now, but it also feels like a good time to say goodbye and close this chapter. Onward!
I love you folk; you were part of what made me into me.
Hi everyone. I'm an obnoxious kid who some of you met when I was 15 in 1996, and I'd like to apologize for being an insufferable idiot then, and also when I was 20, and also when I was 25, and possibly in successive years since then.
The cool part is how many of you I've since met either in real life or else in enough other online places to know that you're real-real, and how cool is that? Maybe if I could go back in time I would tell my younger self how I would end up selling KarlEd a bunch of flans and delivering them to his house or how I'd end up on Jeopardy and while I was out in LA to film, Rivka would take me to dinner at a really nice Thai place or how KetchupQueen would leave a bunch of Lithuanian food leftovers at my house.
I'm certainly a lot less sure about the world than I was when I was a young idiot who read some cool books and was like "oh hey, I'm the cool, interesting type of person who likes sci-fi, I should go look up others online and talk to them like they should take my hot takes seriously." But I'm also grateful for all the love and grace I'd find along the way and all the cool, legitimate, real people I've met as a part of it all.
A lot of you know me online in other places now. Some of you I know so well on Facebook now that I forgot what your fake names were here. But if there's anyone who still wants to connect, find me on FB if you're an old fart like me, or follow me on Twitter @AnnekeM or look me up on TikTok where all the real fun happens.
Take care, and someone let me know if they get Jake Lloyd to play Ender.
Posts: 8504 | Registered: Aug 1999
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I am going to miss this place. Though I wasn't really much of an active member during it's heyday, I really enjoyed the breadth of topics that were discussed. And the fact that the online community spilled over into real life, made it all the more precious. Connecting with other people is important and allows a person to grow in ways unforeseen. Thanks to this forum I have grown to be a slightly better version of myself, a journey that I hope to continue in years to come. So, thank you to all of you whose posts have entertained and inspired me. Thanks to Mr. Card for creating and maintaining this beautiful space on the net.
May you find knowledge and the wisdom to apply it in ways that will enhance your life.
Posts: 1100 | Registered: Apr 2008
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Last day. Feeling kind of sad. And if anyone does want to join the reddit or discord communities I linked on the first page, you will receive a very warm welcome. At least from me!
Posts: 428 | Registered: Nov 2006
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Hatrack has been a big - if sporadic - part of my life. I didn't make it here quite soon enough to be one of the truly early members, but I'd like to think that I've seen a sizeable chunk of this forum's history. I chose that word, "forum" deliberately. Before I ever arrived there were other places on other services. An AOL group, I know of, and perhaps others. It may be that some of the splinter groups of the community continue on other media even once forums themselves finally dwindle away. That would be nice to imagine, at any rate.
Like many, I came across Card's stories in my early adolescence. One of my middle school teachers used to start some of her classes with a period of silent reading. No assignments, nothing you would ever be tested or quizzed on, just a quiet period where a bunch of young students could read only for the sheer love of it. It never really crossed my mind back then how rare or precious that attitude was in a teacher, but it is retroactively appreciated.
More often than not I brought my own book, but for those that didn't she had a small rack of shelves stocked with fiction. As the year went on, the days where I brought my own book grew less and less frequent, because it turned out she had pretty good taste in what she stocked. That year I was introduced to a lot of authors who would go on to become favorites, including Tolkein and Dan Simmons. Most importantly, at least for this post, this is when I first came across Card. Speaker for the Dead, specifically. I had never read Ender's Game, never even heard of it, but the book resonated strongly, in ways that probably don't require explanation for the audience here. It would be another few years before I found my way here. Years where I devoured most everything written by him.
There's been a lot of ink spilled both good and bad about Card, and in interest of this goodbye thread I'll limit myself to speaking about what Card's work and this forum meant to me. There are few books, even when read young, that can truly impact a worldview. Speaker for the Dead is one of these. Its message of understanding the other had a powerful impact, and despite everything else that power has remained all these years later.
Coming to Hatrack, being able to meet a group of people who had that curious mix of similarity in mindset and difference in life experience that made for a rich and vibrant place to be. There have been other forums and communities I've been part of before and since, but this was the first place online that ever felt like a "home".
I wasn't always the most outgoing here (though I did manage over 2000 posts somehow), but that doesn't didn't in any way stop me from enjoying my time spent here. Even if I rarely talked about it here, Hatrack has been around for some of the best and worst parts of my life so far, and I've always been glad for that.
Above all else, I'm happy and grateful that I had a chance to be part of this wonderful community while it lasted.
Goodbye, and my fondest wishes to everyone.
Posts: 2437 | Registered: Apr 2005
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I've had a life long love affair with all of Mr. Card's works and own all his books. I first read Ender's Game while I was in 5th grade and it had a profound impact on my life.
I've lurked here more than anything (I didn't even register for the first 4-5 years) but Hatrack will always have a special place in my heart - especially the gift exchange. I want the Cards to know how grateful I am for providing this forum.
Posts: 175 | Registered: Jan 2005
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Hey, everybody. I confess that I'm afraid that this post won't be what this forum deserves. That I'm not up to the task of giving it a proper send-off. I'm not, that's the truth. And now that I can accept that, here's my farewell to all of you.
I'm not a man of few words. Often it feels like I'm desperately grasping at every word in the English language in a sometimes desperate attempt to be understood by those I'm speaking to.
I have ADHD, and sometimes I think I'm deeply attracted to the feeling of thoughts becoming words because I think, I speak, that makes me think. It's like perpetual motion. And talking about one thing usually pings my thoughts about something related, and I want to share that thought as well, and on and on it goes. Even this post is like that, and I'm trying very hard to guard against going on and on. Talking about myself is particularly deadly because on some level I always feel like if people only understood me more, I wouldn't be so awkward and annoying. I mean, after all, I like me a lot; and I'm an excellent judge of character. And there's nothing I know about more than me.
I'm rambling about me. So I'm going to try to full stop.
Papa_Moose was overwhelmed. I could see it. There were many posts expressing dismay, anger, frustration, concern over the community going to him, so I reached out and asked if he needed help, and volunteered to assist if need be. I can't remember if he responded initially but not very long after that he sent message saying Kristine Card would like to speak to me, as he'd be stepping down as moderator, and had recommended me as a replacement. I still smile at how excited I was that day.
And that's how I became moderator over 11 years ago.
Before even that day, this place had been slowly dying and continued to ever since. It's hard to describe what it feels like to attain something that feels like a crazy awesome dream come true. Then watch what felt like a country, become a city then a town, then a neighborhood, then a block of houses, and now a ghost-town.
But maybe a ghost-town is such an apt comparison. Something drew all those people to that location in the first place, usually proximity to commerce, natural resources, strategic value. So they built a town to live in since they'd found it.
In this case I'd like to think Hatrack drew people who wanted many of the same things, and found them here. We became a community. And we stayed until we couldn't get them here anymore, or because we found other things more compelling somewhere else. The idea that Hatrack by itself could perpetually remain a growing community as forum indexes like Reddit and Social Media platforms sprung up and drew people in ways no forum could ever replicate in retrospect seems naive.
From its early years, people have remarked that Hatrack as a community has undergone quite a few changes. I joined in 2005, which is considerably late for many people. I remember being in absolute awe at some of the massive post-counts already accumulated. By the time I joined, some of *those* natives had decided Hatrack was too different from what they'd wanted when they first joined.
Learning that relationships endings is OK, and that people move on and away from you is something I've always struggled with. In a way it's tender mercy that when people left Hatrack you'd rarely know it, other than they stopped posting. If it was standard practice for people to make a big deal about leaving and why they'd never be back, I'm sure it would have been my personal hell.
What a blessing this place was for me. I had no idea on that typical day at college, in the upstairs computer lab that my life was going to change forever. I know that's a cliche phrase, but it's absolutely true. I could never recount everything connected to this place that exerted an impact on me small or even huge.
That's part of what makes me sad to see it end. I wish everybody could have what I had here for a time. Hatrack was so many amazing things at once. But it was also treacherous. Many good people, had their hearts broken by the behavior of others in the community. The hosts were responsible for some of that hurt. I too bear some of the blame and responsibility. I'm so sorry for those who came here with good hearts, seeking something good, and instead found contention, fear, pain, anger, and enmity. To the extent I failed in my responsibility to prevent those outcomes, I feel regret, and will do better where I can; but not here obviously, not all wrongs can be righted. I hope you all find a way forward from this.
So what now? Well, that's up to you, my friend. One day this will all be gone, but the words we all said (some mundane, some incredible) still live.
I hope that something you take away from this post is that this place was amazing, because ordinary people made it that way. The power yet exists in all of us to build new communities around us. Some of us have already been doing so long after leaving Hatrack. Make Hatrack wherever you go.
I want to express my profound gratitude that this place existed, and I was fortunate enough to find it. My expression of that gratitude will be in trying to be the sort of person I found here, and who made it so beautiful for the rest of my life. Much of that transformation in me can be found by searching my posting history (Particularly as BlackBlade).
I'm sad to see this place go. But I also know that just as I had no idea such an incredible place existed out in the world - until I did, trust that there are yet even better places out there in the world, being built up, thriving, just getting started, and they're waiting for you to discover them. And with Hatrack being gone, there's space for you to fill it with something better, and you should! I want that for you.
Hopefully all this me going on and on communicates how much I care about you, the reader. I cared, and still do, about all of you who were a part of this place.
It is one of the greatest honors of my life to have been entrusted by the Cards with moderating this community. They will never fully comprehend what this place has meant to all of us. But you all know for yourselves. I can never repay them the kindness they've shown me over the years.
To us all, I hope our remaining days are well-filled. With what? Whatever would make us most happy is as unique as each of us. But I wouldn't have you get anything else.
Now, *looking around*.
I'd say - we did it! From start to finish, our forum is complete. The posts are written, all of them.
I like to think somewhere billions of years ago some microorganism devoured another microorganism and irreversibly set the path to Hatrack in motion. And now at the close, I wish I knew all the incredible things this place has set into motion.
I also wanted to thank all of those who took the time to share themselves in this thread. It was so kind of you to respond to my requests. I haven't given myself permission to read all of them yet, but I promise you I will.
Best of fortunes to all of us. My heart is full right now. What a gift it is here at the end of it all, to one last time feel a deep affection, and love for all of you as I write this.
I'll keep my memory of you all, and this place safe for as long as I can. I promise.