Archive for February 22nd, 2013

In The Cards

This is taking a long view of the Great Hugo Read. Then again, the whole event is based on a long view. With the last book scheduled for November 2021, talking about 2017 doesn’t feel nearly so far away.

Ender's_game_cover_ISBN_0312932081In 1986 and 1987 a writer pulled off a previously unheard of feat. He won both the Nebula and the Hugo awards in consecutive years. The novels were Ender’s Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead, and the author in question was Orson Scott Card. Due to the Hugo wins, these two books are the October and November, 2017 books for the Great Hugo Read. This will not change. The purpose of the Great Hugo Read is completion. Every Hugo winner, mostly in order. See what people were reading and felt worthy of the high honor.

Of course, Card has a tendency to visit the headlines every few years, largely due to his views on homosexuality and gay marriage. He has, since 2009, been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group built out of supporting California’s Proposition 8 and has a history that I am not going to recount on this blog. The executive summary is that he’s been continually willing to voice opinions that have made him rather unpopular.

He’s reentered the news these last two weeks as DC (the comics, not the city) has brought him on as a writer for two chapters of an upcoming series of Superman graphic novels. The result of this announcement? Boycotts of the comics, petitions to remove his involvement in the franchise, and counter donations planned for marriage equality organizations, similar to those made by some to “offset” their purchases of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. These protests are reverberating in Hollywood, where there is now some concern whether the big budget film adaptation of Ender’s Game can expect some of these same protests.

I do not support Orson Scott Card’s views. I never have, I likely never will.

So I’ll admit no small internal conflict with his two books on the 2017 Great Hugo Read schedule. I’ve read only one Card book in the past, Wyrms, largely out of curiosity.

Readers, film viewers, theater goers, any supporters of the arts, have varying abilities to separate the artist from the art. Some can clearly and simply compartmentalize the two, some cannot. I have some entertainers I can divorce from their opinions, some I can’t. I’m not interested in providing a run down, that’s not the point. The point is, neither of these positions is more right or wrong than the other, and not wishing to support someone financially whom you stringently disagree with politically is any media consumer’s prerogative. But what is one to do when their distaste for a particular creator runs headlong into another goal?May I recommend a solution? A solution that exists not only in shopping centers across the country, but also through online retailers. A solution I, myself, intend to employ when it comes to these two books.Buy them used.Used book sales generate no royalties to the original author. Instead the sale price entirely supports a local business owner within your community. It’s a nice compromise position that readers have available, letting them read a piece of literature without providing any financial benefit to the original author. I wouldn’t typically highlight this particular element of used book stores as a feature, but in this case, perhaps it is.Now, this event isn’t so massive that I think we’ll make any kind of difference by protest buying copies used rather than new. But it does make me feel better, and I hope it makes you feel better too. If even that feels like providing too much support, then feel free to skip those months and join us again in December when we pick up David Brin’s The Uplift War.For now, I’ll look at the distance both The Forever Machine and I Am Legend stand away from the characters and the action, then in March we start in on the first of five Robert Heinlein books scheduled as part of the Read. Thank god there’s no controversy there.

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