When I was a teenager, the Young Adult genre did not exist. You had juvenile fiction and you had adult fiction (and a very small section of books about teens that were extremely preachy that I stayed far, far away from). After I turned 12 (which was in the mid 1990’s), I was always looking for adult books that I would find interesting. One of the gems I found was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (which was in the adult section believe it or not). I loved Ender’s Game so much that I immediately got the second book from the library. But the wait for the third book was so long at the library that I spent what little baby sitting money I had on the third book, Xenocide. That book really changed my perspective on what it means to judge people who come from different cultures and backgrounds than you do. For some reason though, I never did read the last book in the series (which was book 4 at the time – he wrote book 5 in 2008). I wonder if it was because I ran out of money, or if the library/book store didn’t have it, or if it just wasn’t out yet. I can’t remember. I loved Xenocide so much that I know I would have finished the series it if I could have.
So I was excited and a little nervous to meet one of my favorite authors from my teen years. He was signing at the Orem Barnes & Noble on April 23, 2014. He had a lot to say and he’s really quite opinionated which I think makes him interesting to listen to.
When asked if he ever did research for his books he said he rarely does because he sets all his books in the future and he violates all the laws of physics anyway. Though he did say it was helpful to know the laws of physics he was breaking in the first place. This line of thought led him to the tangent of learning. In his opinion, if a subject is boring to him it’s because he’s stupid on that subject. Subjects aren’t dull – people are dull. Orson learned Muslim history and it changed his view of Western history. Another tangent on research was that he strongly believes that formal education, especially a graduate degree in English Literature, will kill your desire to write for at least a decade.
Of course someone asked him about the movie. He insisted that he didn’t have an opinion on it but when asked about the boycott, he said that he doesn’t believe boycotts work. If anything he felt it just brought more attention to the movie. Orson said that if you’re actually liberal then you don’t believe in punishing people who think differently than you do. I thought that was really interesting. Later on, Orson came back around to the subject of the Ender’s Game movie and he felt that the people who liked the movie liked the book because they brought their vision of Ender from the book to the movie. He didn’t think Ender ever did anything smart in the movie.
Orson Scott Card spent quite a bit of time talking about Lord of the Rings. He thought it was the best book written in the 20th century and the worst movie ever made. He gave an example of a good screenplay adaption which was Sense & Sensibility by Emma Thomson. He thought that the script was better than the book – if you don’t cry you have way too much testosterone and are part of the alpha male problem. Something I thought was really interesting was his opinion that Sam is actually the main character because he was the servant of all which is part of the Christian mythology in Lord of the Rings. And when he said that Sam gets Mormon heaven for being obedient, I laughed out loud. Sam gets married and has lots of kids which is what Mormons (aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) believe is the purpose in this life and the next.
The line was so long (and disorganized if I may add, thank you so much Barnes & Noble) to get your book signed that we actually went to dinner at Cafe Zupas and came back before he was even done. When it was our turn, I was so excited to tell him about loving his books as a teen and my favorite was Xenocide and how cool it was to read Ender’s Game as a teen and then as an adult and — He interrupted me and politely said that he thought I still looked like a teen. He did a double take from signing my book when I said I was thirty (for reals! I turned thirty like two days ago). Then my friend, Karena, Orson, and I chatted for a little bit about age. He said that he doesn’t mind sharing his age because he’s very proud to have made it to 62 since there’s always a chance that he might not.
I couldn’t go to an Orson Scott Card book signing and not get Ender’s Game signed. I have the ebook for this, but I saw the pretty hardcover edition and decided to get it. This is crazy to me because my goal is to read the most amount of books for the least amount of money and buying a book I already own goes against that idea. Only for one of my favorite authors.
And of course, here is my copy of Xenocide that I’ve had since the mid-90’s. I still can’t believe I got it signed!