The movie adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel Ender’s Game is building controversy due to the anti-homosexual views of the author. Geeks OUT!, a group dedicated to broadening the LGBT voice within ‘geek’ culture, has launched the Skip Ender’s Game movement, demanding that we boycott the movie in order to keep money out of Card’s pocket. And if, dear reader, you’ll allow me to be frank, this to me does not seem like the most worthwhile of protests.
Ender’s Game tells the story of Earth’s future, in which mankind is embroiled in a war with an alien species. Talented children are taken to the Battle School at a young age to be trained in the arts of war through a series of increasingly dangerous games. The novel, and consequently we can assume the film, has no anti-gay agenda. The personal views of the author are not expressed in his contribution to popular culture. The book was published in 1985, based upon a society in an indeterminate future, and therefore has no relevance to current political debate. The author’s own opinions are completely outside the world of the novel.
What exactly is gained by this protest? Authors do not receive royalties based upon the box office success of the film. They receive a set fee when they sell the rights. Irrespective of whether the movie is an utter flop, Card has already made his money. Also, Card is already a comfortably established author and presence in popular culture. Will the actions of this group change his opinions on homosexuality? Probably not. Will there be one less homophobe in the world? Probably not. This protest ultimately gains nothing but perceived moral one-upmanship on Card on the part of the group in question.
This is not the first occasion in which Card’s presence in popular culture has generated controversy. In addition to his science fiction novels, Card has also been a contributor to DC Comics writing stories for the character Superman. However, the revelation that Card was writing for Superman elicited almost exactly the same response as the concept of the film adaptation of Ender’s Game. DC Comics were petitioned to not publish Card’s work due to his personal stance on homosexuality in a similar fashion to the way in which Geeks OUT! are petitioning the general public to not see the film adaptation of his novel. On their website, Geeks OUT! claim to ‘offer and maintain a visible and vivacious queer* presence at geek events, fostering inclusivity and openness within our community.’ How exactly does denying an individual his line of work, in which his personal opinions go unvoiced, promote a culture of inclusivity?
Ultimately, every single writer has their own set of personal opinions. And there is always going to be someone who does not agree with one of those opinions. However, if these opinions go unvoiced in their work, then where is the cause for concern? Do we put a complete stop on popular culture until every contributor shares the precise same ethos on life? Given that the root of all the fuss is the elimination of homophobic opinions in order to move towards a society in which we are all entitled to live life as we choose, this reeks of hypocrisy. As the writer of this article, I could very well have any number of opinions that you, the reader, do not agree with. However, as they are unvoiced, the only thing available for me to be judged by is precisely what you are reading. Why is Ender’s Game not to be treated in the same fashion?
The Geeks Out! website on the Ender’s Game boycott can be found at http://skipendersgame.com/. The film is released in the UK by E1 Entertainment on 25 October. You can watch the trailer below:
*The Edge uses the term ‘queer’ in this article simply as part of a quote from an external website.