A decade ago, I'd have been waiting on pins and needles for the debut of the Ender's Game movie.
Quality? Actors? 3-D? None of that would have factored into my decision; I'd have been there on opening day if it was done with Popsicle stick puppets.
Now I'm not so sure I'll see it at all.
Ender's Game, the book, has been huge in science fiction fandom since its publication as a novel in 1985. It won both the Hugo Award (voted on by SF fans) and the Nebula (chosen by science fiction and fantasy writers). It's sequel, Speaker for the Dead, repeated that rare feat, and both books were loved by fans and critics alike.
Then Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card decided he'd like to start telling everyone what he thought about gay marriage, gay rights, and gay people in general.
Starting around 2008, he started writing op-eds and essays that were filled with angry rants.
Governments could not redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, he said.
"But homosexual 'marriage' is an act of intolerance," Card has written. "It is an attempt to eliminate any special preference for marriage in society - to erase the protected status of marriage in the constant balancing act between civilization and individual reproduction."
He's also thrown out the usual homophobic nonsense - all while claiming he has gay friends, of course, and that he's not at all bigoted - that homosexuality is a choice, that kids are pressured into being gay, or that being the victim of a pedophile causes homosexuality. In his writings, he constantly imagines scenarios in which kids are forcibly indoctrinated into believing that homosexuality is okay - as if they were incapable of taking in information and making up their own minds, as my generation and others before and after it have.
As with many Americans, he failed to notice Canada had legalized gay marriage years earlier and hasn't yet collapsed.
In 2009, Card joined the National Organization for Marriage and sat on the board until just a few months ago. That took things beyond voicing an opinion, however much I disagreed with it. The NOM lobbied actively against gay marriage, and against civil unions and adoption of children by gay couples. There are portions of science fiction fandom that agree with Card, of course. It's a big community. But a lot of us vehemently oppose what he stands for and what he's lobbied for.
So what are we to do? The debate has been raging, with at least one formal attempt to organize a boycott of the movie, and a lot of folks online are flat out saying they won't see it, no matter what.
There has even been an argument that Card has already been paid and won't benefit from our tickets. The producers and studio have been scrambling to distance themselves from Card.
Some folks are saying, on message boards and comment threads across SF fandom, that they can separate a creator and his work. I can't. I haven't seen The Pianist, directed by Roman "Child Rapist" Polanski, and I won't until he grovellingly apologizes to his victim and drags himself back to the U.S. and throws himself on the mercy of the justice system.
I've got serious reservations about seeing anything involving Mel Gibson, given his racist rants.
Whether I see Ender's Game or not, Card has left me feeling hollow. My battered paperbacks of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead were once old friends that I returned to time and again.
Now, I let them sit on my bookshelf, afraid to let what I know about the author poison the works I once loved. Matthew Claxton is a reporter for the Langley Advance