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Orson Scott Card Reviews Everything

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the but-mostly-serenity dept.

Sci-Fi 552

H_Fisher writes "Orson Scott Card, author of sci-fi classic Ender's Game and many other novels and stories, has posted his review of the much-discussed Joss Whedon film Serenity (which opened at #2 in the US box office this past weekend). Among other things, Card has this to say about Serenity: 'Those of you who know my work at all know about Ender's Game. I jealously protected the movie rights to Ender's Game so that it would not be filmed until it could be done right ... I'll tell you this right now: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.'" With praise for Full House, Friends, Being John Malkovich, and Lost to boot.

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If you are wondering (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 9 years ago | (#13714264)

like I was. Here is the count of mentions from the body.
Serenity: 7
Ender's Game: 6
So it really is more about Serenity.

well respected author in my book (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714327)

i believe the ender saga to be among the best series i have ever read in the sci fi genre.

enders game is directed to teenagers like myself but the books that follow such as xenocide and children of the mind are definitely not something (most) people my age (14) can comprehend and enjoy. nonetheless they are still my favorite books

Not so well-respected outside sci-fi (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714495)

He may write sci-fi well, but he's a vocal homophobe [] in his non-fiction rants.

Re:well respected author in my book (2, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 9 years ago | (#13714529)

The short story was fun. He should never have tried to expand it though.

For good Card-bashing, I'll point you to: Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat [] . It's a great read.

Re:well respected author in my book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714610)

Wow, you truly are superior to (most) people your age (14).

Re:If you are wondering (1)

Naerymdan (870497) | about 9 years ago | (#13714533)

I should have watched Firefly before Serenity it seems.

It was still good, but i did find the lack of explanation and social understanding a great gap in such a movie.

Still it WAS good.


Dragoonkain (704719) | about 9 years ago | (#13714268)


first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714282)

first post!

Glad he liked it. (2, Funny)

Trespass (225077) | about 9 years ago | (#13714283)

Pity he's batshit insane.

Re:Glad he liked it. (2, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | about 9 years ago | (#13714332)

Pity he's batshit insane.

Exactly what I thought, to the word.

Mormons love spaceships! (-1, Troll)

irritating environme (529534) | about 9 years ago | (#13714356)

After all, that's where their spirits came from...

Uhhh, maybe that's Scientology. nevermind!

Re:Glad he liked it. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714422)

Let moderators not consider you to have anti-Mormon sentiment, Orson Scott Card is truly insane; he has declared positions exactly equivalent to the tenets of fascism in his personal philosophy, particularly he has advocated mass censorship of media by the state for any purpose considered worth while by the state without oversight. Reference: .html [] If in the US this does not allow one to consider his opinions on any matter to be worthless (the same sentiment as declaration that he is bat shit insane), what might? He constantly references Ender's Game that is little more than an apologia for Hitler, see essay by Elaine Radford, at every opportunity for a reason; one which I suspect is related to his devotion of particularly fascistic views himself.

Re:Glad he liked it. (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 9 years ago | (#13714513)

Humm, could this be the surfacing of localroger on Slashdot? I have been looking all over for that eassy, figured it oughta be on the net by now, but (admittedly I have not tried very hard) have had no luck searching for it in its fully body.

Re:Glad he liked it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714584)

Localroger? No. Simply a concerned slashdot reader. That both the submitter and editor publisher of this story respect Card to any degree is a sign of the decay of this site, I only sought to delay that decay as the site may still be useful for a while despite the massive influence of increasingly militaristic Americans jilting everything to just left of Idi Amin.

Re:Glad he liked it. (1, Insightful)

mankey wanker (673345) | about 9 years ago | (#13714468)

Actually, this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Having read the Ender series, I was left somewhat unsettled by it but I didn't give it enough of my focus to figure out why - and then I read this: "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality" by John Kessel []

Given OSC's political views, I think it can pretty safely be said that the guy is basically a fascist sympathesizer or something else equally distasteful.

FWIW, you could check out Wiki on "Ender's Game" here:'s_game []

What's interesting is that there are many parallels between Hitler and Ender, watered down only by the fact that Card carefully constructed the story so as to ameliorate Ender's personal culpability - but when you think about it, the story is so contrived as to make that possibility somewhat implausible even within the context of a rather far out sci-fi story.

reevers (2, Insightful)

solosaint (699000) | about 9 years ago | (#13714286)

i like the movie, with the exception of the reevers... how did these beings operate space ships, propagate, follow a chain of command... ???

Re:reevers (3, Insightful)

wikdwarlock (570969) | about 9 years ago | (#13714338)

Amen! My wife and I both thought that this was the only serious flaw in the whole movie. They mentioned that the Reevers raped women, but do the Reever traits get passed down genetically? Do they let women who they've raped live long enough to give birth? Who raises the baby Reevers? Can infants who are "beyond insanity" survive infancy? Great movie, great story, but also a serious problem w/ the Reever social structure.

Re:reevers (1)

chphilli (885315) | about 9 years ago | (#13714374)

Both of you need to watch the Firefly series. That should fill in your missing information.

Re:reevers (1)

Phs2501 (559902) | about 9 years ago | (#13714427)

They mentioned that the Reevers raped people. I really don't think the gender mattered much.

Re:reevers (2, Informative)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | about 9 years ago | (#13714512)

Zoe's answer when Simon asks abouts the Reavers in the series pilot:
If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing and if we're very very lucky, they'll do it in that order

Re:reevers (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13714470)

The Reavers haven't been around long enough for the first generation to die off. That said, there's an episode of the series that suggests they don't reproduce so much as they recruit. There's more than one way to keep a society's numbers up.

Still not sure how they manage to cooperate well enough to run big ships, though.

Re:reevers (1)

wikdwarlock (570969) | about 9 years ago | (#13714493)

Thanks for the clarification. In a similar vein, why do the Reavers not attack each other?

Re:reevers (2, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13714602)

This was one of the things we were trying to figure out after the movie. I went with a bunch of friends and we were discussing: "How do they recognize each other? Why do they cooperate instead of attack?"

We do know they have at least some code/traditions they follow. In the first episode of the show, Serenity comes across a Reaver ship in deep space, and they take a chance: if they run, the Reavers "will have to follow. It's their way." If they they hold their course, the Reavers might choose to ignore them.

Unfortunately their "way" isn't "we'll leave you alone if you do X" so much as "we'll definitely torture and kill you if you do Y."

I'm okay with having some unanswered questions as long as they don't seem impossible. I can go with the reavers (as presented) getting along just well enough to be able to do more violence to others, but I can't imagine them raising children.

Re:reevers (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 9 years ago | (#13714632)

why do the Reavers not attack each other?

Possibly for the same reason sharks don't, or (as a rule) other top predators don't. Like sharks, they might well turn on their own if they detect weakness, but otherwise it may not be worth the risk. (In one of the TV episodes, Serenity avoided a chance Reaver encounter by just continuing on, ignoring the Reaver ship -- if they'd run it would have triggered a chase. Although as it turned out, the Reaver apparently followed them to their destination.)

Reavers may be crazy, but they aren't completely stupid.

Re:reevers (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 9 years ago | (#13714471)

Who raises the baby Reevers? Can infants who are "beyond insanity" survive infancy? Great movie, great story, but also a serious problem w/ the Reever social structure.

In the movie, they stated the Reavers have only been in existence for 12 years. Not a significant need to propagate in that time span - thus there isn't an immediate need for 'baby reavers'

Re:reevers (4, Informative)

Darth (29071) | about 9 years ago | (#13714497)

A couple of points about this...

If i remember correctly, the reavers have only been around for about 12 years at the time of the movie and there were about 3000 of them at the start. The lack of a propagation path isnt a real problem because they havent had time to die out yet.

The answer to how they propagate is actually explained in the series, though. They sometimes choose victims on their raids and torture them and make them watch their acts and participate in their acts until their minds snap. Then they start teaching them to be reavers. They dont breed. They make more reavers out of selected captives.

Re:reevers (1)

Darth (29071) | about 9 years ago | (#13714518)

correction. i think it's 30000 reavers, not 3000.

Re:reevers (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13714636)

It was 10% of the population in question. IIRC that was 3 million or 30 million, (30M seems like a lot) which would leave 300,000 reavers to start with. (Or 3 million -- which seems like way too many, even if you assume most of them were wandering out on the fringe of the system.)

Re:reevers (1)

danudwary (201586) | about 9 years ago | (#13714617)

That or they expose their victims to that gas, and don't kill the ones that turn (which is supposed to be ~10%). None of it is very clear, and purposely so.

Re:reevers (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 9 years ago | (#13714557)

You and the parent poster didn't pay attention. The event that created the Reavers (and we're getting into spoiler territory here) was less than a generation in the past, so none of that is relevant.

Presumably the Reavers are a self-solving problem in a few more decades -- they'll all have died out. Assuming, that is, that no more get created.

Re:reevers (2, Informative)

L33tminion (908158) | about 9 years ago | (#13714620)

The Reaver traits aren't genetic, so far as anyone knows. Furthermore, the Reavers are probably sterile, what with flying around on starships with no core containment on the reactors. Those raped by the Reavers don't survive. Even people who just witness such an attack (themselves escaping detection) tend to go insane (the usual manifestation of this insanity is for them to start acting like Reavers themselves, so the Reavers may get a few new "recruits this way, but it can't be more than a handful). More relevantly, the Reavers have only existed for 12 years, and there were 30,000 of them, so they haven't died off yet.

As far as operating starships and so on, Reavers are still intelligent. They're just insanely aggesive towards anyone who's not a Reaver.

Re:reevers (2, Insightful)

Morgalyn (605015) | about 9 years ago | (#13714400)

Well, they are still people. Very predatory people. They used to be human. They are basically science fiction versions of, say, semi-intelligent zombies. There are some holes (I think the only holes I noticed in the whole movie, which was refreshing) dealing with the Reavers and between the tv show and the movie, primarily in generation.

I guess some people might view the following as a spoiler, and thus are forewarned.

In Firefly, an individual who was the sole survivor of a Reaver attack starts becoming a Reaver due to being driven crazy / what he has witnessed / etc. In the film, the Reavers are the way they are due to chemically induced brain changes (basically). The time period between the creation of the Reavers and the events in the film is short enough that they haven't had to deal with issues like 'how do they have babies?'.

What I don't understand is why they don't eat each other, but they're not supposed to be entirely logical, you know?

Re:reevers (1)

dbhankins (688931) | about 9 years ago | (#13714648)

Actually, Firefly being a "space western", it would be more accurate to say that the Reavers are the Firefly equivalent of Apaches.

Re:reevers (2, Interesting)

Wazukkithemaster (826055) | about 9 years ago | (#13714506)

Well from how it was explained in the movie I think i cant take a shot at this.

The gas that was released into the atmosphere was supposed to surpress aggressive urges but was too effective. As a result all urges to do anything were suppressed (most likely because our urges to preform basic functions are driven by our darker reptilian/id/whatever part of the mind). Then one tenth of one percent of the population had an opposite reaction... They became hyper aggressive and thus all of those 'dark' (primitive) urges were magnified. Urge to reproduce, fight, indulge, etc. etc. I also suspect that the Reaver mothers would have primitive maternal instincts and would be fiercly protective of their young as most mammals are.

Thats how i see it! Hope it helps.

Re:reevers - an explanation (1)

Local Loop (55555) | about 9 years ago | (#13714534)

Well, I've thought about this entirely too much, and this is what I came up with.

Reavers probably don't reproduce well or take care of their children. Remember it's only been about a decade since their planet was poisoned. I imagine they would die off in 50 years or so.

How do they organize? They don't!

Why don't they eat each other? They probably do... But killing regular humans has got to be easier than killing other reavers which is probably why they bothered to get ships working to go on raids (after killing all the folks made docile on their home planet).

How can these savages operate advanced technology? They were normal people until their planet was poisoned. They still have all those memories and skills.

All in all though, I was VERY disappointed in the movie. I don't think it had the heart of the TV series at all.

Re:reevers (5, Funny)

Supurcell (834022) | about 9 years ago | (#13714546)

You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til you understand who's in ruttin' command here.

At the risk of attracting OTFC flames (1, Funny)

dgrgich (179442) | about 9 years ago | (#13714297)

OTFC = Olsen Twins Fan Club

Card had me at hello but lost me when he threw in the plug for 'Full House'.

Of course, I'm kidding. Great review written by someone who got the movie just like I did.

Re:At the risk of attracting OTFC flames (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 9 years ago | (#13714371)

Of course, I'm kidding.
I would agree, but I'm still not quite sure he WAS kidding. I felt he was genuinely disappointed that there really couldn't be a Full House big screen movie. Yikes!

Re:At the risk of attracting OTFC flames (1)

scotch (102596) | about 9 years ago | (#13714380)

He lost me at his praise for "Friends" and his dig at "Seinfeld". "Full House" cemented it. That last bit may have been tongue in cheek, though. I've read most of Card's work, but I think he lost some of his early talent in his later work.

Now that the movie is out (2, Insightful)

DeadSea (69598) | about 9 years ago | (#13714302)

Can we take down the serenity poll now that the movie has been out for a few days?

Let me ask again. Can we pleeeeeeeaaaaeeeaaaze take the serenity poll down and replace it with something else?

You know... (5, Insightful)

Shads (4567) | about 9 years ago | (#13714304)

As a person I don't have alot of respect for OSC.

However as a writer I have alot of respect for his work and his ability to tell an interesting and complex story. Enders Game and The Tales of Alvin Maker are great stories and series in and of themselves and I think it's nice to see someone who sticks to their guns for a change and won't let their movie be utterly butchered... like ULG's Wizard of Earthsea, that was so sad. :(

That is about the absolute best review I've ever seen for any movie and it's enough to make me go see the movie several days sooner than I had planned... I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie now.

Hopefully OSC can get someone to make Ender's Game the right way, hell I'd even settle for the Tales of Alvin Maker... (speaking of which there is an MMORPG coming out based on that-- same people who did A Tale in the Desert.)

Re:You know... (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 9 years ago | (#13714586)

Hopefully OSC can get someone to make Ender's Game the right way

Like maybe Joss Whedon?

Re:You know... (1)

buraianto (841292) | about 9 years ago | (#13714606)

I agree with you on the Alvin Maker series. Very interesting and fun to read. I think it's a good story, interesting setting and good characters. I just wish the end didn't feel so abrupt. Anyone know if he's going to "finish" it? (Maybe he has -- it's been a few years since I checked. And maybe he considers it "finished".)

Crazy bastard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714309)

Personally, I just pretend that Card died in a car crash mere seconds after finishing the final draft of Ender's Game and he never wrote anything else.

Re:Crazy bastard... (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | about 9 years ago | (#13714339)

C'mon, it's not like Ender's Game was even that good of a book. I mean, it wasn't bad at all, but it certainly wasn't the piece of supreme writing that many people make it out to be.

I liked it, but not the others. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 9 years ago | (#13714419)

Ender's Game was real decent science fiction.

But then he got into FTL.
And an artificially intelligent (and emotional) Internet.
And living images of people only sustained by the thoughts of their creator.
Let's toss in some obsessive compulsive references.
And now we have instantanious travel.

Taken as itself, Ender's Game was a really good book.

Taken as a whole, the series is a good example of bad "Sci-Fi".

Re:I liked it, but not the others. (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | about 9 years ago | (#13714601)

Ender's Game was real decent science fiction.

I don't read much scifi at all, but based on the praise that scifi fans have given the few books that I have read, it's looked down upon as a genre for a reason. You folks should try reading some actual literary works sometime.

Read Maps in a Mirror (4, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | about 9 years ago | (#13714498)

If you want to see some of his best writing (and most
diverse) get his short story anthology Maps in a Mirror.
It's also annotated, so it gives you a great peek into
his mind and how/why he writes certain stories. That
really shows off the brilliance of OSC as a writer.

Also, if you are or want to be a writer yourself (rather
than a typical /. complainer), then you can learn a lot
from OSC. His book on how to write SciFi is the best
on that topic. He also provides a lot of help for
writers on his website.

Really, what makes OSC great is perhaps not any particular
work, but rather his grasp of people, and that great
stories must be about the characters. Otherwise all you
have is a literary carchase and explosions, just special
effects with no meat.

Oh, and if the Full House thing at the end of the review
puzzles you, then you just haven't read enough of his
reviews to understand his sense of humor, or that he
is a devoted parent and thus sometimes cares about things
that may seem quite corny to adults.

I was with him... (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 9 years ago | (#13714315)

...until Full House...WTF?

Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (5, Insightful)

HeroSandwich (920245) | about 9 years ago | (#13714330)

How does a TV show go from being cancelled to being made into a top notch movie without somebody at the Network being fired?

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (1)

ROU Nuisance Value (253171) | about 9 years ago | (#13714399)

Easy one: Because it's Fox Network, where morons like Bill O'Lielly are big stars.

One Word: (1)

BugMaster ChuckyD (18439) | about 9 years ago | (#13714408)


Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (2, Funny)

Kelson (129150) | about 9 years ago | (#13714423)

Not gonna happen. That would require the network to admit it made a mistake.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (1)

fireduck (197000) | about 9 years ago | (#13714526)

that's happened before. See Family Guy as a good example.

Depending on how contracts were written, another network may be able to pick it up. Sci-Fi acquired SG1 at some point from Showtime. Sci-Fi has been hyping the movie by replaying the cancelled series, as well as extensive Serenity commercials throughout. I wouldn't be surprised if they were interested in it to some degree. You stick a reunited Firefly next to Battlestar Galactica on Friday nights and Sci-Fi network has a seriously strong evening lineup. However, a lot of planets have to align to make that happen...

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (2, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#13714461)

nobody watched the show. networks don't care how good a show is. they care that they program something that people want to watch. it's why american idol is still on. People actually get fired for championing shows that are good but no one watches. This is actually the more likely scenario.

Serenity is a movie with a $40 million budget (which means that its advertising budget was probably around $20-25 million) - this means that they spent $60-65 million on a film that earned $10 million its opening weekend.

You guys better buy that DVD.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 9 years ago | (#13714549)

People actually get fired for championing shows that are good but no one watches.

You have a point, but it does seem that someone should be in trouble for obviously botching the promotion and scheduling of a show that has shown potential for a significant fanbase.

this means that they spent $60-65 million on a film that earned $10 million its opening weekend.

Opening at $10 million at the number two spot doesn't seem all that bad to me. Beat out Corpse Bride which I'm sure had a much bigger budget than Serenity. Sure, it's not the blockbuster that we all hoped it would be, but it's not off to a bad start.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (4, Insightful)

timster (32400) | about 9 years ago | (#13714562)

Most of the huge TV shows of the last 30 years have had opening seasons that were not, shall we say, overwhelming. Seinfeld, for instance was not a hit its first year... or its second year.

Firefly had the misfortune of being released at a very odd time for TV, where shows were commonly cancelled after even a few episodes failed to attract mainstream attention. This was during the "reality TV" fad and was a common fate for shows at the time.

Studio execs have now realized that it takes time for a series to develop an audience, and a good show will do well in DVD sales even if the viewing audience is relatively small. As a result we are seeing more interesting and nuanced shows, with much less "reality TV" game shows.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 9 years ago | (#13714629)

It also takes showing the episodes in the correct order. Grrr!

Imagine if they showed Desperate Housewives or Lost in the order they showed Firefly.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714621)

You guys better buy that DVD.

No preblem. They will. To a first approximation, everyone who bought the series DVD will buy the film DVD. And the series DVD has been running at very respectable sales for quite a while now. There's a lot of films that have a far longer and more profitable career on DVD & video than they ever did in the cinema--Shawshank Redemption is the prime example.

The film did fairly well, but not spectacularly in its first few days, but I think it'll be a steady earner on DVD for quite some time: the studio won't make a loss.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714485)

Because the show was cancelled mid-season, after showing the episodes out of order on a Friday night slot.

One would think that Fox felt they had already invested too much before they even started showing Firefly. I am a big time SciFi fan, and I hadn't even heard of it until the DVDs came out, and I was shocked that I missed something like that.

I am kind of glad I did. I am not sure I could have appreciated Firefly out of order, at least, not the way I do now.

Re:Whoa.. so when's it coming back to TV then? (1)

Nidifice (813031) | about 9 years ago | (#13714616)

Had the series been on Sci-Fi, I believe it would still be on the air. FOX didn't give it much exposure in advertisements nor a decent time slot. There is a whole slew of new sci-fi shows coming out right now (1 for every major station: Surface, Invasion, and every other commercial has them in it; plus, they are being run during prime time. I watched an episode of Surface, while somewhat interesting it didn't hold my attention; but, I bet it lasts longer than 1 season just for the exposure it has gotten.

Similar sentiments to Terry Pratchett (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#13714335)

Terry has spoken or written a number of times regarding the lack of Discworld movies. With good reason. He swung through town on his Thud! tour a couple weeks back and mentioned there had been some film in the works (prelimiary stuff) but that's once again on hold.

I read Ender's Game about 10 years ago and thought it was brilliant and very dark. The political side of the story is the real meat and potatoes, but that's usually the first thing that gets cut when making a movie, as producers are more interested in what Ender Wiggin is doing, not why.

It was not a bad movie... (2, Interesting)

foxtrot (14140) | about 9 years ago | (#13714340)

But it wasn't the greatest movie ever, like some folks seem to think.

The camera work, for instance, left a lot on the table. I think Joss Whedon does a pretty good job directing TV, giving it a somewhat cinematic feel, but those same techniques applied to the big screen seem to leave it with a TV feel.

Plus, all the backstory required to cover 12 episodes of a TV show is very tough to do in a movie, and impossible if you want to leave any room at all to tell a story with the rest of the movie. The movie suffers some from this.

It's still easily the best movie I've seen this year, but if the next two happen ($10 million at the box office doesn't make that look likely...) I hope they grab a different director, and fortunately the backstory won't be an issue.


Re:It was not a bad movie... (2, Interesting)

br0ck (237309) | about 9 years ago | (#13714594)

I guess it's a matter of taste, to me it looked much better than some much more expensive movies. Some reviewers, like this one [] , were actually upset that it looked too polished--that it had lost it's TV retro feel. The director gives a lot more background on Jack Green's work in this interview [] and this book [] .

Um.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714346)

Has Slashdot become Has anyone else noticed that 2/3s of Slashdot appears on Digg the day before?

Other than that, OSC is a nut. Is Serenity good? Yeah, it was good. In fact, I think it was great. But someone, please buy OSC a clue! This movie was not so complex that people wouldn't get it, it was rather straight forward. The political satire was clear as a baseball bat rushing to bust your head open. The "deep" parts of the story are there, yes, but let's not pretend they're so brilliantly interwoven into the "action" that it will be missed by those who aren't "in on the deal", so to speak.

I wouldn't take the review all that seriously, but as they say, "some press is better than no press".

Straightforward is relative (1)

brokeninside (34168) | about 9 years ago | (#13714418)

I think you overestimate the comprehension skills of a significant portion of the movie-going public.

Random question (1)

Work Account (900793) | about 9 years ago | (#13714373)

I think I may know the answer but why do film houses insist on making poor to average movies out of great books?

I'm happy with the books, no need for films, comics, plastic toys, etc.

In my opinion it's selling out, and those of you paying $8 to see these average movies aren't helping matters.

Re:Random question (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 years ago | (#13714598)

Well, you adminted you know that answer - it's those people paying $8 a pop you mention. Millions of them.

Anyway, the reason that you get poor to average movies out of great books is because great books are great due to their complexity. You can't slip that into 110 minutes. I never realized how awful moview were until I started listening to books on tape (long commute...thankfully no longer necessary). Once you've realized that a 20 hour performance simply can't be compressed into a two hour flick, you understand the problem. To sell the movie, it needs to move fast - partially due to attention span, and partially due to typical bladder size. All the really good stuff, the complexity, gets reduced down to make room for the main plot. What's worse is that to make it work usually requires substantial plot changes to make the whole thing hand together in its foreshortened version. Can you imagine what would have happend if Peter Jackson had to live with a 90 minute presentation of LOTR? I hear people moaning and complaining about what was left out of the 10 hours of DVD material.

Still, great stories are great stories, and people want to get their fix in the theater.

On a side note, someone (wife? co-worker? can't remember) related some info on an interview with a hollywood executive concerning the documentary Penguins that has been so popular this summer. He admitted that it was a fantastic film. He also said that, in typical hollywood style, everyone has realized the money that can be made in this type film, but that instead of original, engaging documentaries we should expect to see a raft of penguin movies in the coming years.

Because it makes the authors scads of money (1)

ianscot (591483) | about 9 years ago | (#13714625)

I have an outlaw who wrote a best selling novel maybe ten years ago now.

The movie rights for a book are by far the biggest source of money for any book that can sell them. Authors give up "creative control" and those rights get moved around quite a bit, usually, before anything is made. Meanwhile it's a nice source of income, and as the rights bounce from spot to spot they get sold and re-sold, and the author's intentions drift further from the minds of whoever owns the rights.

I believe my relation's book (and a sequel) have done the Hollywood circle once and are coming around for a second lap. He's made well more than half a million USD on the deal -- I don't ask -- while nothing's happening except for "rumored interest" from people like Eastwood and so on.

"Selling out" maybe, but it does pay the rent.

Respect? nope gone.. (0, Flamebait)

B5_geek (638928) | about 9 years ago | (#13714376)

I have heard many good things about Enders Game. It is actually on my short-stack of books to read. Then /. killed any respect that i might have ever had for this guy, and well now his book looks like it might goto the bottom of the pile.

"...With praise for Full House, Friends...."

All respect..



Re:Respect? nope gone.. (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 9 years ago | (#13714448)

To each his own, remeber that despite his sci-fi/fantasy leanings at heart Card is a very religious Family man. His opinions on many things are based on that...

Re:Respect? nope gone.. (1)

Marillion (33728) | about 9 years ago | (#13714496)

I read the book years ago. I read it before I ever read Slashdot - and 33728 is a fairly low Slashdot ID. It is an amazing book. Regardless of what you think about his politics, lifestyle or whatever, you should read the book.

Re:Respect? nope gone.. (1)

Dasein (6110) | about 9 years ago | (#13714642)

Wow, I was thinking that you were nuts for thinking 33728 was a fairly low slashdot id. Then I looked around. Within a few posts, I found id's over 900,000. I hadn't been paying attention, I guess.

Re:Respect? nope gone.. (2, Insightful)

jorenko (238937) | about 9 years ago | (#13714499)

Yes, Card is a nut, and a lot of his personal values don't mesh well with those of the majority of the geek community.

However, a good portion of his work is exceptional. Ender's Game really is a must read, even if the man enjoyed Friends, or thinks the gays will destroy society, or whatever it is he's going on about now.

Re:Respect? nope gone.. (1)

Saggi (462624) | about 9 years ago | (#13714528)

No matter how you feel about the review, I can highly recomend you to put the book back on the top.

Enders game is one of the best sci-fi books ever written. Most sci-fi is based on some fancy piece of tech, and rarely on a good story. This is not the case with Enders Game, here you have a really good story, that actually puts the sci-fi and tech parts into the background.

Of cause this is my opinion, but I have recomended this book to all my friends. And I do read a lot of sci-fi.

Re:Respect? nope gone.. (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 9 years ago | (#13714558)

Orson Scott Card is a mediocre writer with an ego that is completely out of proportion to his talent.

Like most, the first book of his I read was Ender's Game. It isn't a bad book. But it isn't great, either. Everything in it has been done before, by better writers. Its popularity is due mostly to the "heroic geeky kid beats the adults and saves the world" theme, much like Harry Potter. The other couple books of his I've read seem pretty much the same.

Like I said, it's not really bad. I've got dozens of science fiction books on my shelves churned out by various writers that may not be great literature, but are still a fun afternoon read. Ender's Game should be one of them.

However, in the introduction to Ender's Game, he pretty much claimed to have invented the idea of wargames in the future. This "review" is pretty much just an excuse to talk about how great his book could be if made into a movie. This kind of nonsense leaves me with something of a bad taste in my mouth.

So we wants Ender's Game to by like this. (4, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | about 9 years ago | (#13714387)

Then why doesn't he just get Weaton to direct it. I'm sure among the two of them they can scrape up enough money.

Re:So we wants Ender's Game to by like this. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714519)


Although Wil Wheaton would be an amusing surprise. How 'bout it, CleverNickname?

Interesting story: in the mid-third-season climax of Babylon 5, arguably the high point of the entire series, Joe Straczynski needed to cast an XO to've taken command of the lead rebel cruiser after its captain was killed in action. It was really critical role, intensely pivotal to the way the whole series turned, and JMS wrote the part specifically for a certain actor fo whom he'd long been a fan. He told his casting director, point blank: I want this guy, I wrote the part for him, find out if he's available, do whatever it takes to get him if he's not, no auditions required.

So the casting director did just that, and the actor showed up on set, prepped and in full costume on the day of the shoot. One problem - Joe got the actor's first name wrong. So here was this total unknown to the writer/director/producer cast in what was arguably the series' most pivotal guest role, it was a done deal, everyone's on set, they're ready to start filming, no way to turn back now.

It turns out the actor was marvelous in the role - but it gives a whole new meaning to blind casting.

Somebody help me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714397)

I honestly couldn't tell whether or not the last paragraph in his review was meant sarcastically.

I know OSC is a bit of a, well, Mormon and all, which would lead me to believe he meant it sincerely, but its tone and context within the review are way snarky. So which is it?

Anybody here has seen the movie but NOT the show? (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 9 years ago | (#13714407)

I don't think I've heard more mixed reviews by my friends/acquaintances about this movie: the scifi crowd (who loved the TV show) thinks it's one of the best movies ever, the "other" crowd (gfs, etc.) says it's a total bomb; whom should I believe? My instinct is to go with the "other" crowd and think that this is a really lame movie that appeals only to folks who were totally into the TV show (not one of them, I saw half an episode and thought it was lame) but I'm kinda wondering...

OTOH most people were pretty unanimous in saying that "a history of violence" was quite good, I might check that out soon myself.

Re:Anybody here has seen the movie but NOT the sho (1)

Herr Joebob (716476) | about 9 years ago | (#13714489)

I saw the movie but not the show. The movie is just OK. It feels very TV, meaning you have to already really love these characters to be interested. It just doesn't stand alone as its own movie. Looks like it would have made a decent episode of a regular TV show, though.

Re:Anybody here has seen the movie but NOT the sho (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714577)

I think it's a perfectly great movie, even if you haven't seen the series if you LISTEN. Often the backstory is explained by a single line of dialogue. If you talk during the movie (especially the first 10 minutes or so) or if you're simply waiting for the next action sequence, then you're going to miss things and you're going to be lost.

Whedon doesn't like to beat you over the head with things. Pay attention, employ a few brain cells, and you'll have a blast.

How is "Being John Malkovich" scifi? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714414)

OSC says in that review he didn't like Scifi much until Charlie Kaufman wrote "Being John Malkovich" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", I didn't see ESotSM, but BJM was about a group of people who found a door into a Hollywood actors brain. Was there some scientific explanation of that which I missed? What's even more confusing is in the same article he says the Matrix is some kind of "magic scifi".

Re:How is "Being John Malkovich" scifi? (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 9 years ago | (#13714649)

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" fulfills much more of the science requirement in Science Fiction. You are correct, "Being John Malkovich" is much more a fantasy than a sci-fi.

His overall point is well taken though, Kaufman is an amazing writer. If you haven't seen "Eternal Sunshine", watch it. His other major motion picture "Adaptation" is also excellent, although not sci-fi at all.

Card's Review was dead-On (2, Insightful)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 9 years ago | (#13714417)

I have long respected him as a writer and as a reviewer, my taste and his seem to line up alot, I guess thats why I like his books. Not my choice of religion, but then nobody's is...

I loved Serenity, it was a great movie, its about the story, take it for what its the story and what the story is saying. Is it high cinema, NO it not goona win any awards for its camera work. Thats what card is saying too, its about the story and the characters in the story. I also agress if Ender's game can't be made at least this good, then its not worth making.

I am sure that one of the many K5 cross overs will undoubtedly meantion the "Card is an Asshat" Story overthere...Personally I like the guy who wrote it for is fiction, but take is review of Card with a pound of Salt if you like over there and read it....

Author of Ender's Game. (0, Troll)

cornface (900179) | about 9 years ago | (#13714456)

Yes, the author of sci-fi classic Ender's Game, and the painfully boring, never ending flood of terrible preachy sequels that made me wish I had coated my copy of Ender's Game with lighter fluid, lit my eyeballs and genitals on fire, and used my flaming agony-ridden body to destroy the source of my pain -- the god forsaken book and the slow tedious hours of boredom that it put me through.

You suck, Card! You are the George Lucas of books.

Re:Author of Ender's Game. (1)

mankey wanker (673345) | about 9 years ago | (#13714520)

Take it easy, Cornface!

That other stuff's cool, but lighting your genitals on fire is likely to be fairly nasty. Just use a blowtorch, it's probably quicker.

Intriguing. (2, Interesting)

Leigh13 (96452) | about 9 years ago | (#13714462)

Guess I'm going to have to see this now.

I never saw Firefly, but Ender's Game is one of my all-time favorite books. The trailers for Serenity haven't done much to get me interested in seeing it, nor has the marketing blitz they've tried to shove down my Tivo. Either the marketroids who put together the trailers are totally incompetent (quite likely), or else I might just end up disagreeing with OSC on this one (also likely.)

Either way, now I'm interested enough to find out more.

Re:Intriguing. (1)

topham (32406) | about 9 years ago | (#13714618)

While I think the movie can stand on it's own there is very little in way of character development in the movie. The expectation really is that you already know the personalities of the characters.

So, do yourself a favour and watch the DVD set first.
2 episodes a day for a week, then see the movie.

I thought the series rather ho-key, but I had my tivo record episodes anyway when 'Space' channel ran them (Canadian channel, sci-fi theme). Thankfully they like to run them in-order, and the complete set, including the 'unaired' episodes.

I thought the movie was very good, as did a friend of mine who watched only a couple episodes of the show.

We hear ya screaming (2, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | about 9 years ago | (#13714473)

From the blurb/article: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.

That's a fairly good outlook. As a fan of a lot of various fiction that I see get butchered in film I cringe everytime something comes around that I truely love only to find that it's either watered down or that the director/writers seem to have lost the original vision of the writing.

Take Lovecraft for example. Being very fond of the old gents work (obviously), I hate the crap that has his name associated with that is rarely more than a slasher film. I can appreciate the humor of Yanza's Re-Animator but the number of people who I encounter who think that somehow HPLs original work is anywhere on the same level of this film makes me fear for the future of Lovecraft's standing in the horror community. The Resurrected (based on the case of charles dexter ward), on the other hand, is a fine adaptation but still the original work is vastly superior. I still think (hope?) the film retains enough of Lovecraft's original vision to spur interested viewers into the works of HPL without being disappointed.

With the adaptation of American McGee's Alice I am fearful of what will happen. I love the game, I love McGee's vision but I really do not see how this is going to translate into a film.

I swear to God I will have a stroke on the day that Niven's Dream Park (or any other Niven work really) gets turned into a film. There is far too much going on there to make it a workable movie.

Strange choice... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13714474)

What? No reviews for Will and Grace or Queer as Folk...?

A reality check (2, Insightful)

sielwolf (246764) | about 9 years ago | (#13714501)

(which opened at #2 in the US box office this past weekend)

Just a warning but it only did $10.1 million of business against no real competition in a Hollywood dead period. So folks better fill the seats and get the word out or this franchise will pull a Hindenburg. The two major Hollywood seasons are Memorial Day to Labor Day (the Summer Blockbuster months) and Thanksgiving to the Oscars (where Academy Award winners and big holiday films are given a big push. Before Jaws this was the only money period in cinema). September just up to Thanksgiving is a dead period: Hollywood release B features, also rans and things that have been rotting on the shelves. Of course this lack of competition has lead to a surprise breakout every few years and if Serenity can get a good word of mouth campaign to keep up interest then it'll stay solvent.

High Praise for Serenity (1)

olddotter (638430) | about 9 years ago | (#13714542)

Sounds like he really likes FireFly and Serenity. And that is high praise from the writter of Ender's Game. I always ask people who hate Sci-Fi to read Ender's Game, and no one who has read it has been disappointed!

Orson Scott Card, personal idol (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 9 years ago | (#13714545)

I have to say this about Card, I don't get bad info from him. While I won't agree with everything he says (he of course is a mormon, and I'm a catholic, he likes Full house, I can't stand that show now ) he does at least apply thought and information to most things, political, entertainment or what ever, where others just ignore it.

He's also one of the few people who's opinion I trust pretty much emphatically, if he says something is "quality" I'm willing to try it out (of course factoring in his critism), most of the time reviewers just make me go "so what?"

Overall a good review by him, definatly makes me interested in a movie (the last three movies I saw? Hitchhiker's guide, Lord of the Ring, and Harry Potter) which is quite a feat in it's own rights.

An experiment (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about 9 years ago | (#13714548)

or a calculated risk. That's what this movie was. Personally, I thought the movie was great and have since watched the Firefly DVD series (equally great, sometimes beter).

But this movie didn't really have any marketing, it was depending mostly on word of mouth from fans for people to see it. The movie was a gift to the diehard fans from Joss, made possible by the movie studio on the hope that open a new type of moviemaking (AKA a new revenue stream). Having is do great in movie theaters would be an acknowledgement that it is accepted by a mainstream audience. Not likely, as much as is saddens me to say that. Too many people just don't like the trailer, or something in it shocks their Sci Fi expectations, or aren't willing to go just because of all the other economic pressures that people face when deciding on where their entertainment dollars will go.

Direct to DVD movies have historically been badly done. This story has a chance to change all that. Perhaps the story can be told in that medium? I'm faily positive the fan base will purchase said DVDs in droves on the release date and it will attract the curious to rent and eventually purchase.

Being John Malkovich SUCKED (0)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 9 years ago | (#13714592)

Okay I liked Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead and Ender's Shadow as much as the next SF geek, and I admit Card is a very gifted writer, but I'm sorry...... Being John Malkovich was not only the most overrated piece of garbage, it's NOT EVEN SCIENCE FICTION in my book.

Card apparently values moral decisions and human emotional drama over everything else. These are factors that go in a good movie, but so are special effects and kick-butt action. But most important is a good, believable, engaging plot. And for SF, some COOLNESS is essential.

As moviegoers go, Card is at one extreme, and the Star Wars prequel worshipping fools are at the other end. They are both nutty, imo.

Am I the only one that thinks Serenity sucked? (0, Troll)

mcguyver (589810) | about 9 years ago | (#13714615)

The captain had cheesy one liners instead of believable dialog. The acting was stale, especially the anti-protagonist. Characters sacrificed substance by catering themselves to geek culture: engineering girl who likes sex, teenage girl who kicks ass with swords. The romance in the movie came at awkward times in fight scenes. Alien costumes were derived from old Star Trek or low budget sci fi films. The Reavers play a major part of the plot yet are hardly described and only mentioned in the beginning and end of the movie. In the absence of Star Wars and Star Trek movies I had hopes for Serenity but the reality is they took a cancelled low budget tv-show and made a two hour episode. To read Orson Scott say he wants Enders Game to live up to Serenety's billing is proof the man is batsh*t crazy.

Ender's Game movie already in the works... (3, Insightful)

Khopesh (112447) | about 9 years ago | (#13714623)

I'll tell you this right now: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.

Ender's Game [] is slated for 2007, directed by Wolfgang Peterson [] and with a screenplay by Michael Dougherty [] . The IMDB report on the movie provides very little information, except that it was certainly in the works before the Serenity movie was publicized.

Dougherty doesn't have any high-quality screenplays under his belt (just X2, which was a fun movie, but not the greatest screenplay, and I would think Card agrees) ... does Card retain enough control to carry through with the above claim?

Full House? (2, Insightful)

CloudsSpaz (824168) | about 9 years ago | (#13714624)

Why do so many people apparently think he's actually being serious in the last paragraph? This is Orscon Scott Card, people. That last statement is fully dipped in his usual dry sarcasm.
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