10 August, 2012

Review: Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this satisfying temporary conclusion to Ender's part of the Ender Saga, several interesting and unique storylines unfold that I cannot even hint at here without giving away major spoilers. So, instead of writing about what happens, I will only point out that the philosophical implications and utterly strange science fiction themes definitely make this book more than worthy of inclusion in any reading of Ender's Game.

Nevetheless, despite giving this five stars and really and truly fully enjoying the story for what it is, I feel compelled to make another statement about the author. If you are unfamiliar with Orson Scott Card as a person, please stop reading now, as the following may color your appreciation of the book.

More than in any other book of the Ender Saga, Card's homophobia really stands out here. In a way, I'm okay with it; after all, this is fiction, and I can appreciate the story despite the author's prejudice simply by positing that the characters he is writing as heroic are actually severely flawed by their homophobia. There's nothing wrong with flawed characters, and so I can read those characters as having major personality flaws and still thoroughly enjoy the story, giving it a full five stars. Yet I find that it bothers me, as I know that the author did not intend me to read the characters as flawed in that way, but rather to consider their homophobia as a virtue, not a vice.

It is sometimes difficult to separate the author from the work of fiction, as anyone who reads Ayn Rand can easily attest. But I think it is definitely possible here, because Card does a rather good job of arguing against his own viewpoint. I think, in the end, it all works out, since Card writes his characters too perfect in general, and this additional flaw not intended by the author does a lot to make them more believable as human beings. In any case, I still recommend this series quite highly, despite the author being a complete idiot.

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