Orson Scott Card (born August 24, 1951) is an American novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist, and columnist. He writes in several genres but is known best for science fiction. His novel Ender's Game (1985) and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (1986) both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win both science fiction's top U.S. prizes in consecutive years. A feature film adaptation of Ender's Game, which Card co-produced, was released in 2013.
Card is a professor of English at Southern Virginia University, has written two books on creative writing, hosts writing bootcamps and workshops, and serves as a judge in the Writers of the Future contest. A great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, Card is a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). In addition to producing a large body of fiction works, he has also offered political, religious, and social commentary in his columns and other writing.
Orson Scott Card
Card at Life, the Universe, & Everything in 2008
|Born||August 24, 1951|
Richland, Washington, U.S.
|Occupation||Author, critic, playwright / script writer, poet, public speaker, essayist, Professor of Writing and Literature|
|Residence||Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University (B.A.)|
University of Utah (M.A.)
University of Notre Dame (1980s graduate student)
|Notable works||Ender's Game series,|
The Tales of Alvin Maker
|Spouse||Kristine Allen Card|
|Children||5 (2 deceased)|
Card is the son of Willard Richards Card and Peggy Jane (née Park), the third of six children and the older brother of composer and arranger Arlen Card. Card was born in Richland, Washington, and grew up in Santa Clara, California as well as Mesa, Arizona and Orem, Utah. He served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Brazil and graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah; he also spent a year in a Ph.D. program at the University of Notre Dame.
For part of the 1970s Card worked as an associate editor of the Ensign, an official magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Influences on his fiction include Heinlein, Austen, Mitchell, Asimov, Richter, and Bradbury.
Card began his writing career primarily as a poet, studying with Clinton F. Larson at BYU. During his studies as a theater major, he began "doctoring" scripts, adapting fiction for readers theater production, and finally writing his own one-act and full-length plays, several of which were produced by faculty directors at BYU. He also explored fiction writing, beginning with stories that eventually evolved into The Worthing Saga.
After returning to Provo, Utah from his Church of Jesus Christ mission in Brazil, Card started the Utah Valley Repertory Theatre Company, which for two summers produced plays at "the Castle", a Depression-era outdoor amphitheater behind the state psychiatric hospital in Provo; his company's were the first plays ever produced at the Castle. Meanwhile, he took part-time employment as a proofreader at BYU Press, then made the jump to full-time employment as a copy editor. In 1976, in the midst of a paid role performing in the church's musical celebrating America's Bicentennial, he secured employment as an assistant editor at the Ensign, and moved to Salt Lake City. It was while working at Ensign that Card published his first piece of fiction. His short story "Gert Fram" appeared in the July 1977 fine arts issue of that magazine under the pseudonym Byron Walley.
He wrote the short story "Ender's Game" while working at the BYU press, and submitted it to several publications. The idea for the later novel of the same title came from the short story about a school where boys can fight in space. It was eventually purchased by Ben Bova at Analog Science Fiction and Fact and published in the August 1977 issue. Meanwhile, he started writing half-hour audioplays on LDS Church history, the New Testament, and other subjects for Living Scriptures in Ogden, Utah; on the basis of that continuing contract, some freelance editing work, and a novel contract for Hot Sleep and A Planet Called Treason, he left Ensign and began supporting his family as a freelancer.
He completed his master's degree in English at the University of Utah in 1981 and began a doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame, but the recession of the early 1980s caused the flow of new book contracts to temporarily dry up. He returned to full-time employment as the book editor for Compute! magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1983. In October of that year, a new contract for the Alvin Maker "trilogy" (now up to six books) allowed him to return to freelancing.
Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead were both awarded the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, making Card the only author (as of 2018) to win both of science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years. Card continued the series with Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, "First Meetings in the Enderverse", Shadow of the Giant, A War of Gifts, and Ender in Exile, a book that takes place after Ender's Game and before Speaker for the Dead. Card has also announced his plan to write Shadows Alive, a book that connects the "Shadow" series and "Speaker" series together. Shadows in Flight serves as a bridge towards this final book. He also co-wrote the formic war novels: Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens and The Swarm as prequels to the Ender novels, with two more novels in the pipeline, which will result in two prequel formic war trilogies. These trilogies relay, among other things, the history of Mazer Rackham. Children of the Fleet is the first novel in a new sequel series, called Fleet School. In 2008 Card announced that Ender's Game would be made into a movie, but that he did not have a director lined up (Wolfgang Petersen had previously been scheduled to direct the movie, but subsequently moved on to other projects). It was to be produced by Chartoff Productions, and Card was writing the screenplay himself. The film was made several years later, and released in 2013, with Asa Butterfield in the title role and Gavin Hood directing.
Other works include the alternative histories The Tales of Alvin Maker, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, The Homecoming Saga, and Hidden Empire, a story about a near-future civil war in the United States, based on the Xbox Live Arcade video game Shadow Complex. He collaborated with Star Wars artist Doug Chiang on Robota and with Kathryn H. Kidd on Lovelock.
In 2017, he co-created a TV series Extinct.
He has branched out into other areas of fiction with novels such as Lost Boys, Treasure Box and Enchantment. Other works include the novelization of the James Cameron film The Abyss, and the comic book Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel Universe series. Outside the world of published fiction, Card contributed dialog to at least three video games: Loom, The Secret of Monkey Island and The Dig in the early 1990s.
In 1983 Card published the novel Saints, a historical fiction based loosely on one of his ancestors and her experiences coming into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the early portion of its movement. It continues through her eyes into subsequent events up until the granting of Statehood to Utah.
In 2000, Card published the first novel in The Women of Genesis series. This series explores the lives of the principal women mentioned in the first book of the Bible and includes Sarah (2000), Rebekah (2002), and Rachel and Leah (2004).
In the fall of 2005, Card launched Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show. He edited the first two issues, but found that the demands of teaching, writing, and directing plays for his local church theater group made it impossible to respond to writers' submissions in a timely manner; former Card student and experienced freelance writer and editor Edmund R. Schubert took over as editor on June 1, 2006.
In 2008, Card's novella Hamlet's Father, a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, was published in the anthology The Ghost Quartet (Tor Books). The work re-interpreted all of the characters' personalities and motivations.
Over the years Orson Scott Card has used at least seven pseudonyms.
He used the names Frederick Bliss and P.Q. Gump when he was asked to write an overview of Mormon playwrights "Mormon Shakespeares: A Study of Contemporary Mormon Theatre" for Spring 1976 issue of Sunstone magazine. According to Card he used these pseudonyms because the article included a brief reference to himself and his play "Stone Tables".
The name Byron Walley was used by Card on his first published piece of fiction "Gert Fram" which appeared in the July 1977 fine arts issue of Ensign magazine. According to Card he used this name because he had a non-fiction article, "Family Art", a poem, "Looking West", and a short play, "The Rag Mission", appearing in the same issue. Card also used the name Byron Walley in stories he published in Friend magazine, New Era magazine and in the anthology Dragons of Darkness. Stories by Byron Walley include: "Gert Fram", Ensign magazine, July 1977; "Bicicleta", Friend magazine, October 1977; "The Best Family Home Evening Ever", Friend magazine, January 1978; "Billy's Box", Friend magazine, February 1978; "I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry", New Era magazine, May 1979; and "Middle Woman", Dragons of Darkness, Ace Books, 1982.
He used the name Brian Green in the July 1977 fine arts issue of Ensign magazine. He used this name for his short play "The Rag Mission" because he had three other pieces appearing in the same issue. The name Dinah Kirkham was used to write the short story "The Best Day", in 1983. The name Noam D. Pellume was used by Card for his short story "Damn Fine Novel" which appeared in the October 1989 issue of The Green Pages.
Card wrote the novel Zanna's Gift (2004) under the pen name Scott Richards, saying, "I was trying to establish a separate identity in the marketplace, but for various reasons the marketing strategy didn't work as we'd hoped."
In 2005, Card accepted a permanent appointment as "distinguished professor" at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, Virginia, a small liberal arts college run according to the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Card has cited his frustration with the dismal teaching methodology for creative writing in most universities as a reason for accepting this position, along with his desire to teach the techniques of effective fiction writing to writers whose values are more congruent with his own. Card has worked closely with colleagues to develop ways to educate aspiring writers and has published two books on the subject. He was eager for the opportunity to apply these techniques in a university environment—his assorted workshops did not allow the follow-through he desired. After being deeply moved by stories of his students' parents in some of their essays, he decided to stop teaching regularly at the university to spend time with his youngest child who still lives at home. Card returned to teaching for the spring semester of 2009.
Card has written two books on the subject of creative writing – Characters and Viewpoint, published in 1988, and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, published in 1990. He was also a co-writer for How to Write a Million (though his contribution is actually a reprint of an earlier work).
Card also offered advice about writing in an interview in Leading Edge #23 in 1991.
Card serves as a judge in Writers of the Future, a science fiction and fantasy story contest for amateur writers. It originated in the early 1980s by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer and the founder of the Church of Scientology, and continues to be funded and organized by Author Services Inc., an entity that manages Hubbard's literary work.
Card won the ALA Margaret Edwards Award in 2008 for his contribution in writing for teens, selected by a panel of YA librarians. "What have I done that made some wonderfully deluded people think that I should get the [award] for lifetime achievement in writing young adult fiction?" he asked in his address, and asserted that "There is no such thing as children's literature." Furthermore:
I have not worked with YA editors; my work has never been marketed that way until Tor put a YA cover and a new ISBN on Ender's Game—fifteen years after the book first came out, and long after it had become popular with young readers. Ender's Game was written with no concessions to young readers. My protagonists were children, but the book was definitely not aimed at kids. I was perfectly aware that the rule of thumb for children's literature is that the protagonist must be a couple of years older than the target audience. You want ten-year-old readers, you have a twelve-year-old hero.
At the beginning of the book, Ender is six. Who, exactly, is the target audience?
Card created a website, Strong Verse that publishes poetry from authors living and dead with the aim of showcasing works that present a clear message in clear language. The following motto appears on the website's header: "Good poetry is meant to be understood, not decoded."
Since 2001, Card's commentary includes the political columns "War Watch", "World Watch", or "Civilization Watch" (depending on Card's topic) and the column "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything", all published at the Greensboro Rhinoceros Times. The last-named column features personal reviews of movies, books, and restaurants in the greater Greensboro area, in addition to a variety of other topics. The column also later appears on his website, Hatrack River. Since 2008 Card has written a column for the Mormon Times.
Card's vocal opposition to same-sex marriage and other views on homosexuality led to a boycott of the film version of Ender's Game – a development which itself received criticism. Owing to political developments, by the early 2010s Card believed the question of U.S. legalization of same-sex marriage moot.
Describing himself as a political liberal and moral conservative, Card's ideals concerning society—as well as foundational themes within his fiction—are described as communitarian. In 2000, Card said, "Most of the program of both the left and the right is so unbelievably stupid it's hard to wish to identify myself with either. But on economic matters, I'm a committed communitarian. I regard the Soviet Union as simply state monopoly capitalism. It was run the way the United States would be if Microsoft owned everything. Real communism has never been tried! I would like to see government controls expanded, laws that allow capitalism to not reward the most rapacious, exploitative behavior. I believe government has a strong role to protect us from capitalism."
In an August 2013 essay, presented as an "experiment" in fiction-writing called "The Game of Unlikely Events", Card described an alternative future in which President Barack Obama ruled as a "Hitler- or Stalin-style dictator" with his own national police force of young unemployed men; Obama and his wife Michelle would have amended the U.S. Constitution to allow presidents to remain in power for life, as in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Hitler's Germany. Card's essay drew extensive criticism, especially for allusions to Obama's race with its reference to "urban gangs".
In a 1990 essay he wrote that "laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced", but to "send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society". In the same essay, Card clarified his position, writing:
The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not shake the confidence of the community in polity's ability to provide rules for safe, dependable marriage and family relationships.
In May 2013 Card further wrote that since the US Supreme Court had ruled those laws unconstitutional in 2003, he has "no interest in criminalizing homosexual acts". Responding to public criticism of the 1990 essay, Card noted:
Oddly enough, even as I am attacked by some as a homophobe, I am attacked by others as being too supportive of homosexuality, simply because I cannot see individual homosexuals, in or out of my books, as anything other than human beings with as complex a combination of good and evil in them as I find within myself. In my own view, I am walking a middle way, which condemns the sin but loves the sinner.
In a 2008 opinion piece in the Deseret News he wrote that "no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman." In 2009 he joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that campaigns against same-sex marriage, but later resigned from the board in mid-2013. Card has stated that there is no need to legalize gay marriage.
Card has also expressed his opinion that paraphilia and homosexuality are linked. In 2004, he claimed that it is a "myth that homosexuals are 'born that way'", noting that "if there is a genetic component to homosexuality, an entire range of environmental influences are also involved." He continued, saying that "the dark secret of homosexual society" was how often people "entered into that world through disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse".
In Card's 2008 novella Hamlet's Father, which re-imagines the backstory of Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Card was accused of directly trying to link the king's pedophilia with homosexuality. The novella prompted public outcry and its publishers were inundated with complaints. Trade journal Publishers Weekly criticized Card's work, stating that the main purpose of it was to attempt to link homosexuality to pedophilia. Card responded to the claim: "...[T]here is no link whatsoever between homosexuality and pedophilia in this book. Hamlet's father, in the book, is a pedophile, period. I don't show him being even slightly attracted to adults of either sex. It is the reviewer, not me, who has asserted this link, which I would not and did not make."
In 2013, Card was selected as a guest author for DC Comics's new Adventures of Superman comic book series, but controversy over Card's views on homosexuality led illustrator Chris Sprouse to leave the project and DC Comics to put Card's story on hold indefinitely. A few months later an LGBT group, Geeks OUT!, proposed a boycott of the movie adaptation of Ender's Game calling Card's view anti-gay, causing the movie studio Lionsgate to publicly distance itself from Card's opinions.
In July 2013, one week after the U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings in two cases that were widely interpreted as favoring recognition of same-sex marriages, Card wrote in Entertainment Weekly that the gay marriage issue is moot due to the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA. He further stated, "now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute".
Card's membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an important facet of his life from early on. He is a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, the second Latter-day Saint prophet, and all of Card's ancestors for at least three generations have been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His ancestors include several other figures notable in the Church, including the Cardston colony founder Charles Ora Card. As such, his faith has been a source of inspiration and influence for both his writing and his personal views. Since 2008 Card has written a column of Latter-day Saint devotional and cultural commentary for the Sunday national edition of the Deseret News (formerly "the Mormon Times"). Card has served as a bishop of his ward and has held various other church callings.
Card and his wife, Kristine, have had five children, each named after one or more authors he and his wife admire. Their children's names are Michael Geoffrey (Geoffrey Chaucer), Emily Janice (Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson), Charles Benjamin (Charles Dickens), Zina Margaret (Margaret Mitchell) and Erin Louisa (Louisa May Alcott). Charles, who had cerebral palsy, died shortly after his 17th birthday and their daughter Erin died the day she was born. Card and his wife live with their youngest child, Zina, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The life of their son, Charles, influenced some of Card's fiction, most notably the Homecoming series, Lost Boys and Folk of the Fringe. Their daughter, Emily, along with two other writers, adapted Card's short stories "Clap Hands and Sing", "Lifeloop" and "A Sepulchre of Songs" for the stage in Posing as People.
In 2008, he appeared in the short film The Delivery, which starred his daughter, Emily. He plays an author reading an audiobook in this film, which won First Place in Fantasy at Dragon*Con Film Festival. He wrote an original story, "The Emperor of the Air", specifically for the short film by Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki.
Card is an avid fan of the science fiction television series Firefly and makes an appearance in the documentary Done the Impossible about Firefly fandom. He has also served on the boards of a number of organizations, including public television station UNC-TV (2013–present) and the National Organization for Marriage (2009–2013).
The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contributions to young adult literature". Card won the annual award in 2008, citing Ender's Game (1985), which inaugurated the science fiction Ender Saga, and Ender's Shadow (1999), the so-called parallel novel featuring another boy in the Battle School. According to the citation, the two boys' "experiences echo those of teens, beginning as children navigating in an adult world and growing into a state of greater awareness of themselves, their communities and the larger universe." In the same year, Card won the Lifetime Achievement Award for Mormon writers (Whitney Awards).
He has also won numerous awards for single works.
"A Sleep and a Forgetting" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It only appears in his short story collection Capitol.A Thousand Deaths (Card short story)
"A Thousand Deaths" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collections Capitol and Maps in a Mirror. Card first published it in the December 1978 issue of Omni magazine.Ainge
Ainge (1981) is an out of print non-fiction book by author Orson Scott Card. It is a biography of star basketball player Danny Ainge. Two thousand copies were printed, distributed only in Provo, Utah, United States.Earthborn
Earthborn (1995) is a science fiction book by American writer Orson Scott Card, the concluding fifth book of the Homecoming Saga. The series is a fictionalization of the first few hundred years recorded in the Book of Mormon.Lifeloop
"Lifeloop" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collections Capitol and The Worthing Saga. Card first published it in the October 1978 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.Listen, Mom and Dad
Listen, Mom and Dad (1977) is a non-fiction book on child-rearing by author Orson Scott Card. This was Card's first published book.Magic Mirror (book)
Magic Mirror (1999) is a children's picture book by Orson Scott Card and illustrator Nathan Pinnock.Maps in a Mirror
Maps in a Mirror (1990) is a collection of short stories by American writer Orson Scott Card. Like Card's novels, most of the stories have a science fiction or fantasy theme. Some of the stories, such as "Ender's Game", "Lost Boys", and "Mikal's Songbird" were later expanded into novels. Each of the smaller volumes that make up the larger collection as a whole are centered on a theme or genre. For instance, Volume 1, The Changed Man, reprints several of Card's horror stories. The collection won the Locus Award in 1991.Mayflower (series)
Mayflower is a projected trilogy begun in 1994 by Orson Scott Card & Kathryn H. Kidd. To date only one book in the trilogy has been published. However the second book is currently listed as a work in progress on Card's website. Kidd died in 2015.Orson Scott Card bibliography
This is a list of the works of Orson Scott Card. This list does not include criticisms, reviews, or related material written by Card. Orson Scott Card is the author of The Ender saga and Homecoming Saga among many other works.Stone Tables
Stone Tables (1997) is a historical novel by Orson Scott Card.The Stars That Blink
"The Stars That Blink" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It only appears in his short story collection Capitol.The Tinker
"The Tinker" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collection The Worthing Saga. Card first published "The Tinker" in the Vol. 1, No. 2 (1980) issue of Eternity SF magazine.The Wives of Israel
The Wives of Israel will be the fourth novel in the Women of Genesis series by Orson Scott Card. It has yet to be released.The Worthing Saga
The Worthing Saga (1990) is a science fiction book by American writer Orson Scott Card, set in the Worthing series. It is made up of the novel The Worthing Chronicle (1982) and nine related stories. Six of the stories are from Card’s short story collection Capitol (1979) and the other three are early works, two of them previously unpublished.The Worthing series
The Worthing series is the series of books by Orson Scott Card. It consists of two anthologies and two novels. The first three books in this series are currently out of print.Visitors (Card novel)
Visitors is a science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card, who is best known for his novels, Ender's Game (1985) and Speaker for the Dead (1986). This novel continues the story of Rigg and his evolving ability to see and travel to the past, in an attempt to save the future. It is the third and final book of the Pathfinder series, preceded by Ruins and Pathfinder.
Visitors was published on November 4, 2014.Women of Genesis
Women of Genesis is a series of books begun in 2000 by Orson Scott Card. The books in this series are centered on the wives of the Biblical Patriarchs of the Book of Genesis. To date three books have been published; fourth and fifth books in the series are currently listed as works in progress on Card's website.Worthing Farm
"Worthing Farm" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It only appears in his short story collection The Worthing Saga.