February 8th, 2008

quote - questions

The writings and the writer

Library comic strip Unshelved weighs in on the Orson Scott Card controversy. The message is subtle, but by the end of the week, it's pretty clear what the strip is referencing, and what the viewpoint of its creator is.

On the flip side, I also liked this one, from Free Range Librarian, who also raises the question of when information about a public figure's personal views belongs in their Wikipedia article. Good comments on this one, too.

I'm torn. I've been avoiding Card for the last several years because of precisely this issue, even though I've loved several of his books (Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead especially), because I'm reluctant to give the man my money. And yet, the books are amazing and clearly worthy of the award and at least the Ender series is free of homophobia and obvious Mormon boosterism (unlike some of his other books; where do I apply to get back the hours I spent reading Lost Boys?). So it's a hard call. Does the award honor the writing, or the writer? Or is it both? I really can't decide.

I would never try to claim that the books don't belong in libraries, though, or should be kept away from teens. Definitely not. In that case, it really is about the writing, not the writer, and the writing is without question some of the finest out there.

(Background: the Young Adult Library Services Association gave a lifetime achievement award to Card, and controversy about opinion pieces he's written regarding gay issues followed.)