Friday, May 02, 2008

Card on Rowling

My respect for Orson Scott Card has officially gone way up.

He comments on the recent lawsuit by Ms. Rowling against Van Der Ark, the author of the Harry Potter Lexicon, pointing out the apparent hypocrisy of Rowling's regarding her litigation.

Very cleverly done.

I have to say, I've been a huge Card fan since Ender's Game...and been equally unimpressed by Rowling's stuff.

Card's works tend to deal in layered characterization and plotlines...Rowling's Potter series tends to be...really pedestrian.

And don't babble on about "it's a kids' book series!"


Ms. L'Engle's stuff, which was also juvenile in focus, was vastly better.

For crying out loud, so was Christopher's Tripods series, or McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, and a host of others.

Back to Card.

The first few paragraphs of his article really do whet the appetite for the rest, and set the tone for his (cogent and dead-smack-on) analysis of Rowling's pity party:

Can you believe that J.K. Rowling is suing a small publisher because she claims their 10,000-copy edition of The Harry Potter Lexicon, a book about Rowling's hugely successful novel series, is just a "rearrangement" of her own material.

Rowling "feels like her words were stolen," said lawyer Dan Shallman.

Well, heck, I feel like the plot of my novel Ender's Game was stolen by J.K. Rowling.

A young kid growing up in an oppressive family situation suddenly learns that he is one of a special class of children with special abilities, who are to be educated in a remote training facility where student life is dominated by an intense game played by teams flying in midair, at which this kid turns out to be exceptionally talented and a natural leader. He trains other kids in unauthorized extra sessions, which enrages his enemies, who attack him with the intention of killing him; but he is protected by his loyal, brilliant friends and gains strength from the love of some of his family members. He is given special guidance by an older man of legendary accomplishments who previously kept the enemy at bay. He goes on to become the crucial figure in a struggle against an unseen enemy who threatens the whole world.

This paragraph lists only the most prominent similarities between Ender's Game and the Harry Potter series. My book was published in England many years before Rowling began writing about Harry Potter. Rowling was known to be reading widely in speculative fiction during the era after the publication of my book.

I can get on the stand and cry, too, Ms. Rowling, and talk about feeling "personally violated."

Go read the rest of the article. Good, smashingly good stuff.

Orson Scott Card for President.

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