Saturday, 16 June 2007

Was Enders Game Ghostwritten ?

I was reminded today of an article I'd read a few years ago slamming Orson Scott Card's right wing political views. It led to a few heated debates on Slashdot, K5 and the rest of the usual suspects.
Curious to see if anything had changed I Googled around a little and came up with this fascinating story on K5 written by Roger Williams. The gist of it is that after Enders Game and Speaker For The Dead scooped both Hugo and Nebula awards for two consecutive years a very interesting analysis of them appeared in the now defunct Fantasy Review. "Ender and Hitler:Sympathy For The Superman" was written by Elaine Radford and it posits that the Ender stories were originally intended as an apology for Adolf Hitler, with Wiggin himself taking Hitler's role. This has been fairly widely disseminated by SF critics for over twenty years now and I think the only people still denying it are Card's own apologists.
The full story's very interesting but what caught my eye was Williams' account of Card's rebuttal which was also published in Fantasy Review. Card's response was "incoherent" and he denied things being in the novel, not only are they actually there but Radford had provided footnotes. Card's defense was so strident and his ignorance about his own novels was so profound that Williams eventually came to the conclusion that the man didn't write "Ender's..." and "Speaker..." at least not in their entirety.
There's some evidence to support this theory. The original novella, "Ender's Game" is reproduced is reproduced within the first book almost word for word, although it's obviously been padded out into book form with the addition of subplots like the giant's game, Locke & Demosthenes, etc. These subplots do feel substantially different to the sections based on the novella, not only in terms of plot but also in terms of writing style, as if they were written by different people, a small committee Williams suggested.
The publication of the third book in the series, "Xenocide", was delayed by four years and it's considerably weaker than the first two entries. Williams and Radford speculated that when the writing committee's cover had been blown they'd pulled out of the project forcing Card to continue alone.
Another interesting point is that in the ensuing, and very heated, debate that followed Williams' story on K5, none of Card's numerous supporters attempted to refute this idea that he may not have written "Ender's..." and "Speaker..." Every other point of that story was addressed with nothing less than vehement enthusiasm except that one.
Elaine Radford has updated her original article and made it available online as "ender and hitler:sympathy for the superman (20 years later)" Fantasy Review folded soon after the original publication, so Orson Scott Card remains the only rights holder to his rebuttal, he has never made it available online and almost certainly never will.