Forget Orson Scott Card: Is Ender’s Game inherently homophobic?

Now that Ender’s Game has finally been released, the debate over boycotting the movie because of its author has been rekindled.

I’m not writing to weigh in on that debate — I already did that back in July — but to ask a very simple question. Forget Orson Scott Card. He’s a vile person for many reasons that have nothing to do with homophobia.

Granted.

But it seems to me that in focusing on its author, the campaign against Ender’s Game may be overlooking an element within the text itself of which it may not approve.

For instance, Vulture released A Primer on Orson Scott Card and the Ender’s Game Controversy, which included an extensive timeline of the author’s career as it relates to the controversy, but had only this to say about the release of his signature work:

1985
Ender’s Game
, a futuristic novel about a wunderkind military strategist helping mankind combat an alien invasion, is published to critical acclaim, winning both the Nebula Award and Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Similarly, Salon published an article titled, Orson Scott Card’s long history of homophobia, which included a short compendium titled “Homophobic Subtext in Card’s Writing”. That list singled out exactly four works, of which I’d never heard of none: Hamlet’s Father, The Homecoming Saga, Ender in Exile, and Songmaster.

[Spoiler alert!]

But if you asked me, I’d have to say that the homophobia in Ender’s Game is rather blatant in retrospect. Ender takes on the villains, and his exploits result in the total destruction of their planet and their kind.

Those extinct villains? “Buggers.”

——————————————————————————

Update, 3:07 PM: Apparently, I’m not the only one who had thoughts along these lines. The LA Times review notes:

“Ender’s Game” opens 50 years after the last Formic invasion, when the invading insects (known as “buggers” in the book but thankfully not on screen) were barely stopped from taking over Earth.

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