Nov 30 2010 1:00pm

Read an Exclusive Preview from Orson Scott Card’s The Lost Gate

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott CardTor.com is happy to bring you an exclusive preview of Orson Scott Card’s The Lost Gate, the first book in Card’s new Mither Mages fantasy trilogy!

Learn what The Mither Mages is about from Tor Books editor Beth Meacham:

Card is creating not one magical world for this series, but two—an Earth where the exiles of Westil have lived in isolation for almost 1500 years, and Westil itself, also cut off from the power of the Great Gates, dwindling but holding the memory of a time when greater magic was possible. For this first book, the two worlds remain separate – but there is a promise implicit in the birth or rebirth of a gatemage in each world. It starts small, one boy in the hills of Virginia. It won’t stay that way.

Read the entire second chapter from Orson Scott Card’s The Lost Gate. This excerpt is available only on Tor.com—and you must be a member to access it! If you’re already a registered user, simply log in. If you haven’t registered yet, we’d love to have you—as you can see, there are perks to membership. Signing up is free and only takes a minute. Fill out this form to get reading right away.

Stephen Dunscombe
1. cythraul
What will the happy-fun raging homophobia quotient be on this one? :D
james loyd
2. gaijin
May I ask what prompted that? Have you ever read any of Card's essays/reviews/etc.? Yes, he's conservative (especially for a card-carrying Democrat) but I've never seen him condemn homosexuality. In fact, I've known him to complain about those who do condemn homosexuals.

Also, for what it's worth, "homophobia" is a ridiculously inaccurate term. I do know people who dislike homosexuality (or adultery or theft or lying or anything else they see as morally wrong) but none of them fear any of those things. By all means disagree with their opinion if you're so inclined, but don't arbitrarily assign motives like fear or hate to someone's opinion just because you don't like it. I don't like certain foods and refuse to eat them, but I don't fear them and it certainly doesn't make me hate someone simply because they like something I don't.
Ryan Russell
3. t0rque
To cythraul - oh brother.

On to other things... I'm excited to read the rest of it.
p l
4. p-l
I don't want to get into the debate on OSC's moral/political worthiness - I don't really care. But in the interests of having real evidence for others to talk about, here is the essay where OSC sets out his views on homosexuality.

The most frequently quoted passage:
This (religious prohibition of homesexuality) applies also to the polity, the citizens at large. Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary 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.

As for the difference between homophobia and "disliking homosexuality": no comment.
james loyd
5. gaijin
I had not come across that article. Thanks for pointing it out.

His take on it may have changed in the 20 years since that article was written, but that still wouldn't explain why 30 years ago he would choose to make Anset (the hero of Songbird and a proto-Ender) gay. Odd.

As far as the "disliking homosexuality" thing goes, the people to whom I referred are of the "hate the sin, love the sinner" school. Before breaking out the pitchforks and torches, keep in mind that sin also includes fudging on your tax returns and answering "fine" when asked how you're doing on a bad day. Everyone qualifies a sinner (Romans 3:23) including the person using that term. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
p l
6. p-l
And I in turn had not realized the article was 20 years old. Thank you for pointing that out.
Daniel Hanley
7. Kythorian
Regardless of what his views are, or were, or have become on homosexuality, I can't think of any examples of gay bashing or anything like that in his fiction...Even if he is a homophobe, I don't see how it matters a lot for his books as long as he just stays away from the topic. So I'm not sure where cythraul is getting
What will the happy-fun raging homophobia quotient be on this one? :D
But maybe there are some examples in some of his books that i have either not read, or didn't catch. I read for enjoyment though, not to specifically go looking for bias as some people seem to.
p l
8. p-l
@7: I'm familiar with the "hate the sin, love the sinner" idea (hencefore, HSLS), but there's something wrong and cruel about unilaterally defining somebody else's totally harmless (and probably unchangeable) lifestyle preference as "sin."

Sorry to Godwin you so early in the conversation, but applying HSLS to homosexuality is a bit like saying, "Well, Judaism is evil, obviously, but I'm totally cool with individual Jews. I mean, we're all sinners, right?" Even if the individual HSLS-believer doesn't consciously (a key word, there) discriminate against individuals, it puts us all on a slippery slope when the lifestyles of certain minorities are defined by a more powerful group as "sinful."

@8: There is a time travel story in his collection Unaccompanied Sonata that seems very anti-gay, and OSC clarifies in the author's notes that he meant it that way. I forget the title, though.
james loyd
9. gaijin
@8 I see what you're saying, but the speaker in your example doesn't seem to be Jewish. The point I was trying to make is that none of us are perfect. If I disagree with something you do or say, guess what? That doesn't in any way imply I'm a better (or even good) person. I may do things that you don't like or agree with...previous comments for instance. I strongly support your right to think I'm wrong about something, but does that make me evil? Do you fear or hate me?

That said, I have also seen HSLS used as a hypocritical weapon instead of a mirror. It would be dishonest to pretend that it doesn't happen that way often.
Daniel Hanley
10. Kythorian
to p-l @ 8, I have never read Unaccompanied Sonata, so I couldn't comment on that. You might be right. Still...one short story out of all of the fiction he has written is hardly enough to just expect it out of his novels.

But my point was just that even if the author holds views we disagree with, as long as that view isn't a focus of the book, it seems better to just ignore it (in the context of a discussion of that book, at least), and enjoy the book. Specifically focusing your attention on finding little things in books that might indicate some view of the author you disagree with doesn't seem very productive.
Chris Lough
11. TorChris
Hi folks, we hate to intrude on the thoughtful conversation, but we just cleared the usage of the first chapter from The Lost Gate and have added it into the excerpt so you can all have a more complete reading experience. Thanks!
Daniel Hanley
12. Kythorian
Ah...things make a lot more sense now. characters kept being mentioned in chapter two that you could sort of figure out who they were, but it wasn't very clear. Much better now.

Though it is impressive that you could dive into chapter two and still understand exactly what was going on, with only a little bit of confusion with a couple of the names at first. I can't decide if that is a good thing, or if just means that most of chapter 1 was pointless, and it should have been cut down and combined with chapter 2.
Christopher Turkel
13. Applekey
Gee OSC would it kill you to finish the last Alvin Maker book?
Marcus W
14. toryx
Orson Scott Card has been very open about his feelings on gay marriage. He's written a number of articles on the subject following his 1990 article.

In 2004 there was this:

In 2008 there were a number of articles in the Mormon Times. Direct links are harder to find, you mainly just have to go to the Mormon Times website, and search for Orson Scott Card and Gay Marriage to find a long list of those.

Most famously there is this article that suggests that he would act to destroy any government that would change the definition of marriage:


Whether that's all a sign of homophobia is up to individuals to decide. Whether or not his writing reflects these kinds of opinions is also up to individual interpretation. I personally was so disgusted by some of these opinions that I had to stop reading his work. Of course, the Empire Duology didn't help.
p l
15. p-l
Of course no one is perfect, but it is absolutely immoral for one group to unilaterally decree that the perfectly harmless personal traits of another group constitute "an imperfection," and to thereby justify trying to restrict that other group's freedom. It's one thing to say, "you can't belong to our religion if you're homosexual." That's fine; groups have a right to regulate their own membership. It's when they start trying to get the larger, secular society to encode that discrimination into law that a line is crossed. At this point we're no longer talking about HSLS, but about actively and systematically ruining the lives of innocent people. It behooves everyone concerned with fairness to try and nip that discrimination in the bud.

I absolutely agree that's it's best to separate the author's opinions from his/her work - particularly when the work is of high quality. We would hardly be able to read anyone if we excluded the authors we didn't agree with. I just wanted to clarify why people say this about OSC, so that no one had to waste time yelling about unjustified accusations.
Robert Folsom
16. robwired
Orson Scott Card also has publicly said that he doesn't care about being politically correct. He has said how great Christopher Columbus was and that no native cultures need to be preserved. He also has said that Indians needed to be stopped because they were just as bad as Hitler.
As a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Oklahoma Choctaw Tribe, I say: Intelligence does not cure stupidity.
james loyd
17. gaijin
@15 "groups have a right to regulate their own membership. It's when theystart trying to get the larger, secular society to encode thatdiscrimination into law that a line is crossed."
I definitely agree with the distinction. I would only add the caveat that the law should (though it often doesn't) reflect the views of the majority of the citizenship who live under them. If any of those views are influenced by religious belief (and of course they are) that wouldn't negate the validity of the law. In other words, is there such thing as a truly "secular society"?

@16 "Intelligence does not cure stupidity."
Great line. All too true.
James Hogan
18. Sonofthunder
I was a bit surprised(and excited) to see this many comments discussing OSC's newest book. Then I read them. Ah well.

I have a love/hate relationship with OSC's body of work...first read Ender's Game when I was 14 and absolutely loved it. Proceeded to read the rest of the Ender/Shadow series(still loving them, mostly). Loved Worthing Saga. Didn't really enjoy the "Call to Earth" series and was most displeased by Empire, so I sort of stopped trying to find the rest of his books and he got downgraded from his previous status as "one of my favorite authors". Used to be Asimov and Card. Now it's Asimov and Jordan.

BUT, this new excerpt was fantastic and it was quite fun to read some new Card...I think I may pick this one up after all - I'm very intrigued to read the rest. Danny reminds me a bit of Bean(crawling through the wallspaces, mm?) and the adults are typical Card - manipulative and power-hungry. Thanks for the preview, Tor!
19. Raskolnikov
Card's homophobia is the most relevant aspect in critical discussion of him. I find the temperament of "ignore the politics, focus on the aesthetics" rather sickening. This is the real world, where people are regularly beaten, harassed and killed because of this kind of hate, of a sort that Card has past and present contributed to. Given we all have limited time and finances, doesn't it make a certain basic ethical sense to follow authors that aren't raging bigots?

Besides, it's not like Card is particularly focused on keeping his politics out of his writing. Anyone remember Empire?
Chris Hawks
20. SaltManZ
@19: Yeah, I remember Empire. I also remember that it was based on a video game.
Chris Hawks
21. SaltManZ
@16: "He has said how great Christopher Columbus was and that no native cultures need to be preserved."

And yet he wrote an entire novel whose premise is basically the exact opposite of that.

It's too bad that those people who actually want to discuss OSC's work in a public forum can't because of everyone else that would rather discuss (or rather, demonize) his politics.
Marcus W
22. toryx
Saltman Z @ 21:
It's too bad that those people who actually want to discuss OSC's work in a public forum can't because of everyone else that would rather discuss (or rather, demonize) his politics.

Well, OSC himself bear's considerable responsibility for that. His writing has made him a public figure and he doesn't hesitate to take advantage of that to make most of the country well aware of his political opinions. People who'd never heard of him as a writer know of him based on his politics and that wouldn't happen if he wasn't so eager to make his opinions known in enormously public forums.
But despite some of the rather fervent responses to his politics on this forum, I have yet to see anyone stopping anyone else from discussing his work. If that were actually happening, the moderators would be stepping in.
Seamus Cooper
23. Seamuscooper
Why can't we discuss Yukio Mishima's work without discussing his politics? Everybody always wants to bring up the coup attempt and ritual suicide!

But seriously folks. Please read this article, referenced above by @toryx. I think it's clear that what's happening with Card here is deeper than simply political views. He's out as an anti-gay bigot and, in that article, makes a pretty thinly veiled threat to take violent action against the United States government should it cease to uphold his religion's view of marriage. He's on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. It's fair to say at this point that he's taking a leadership role in the anti-gay movement in this country.

Look, I read and enjoy F. Paul Wilson though I disagree with the libertarian rants that taint every Repairman Jack book. I enjoyed the first couple of Tom Clancy books on their own terms though their author's politics are diametrically opposed to my own.

But I can't read Card anymore. (Okay, I gave up after Memory of Earth anyway, as it seemed to me like he was exploring the same themes over and over again with diminishing results.) Go read any of his anti-gay writing and ask yourself if you'd be comfortable giving financial support to anyone who said similar things about Jews, African-Americans, or pretty much any other minority group.
24. Raskolnikov
SaltManZ aka "20": There could be a certain argument for a work being hampered by low quality through adapting a video game. I don't see that the same is established in terms of political extremism, even for a thriller plot about a civil war there was no inherent requirement for that much speechifying and lamenting on political crisis. Assuming the video game sold at all, I don't think it was that level of preachy. Furthermore, the question of an art/politics distinction breaks down rather completely with Card's afterword, where he asserts that this scenario is a likely one, that the U.S is actually on the verge of civil war, that liberals are out of control because of trying to push gay marriage, and so forth. It's extreme, it's something that's obviously important to him, and it's very much tied up with his work.
25. (still) Steve Morrison
I don't remember anything especially anti-gay in "Unaccompanied Sonata", but "Closing the Timelid" has a very homphobic remark in its afterword; was that what you had in mind?
p l
26. p-l
@25: Probably. I don't remember the title, but the homophobic remark in the afterword (to my recollection) is Card explaining that homosexuality is always wrong and harmful, which is why it's portrayed that way in the story.

(Though I think it's possible to read the story by itself and miss that message.)
Sean Wills
28. seanwillsalt
@23: Unfortunately, I feel the same way. Usually I wouldn't let a writer's politics get in the way of my enjoyment of their work, but Card is just too much. And, as somebody else pointed out, he's on the board of the National Organisation for Marriage. They're not just engaged in rhetoric, they actively attempt to roll back the rights of LGBT people - and have arguably succeeded in doing so on several occasions. I can't give my money to someone like that.

And to get the discussion at least somewhere back on track: I thought the excerpt was a little bit twee for my liking, although maybe that was intentional. Anybody else feel the same way?

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