I suspect his purpose was twofold; to make the reader feel uncomfortable about homosexuality, and to portray gays having bad things happening to them. I mean, what would a desperately boring story be, without some unnecessary bronze age preaching to go along with it? Despite his preposterous religious beliefs, Orson Scott Card is a very talented writer, and story teller, although you wouldn't know it from reading Songmaster.
Songmaster | Open Library
The book showed so much promise, but ended up leaving a sour taste in my mouth, and the knowledge that I'll never get this time back. View 1 comment. Recommended to Rachel by: Leah.
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This is a very, very strange novel. I've been a fan of OSC since I was very young, and since I was a young teen I've been very disturbed by the almost violent intolerance of homosexuality he expresses in his essays. This attitude seemed so at odds with the values woven into the stories of Ender and Bean - stories of children who are different, but good, and catch a lot of crap for it but save their tormentors anyway.
This book answered some of my questions. No spoilers here, but suffice is to say This is a very, very strange novel. No spoilers here, but suffice is to say that one of the only truly sympathetic characters in the novel is an openly gay man. OSC's treatment of this character and his associates paints a more complete picture of OSC's views on homosexuality, and I found it very, very interesting.
This has been a favorite topic of mine for a while - there are explicitly queer characters in much of OSC's fiction, most often struggling against themselves - but there is nothing simple or moralizing in his portrayals, as there is in his essays. More study is needed.
Nov 21, sologdin rated it did not like it Shelves: ruling-class-protagonist , burns-like-cold-iron. Principal is a pre-Ender wunderkind , a victim of child trafficking. Euterpeans know the victim status and the location of the grieving parents, but elect to ignore it all In addition to being scum, they're also stupid, insofar as their constitution selects the new schoolmaster by virtue of whoever finds the corpse of the current schoolmaster; finder picks new boss Principal is hooked up with several galactic emperors in the standard device to place the narration at the center of the entire setting.
Focus for the Euterpeans is "Control," a form of mental discipline: the "object of Control was not to remove the singer from all human contact, but to keep that contact clear and clean" Advanced Euterpean arts produce "possession, ownership, dependence, self-surrender" in untrained listeners It's all very Dunyain, especially when used to "read the flickers of emotion in his voice" and thereby know the thoughts of others In addition to mind control, principal acquires superhuman kung-fu. Emblematic of the whole: "The longer [the eels] wiggle the more they pee and the better they taste.
This pond's full of them. Connects right up with the sewer system. They live in the sewer. Along with worse things. But otherwise, for 20, years out, it's looking very 20th century. It's therefore more of a Fantasy of the Present Moment, projecting current facts, including our own science fiction content, into the far future.
Not sure if the ineffectiveness is a result of the genre or the specimen. Bizarre random love triangle. Bizarre random palace intringues. Love triangle reveals that principal is afflicted with an "orgasm torture" drug ; his homosexual lover is castrated Principal ends up, also randomly, at apex of imperial power, so, yaknow, there it is.
Recommended for those pretty enough to be catamites, Kinshasans from the southern tip of Africa, and writers of theses and dissertations, feces and defecations. View all 7 comments. Mar 10, Jason rated it did not like it. Spoiler Alert! Piece of trash. I've gotten more enjoyment from reading the back of a box of cereal. Orson is a homophobe and just proves it with his disgusting treatment of homosexuality in this dank and dark book.
Everything in this book is all about pedophiles for the first half. The first supposedly gay character screws a woman first thing I think Mrs Card is a little confused about the word homosexual. Ultimately, he pays for his abomination with castration and suicide. The main character Spoiler Alert! The main character is a completely unrelatable character who finally gets up the nerve to bang a dude and is punished by pain instead of pleasure at orgasm and then forever rendered impotent.
The politics are crude and juvenile. The characters are all either perfect and punished for it or horrible people. There were a few somewhat interesting musical concepts floating around, but Mercedes Lackey and many others have done much more with better style, class and humanity. Also, in case you were wondering, I called him Mrs Card on purpose.
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Between this and Ender's Game, it has become painfully clear that Orson is a self loathing homosexual with serious emotional damage brought on by his infantile religion. Hope that dude gets laid and gets over himself and his big bag of crazy. I tried to like him regardless of his personal beliefs, but there is nothing there worth respecting and nothing there in his body of work that can't be found elsewhere with better quality ingredients.
Two very definite thumbs down. Icedragons Snowqueen wrote a better love story. May 14, Cmadler rated it it was amazing Shelves: science-fiction , novels , library , fantasy. This stands easily among the best of Card's works, and although many reviewers have compared the protagonist, Ansset, to Card's best-known character, Ender Wiggin -- the similarities seem to me to be mostly superficial -- I found this to be very much of a piece with Card's two novels that preceded it: Hot Sleep , and especially A Planet Called Treason Of all Card's characters, Anssett is surely most similar to Lanik Mueller.
Both Anssett and Lanik were raised in privilege, with the expectation of This stands easily among the best of Card's works, and although many reviewers have compared the protagonist, Ansset, to Card's best-known character, Ender Wiggin -- the similarities seem to me to be mostly superficial -- I found this to be very much of a piece with Card's two novels that preceded it: Hot Sleep , and especially A Planet Called Treason Of all Card's characters, Anssett is surely most similar to Lanik Mueller.
Both Anssett and Lanik were raised in privilege, with the expectation of performing some large duty, but each found his life twisted by circumstances beyond his control. Each suffered tremendously, grew through the suffering, and accomplished more than could have been originally imagined. In the end, although each dominates and eventually reshapes his world, both find the greatest satisfaction through quiet servitude.
A major secondary theme is political power and great art shaping and attempting to outright control each other. Yet when the tyrant Mikal requests a Songbird, the Songhouse gives him one, risking its long reputation for probity. Mikal's Songbird Ansset, who knows only how to sing, ends up at the focus of change in the Empire. Intensely annoying, especially because I thought the book was so good, and becau reviews.
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Intensely annoying, especially because I thought the book was so good, and because those pages were crucial. It probably helped to highlight the book's impact. When someone asked why, I realized I hadn't read the book in so long that I couldn't answer in any detail. It's hard to point to specific moments in the book that demonstrate its quality. The fact is that, throughout, Card achieves an almost perfect balance of prose and feeling. All the notes are right, all the emotions credible, all of it very human.
What takes the story beyond the ranks of merely 'excellent' is Card's ability to follow through. Many writers can bring a story and reader to an emotional crescendo, a satisfying ending. Very few writers are then able to pick up the pieces and keep going.
Card achieves this deftly and surely, and with perfect balance. There are a couple of missteps, of course, and one key plot element that's weakly handled. But overall, this is one of the finest SFF works of the last century. If it's hard to point out exactly why, it's because Card achieves the impact not with gimmicks or clever ideas, but with honest-to-goodness polished, effective prose. It doesn't have the flash of Vance, or the poetry of Zelazny, but it has more human characters than the one, and more emotional depth than the other. Card may not always be good, but this book is among his best.
I took the actions and desires of individual characters as the actions and desires of individuals. On this re-read, I still know very little about Card, but it was impossible not to consider his well-publicized and disagreeable views about homosexuality. It's certainly possible to read this book and come away uncomfortable with the way in which homosexuals are treated. That may reflect Card's worldview; I hope not. Nonetheless, even with this knowledge in the back of my mind, in my re-read, I still took the characters as individuals, and not intended to represent one or another group.
Read in this way, the book is excellent. If you go looking for a fight, I think you can find one here, but I don't think you have to. Feb 27, Nancy rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction , february I've read and enjoyed most of Orson Scott Card's books. It's funny, though, that although many of Card's novels contain dark elements and portray gentle people who are compelled by circumstances or their own moral decisions to commit acts of great violence, this particular novel was really harrowing to read.