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Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the subject of much debate in SF circles. Is he a fascist? A Hitler apologist? Did he even write the award-winning “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead“?

One tactic I consciously avoid in this blog is linking to content as an entry. I don’t have this blog to show you what other people are writing – it’s here so you can read what I put down. This is a rare exception, because I want to point out a passage may otherwise go overlooked.

Card recently reviewed “Serenity” and you can read that here. He thought it was the best movie of the year, and possibly of all SF, but that’s not what led me to post the following excerpt.

Because for me, a great film — sci-fi or otherwise — comes down to relationships and moral decisions. How people are with each other, how they build communities, what they sacrifice for the sake of others, what they mean when they think of a decision as right vs. wrong.

Yeah, even comedies. Even romantic comedies — it’s those moral decisions.

Wow, that sounds so heavy. But great film is heavy — out of sight, underneath everything, where you don’t have to be slapped in the face by it. On the surface, it can be exciting, funny, cool, scary, horrifying — all those things that mean “entertainment” to us.

Underneath it all, though, it has to mean something. And the meaning that matters is invariably about moral decisions people make. Motives. Relationships. Community. If those don’t work, then you can gloss up the surface all you want, we’ll know we’ve just been fed smoke. Might smell great but we’re still hungry.

That is exactly what I have a problem with.

I’m toying with some system that may help me improve, a sort of checklist for scenes that will force me to address the issues I seem to circumnavigate.

On the other hand, just the fact that I have to make a checklist is not, I have a hunch, an omen for success.

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