My Big Question for the month of October is about Orson Scott Card, partly
I want to ask a question; but first, an explanation.
There are two reasons that I keep this blog. One is that maintaining it every day forces me to almost constantly think about writing. You might think that expressly “wanting to be a writer” would be enough to keep me thinking about writing quite often, but you’d be wrong. It doesn’t always work that way for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
The other reason for doing this; and the one that most concerns me today, is that expressing my opinions regularly allows me to better analyze what I really believe about whatever particular topic it is that I’m writing about. Many people think that they know exactly what they actually believe about the world; but once they’re pressed to explain why, they often have real trouble doing so. This is, of course, because most people really don’t know what they actually believe about everything; and that most of us don’t generally bother to try and learn is one of our greatest intellectual deficiencies as human beings.
Thus, today I begin what will be a monthly experiment in which I pose one question that I’ve been pondering myself and ask you all to answer it. Fear not, I’ll answer it as well; but not until I’ve seen what many of you have to offer first. The questions I’ll be asking each month will be questions that I don’t yet have fully formed answers to myself. They’ll be designed to make all of us think a little, hopefully about topics none of us think about all that often. Which is of course the point of all this. I want us to do some brain work here, and I genuinely hope you’ll be interested.
My question for month stems from a dilemma I’m having. Orson Scott Card is an award winning Science Fiction and Fantasy writer. You may have heard of him, and many of you have likely even read his novel Ender’s Game. I, however, have never read anything by the man; and until recently have had no intention of doing so. This is not because I don’t believe his books to be well written, but rather because I find myself in direct opposition to his often very conservative views on topics ranging from global warming to gay marriage.
In short, I have refused to read Card because I don’t like what he believes. One part of me thinks that I can rigorously defend this course of action based on rational argument, but another part of me thinks that I may just be allowing my bias to instead rationalize my own sense of moral superiority. So the question I ask is this:
When choosing what fiction to read, should we be guided solely by the perceived or recognized quality of the work itself or should we also take into account the personal belief systems of the author of the work as well?
You’ll not that I’ve specifically posed this question regarding works of fiction, as I do believe an author can more easily separate his or her personal beliefs from their writing in fiction than in non-fiction. For instance, the entire genre of Sci-fi/Fantasy is based on authors writing about things we know not to exist. However, in most non-fiction we generally want to know what the author thinks is actually true.
So there you have it, my first Big Question (which is what I’m calling this for now, but is subject to change should I, or you, think of something better). I’m going to keep a link to this post in a prominent place on this site all month long, and near the end of the month I’ll post me own rather lengthy answer to the question itself. I’ll also be sharing this rather frequently on my Facebook page, on Twitter, and on Google +. So keep an eye out in all those places, and help me out be sharing it yourself if you can think of a person or community that might be interested in it.
There are no rules for answers here. Be as short or as detailed as you like. You can post your answer here in the comments, or write a post for your own blog and just link to it in the comments instead. You can also answer it through any of the sites on which I share it, though to be honest the best way to stimulate conversation is to do so here on this blog. It can handle long comments in a way that Facebook and Twitter simply can’t. And don’t be afraid to take your time either, because I’ll be revisiting this all month long.
Off you go then. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!