Reviews: Card, Orson Scott

The Child is Father to the Man

Capitol — Orson Scott Card
Worthing Cycle, book 1

Good old Wordsworth’s poem is certainly apropos to this collection of stories, but it’s my second choice. My first choice was “Before Ender’s Game.” However, that had the drawback of being somewhat inaccurate: while Ender’s Game the Novel didn’t come out until 1985, Ender’s Game the Novelette came out in 1977, to great acclaim. (It definitely held my interest when I read it in 1977, despite the fairly notable distraction that, midway through my reading of that issue of Analog, someone inadvertently set me on fire.) Between 1977 and the 1985 founding of the great sausage factory that is the Ender’s Game Extruded MilSF Franchise, Card and his editors didn’t seem to realize Ender’s Game was where Card should be focusing his efforts. Instead, he spent a lot of time playing with the Worthing Cycle, a much less successful body of work that, if it is remembered at all, is remembered because it was done by the same guy who did Ender’s Game, the Alvin Maker series, and that ebulliently hilarious parody of right wing anxieties, Empire.

It’s not uncommon for authors to spend some time struggling before they find their voice. It’s somewhat unfortunate for Card that so much of his material from that period of his career saw print (although he did get paid, so there’s that), It’s even more unfortunate for him that I happen to still have my copy of this … ah … illuminating sample of Card juvenilia.


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