What the hell happened to Orson Scott Card? Does anyone know?
I'd blame it on Mormonism, but he's been deep in that since the early 70s.
While Ender's Game might have had its flaws it was nevertheless provocative and unpredictable. The way it showed children wrapped up in society's greater struggles and political machinations was incredibly powerful. To a fifteen year old that kind of message can be life-altering.
My favorite of his books is one called Treason. I would still recommend it.
I also enjoyed his short story collections.
But I first knew something was amiss when I picked up one of the later Ender books, Ender's Shadow. The writing was atrocious with a capital-A and, hell, capitalize the C, too. There were even numerous grammatical errors. I thought two things:
1. Either Mr. Card never wrote any of his earlier works, or
2. He hasn't written any of his later works
His new book, Empire, looks to have that very same lack of quality mixed in with some bullshit political formulations. It reads like a tenth grader ripping off Robert Heinlein and combining it with Red Dawn. I especially cringe at Card's characterizations of his military men, perfect copy for a fascist pamphlet. Add to that a completely ridiculous scene of the President getting killed by men with rocket launchers.
Of course, I'm not sure what to expect from a guy who calls himself a Democrat, idolizes Zell Miller and hates liberals. They used to call those guys Dixiecrats. He also supported George Bush, hated Kerry and Edwards and defends Fox News. There is nothing at all Democratic about him. He's virulently anti-gay, denies global warming, "distrusts" Darwinism and wholly supports every aspect of the bogus War on Terror. In short, he's a big fucking phony. Political parties should be able to sue for slander when someone claims allegiance to a party and yet voices opinions that are wholly antithetical to the party's platform.
Maybe the ravages of lifelong hypocrisy can turn you into a shitty writer.
And to add to Thomas' addendum: I think it's clear that Card obviously doesn't have even a sliver of knowledge of American government and culture. Brunswick, Maryland isn't really different from Winchester, Virginia. Hell, Rib Lake, Wisconsin isn't very different from Fitzgerald, Georgia. The red-state/blue-state division is so generalized that any fiction based on it will be caricature of the worst kind. It makes me wonder if Mr. Card has actually traveled at all in the US. Maybe that's where things went wrong - as soon as he started writing about Earth (Ender's Shadow also took place on Earth) then all of his ignorance could shine.
It's a shame, really.