Medium and Maturity

One of the chief differences between the okay sci-fi and fantasy authors and the good ones is that the good ones have learned to spell.  As a sometimes-but-not-really aspiring author myself, I can attest that for almost anyone there is a desire to distinguish yourself, to be unique.  Not that this applies only to writing, of course, but in writing, and especially in SF/F, everyone wants to be Tolkien.  Unfortunately, most of us aren't, so the result tends to be mediocre authors naming things.  Badly.

Although I read the novel years ago, I finally read Orson Scott Card's short story Ender's Game last night.  The first thing that struck me was how young Card's style is in the story.  While it is recognizably Card's work, much of the later polish is missing. Many sentences are awkward by themselves, and the story does not flow very well.  And as I alluded to, Card couldn't spell.  Mazer Rackham is stuck with 'Maezr' – overly awkward-looking, just for the sake of uniqueness.

Compared to the novel, the focus is very different.  In the novel, Card focuses on Ender: in this original story, the focus is more abstract.  It feels as though the attempted orienting focuses what is happening to Ender – but not as Ender, more as "the one" of the story.  The story is almost more about the teachers.  The result, though, is a little unfocused: again evidence of a younger author.

If I had encountered the short story first, rather than the novel, I don't know if I would have the respect for Card that I do.  Fair?  Maybe not, but still an interesting thing to note.

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