In the Image of God: Theme, Characterization, and Landscape in the Fiction of Orson Scott Card

In the Image of God: Theme, Characterization, and Landscape in the Fiction of Orson Scott Card

In the Image of God: Theme, Characterization, and Landscape in the Fiction of Orson Scott Card

In the Image of God: Theme, Characterization, and Landscape in the Fiction of Orson Scott Card

Synopsis

This absorbing study is the first full-length treatment of Orson Scott Card, the only writer to thus far receive the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards two years in a row. Collings examines the unique vision and literary achievements of this writer, a consummate storyteller who uses the medium of science fiction and fantasy to give shape to his deepest religious beliefs and moral convictions. His major novels, including Seventh Son, Songmaster, and Wyrms, are discussed, together with many of his short stories and his critical articles, poetry, and plays.

Excerpt

"Literary criticism," writes Orson Scott Card, "is the stories we tell ourselves about our stories" ("Fantasy" 45). the danger of such stories about stories, he continues, is that the critic frequently begins to believe that his or her particular story is the only correct one; and when that kind of rigidity of interpretation sets in, literary criticism immediately ceases to fulfill its primary function of suggesting possibilities. Instead, it degenerates into a lifeless dissection of a literary artifact, itself perhaps as lifeless as the critic's own version.

In an attempt to avoid the lithification that threatens critics, I intend for the following study to represent one story--my story-- about the many stories that Orson Scott Card has written. It does not claim to be the definitive story. It does not even claim to exclusivity or completeness, since Card is still writing (and writing prolifically) and his stories deepen and mature with each new novel. It does, however, claim to be a story about stories that have changed my perceptions and my life, that have touched me in ways few other authors' stories have. For me as reader (rather than as critic), Card takes his place beside C. S. Lewis, who is one of the rare writers in Science Fiction and Fantasy who used the genre to give shape to his deepest religious beliefs. Card does the same-- but this does not mean that he must or even should be seen as a religious writer, in spite of the fact that he has described himself as "a Mormon writer dabbling in science fiction" (Van Name 6). Quite to the contrary, Card is a storyteller, a consummate storyteller, whose stories happen to be not only about whatever charac-

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