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

By Michael R. Collings | Go to book overview

1
Guidelines for the Critickal Reader: Some Backgrounds to the Fiction of Orson Scott Card

A formal definition of any term requires three elements: first, the term to be defined; second, a clear sense of the larger category to which it belongs; and third, an awareness of the differentia that separate it from all other terms within that category. To say, then, that Orson Scott Card is a writer, even to specify that he is widely known, highly respected, and increasingly important as a writer of award-winning science-fiction and fantasy novels and stories, at best only initiates an understanding of who Card is, why his fictions are uniquely important to many of his readers, and why his achievements merit close study. The term to be defined is clear; the larger category to which it belongs seems equally clear; the differentia--those innumerable points that make Card's writing unusual and exciting--only reveal themselves on close examination of his backgrounds, his approaches to writing and literature, and his works themselves.

Even if one were to begin with the final point and work toward an overview of Card's writings as a science-fiction and fantasy author, several salient facts immediately present themselves and separate Card from most of his contemporaries. When his novel Ender's Game received the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel in 1986, it joined the company of a handful of others that

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