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View Full Version : Ender's Game = erotic???


yks 6nnetu hing
02-03-2014, 04:43 AM
So, this weekend I got in a rather heated argument over Ender's Game (the book): apparently there's an entire subset of readers who see strong homoerotic theme to the book. I on the other hand didn't notice it at all. AT ALL. I was truly stunned that someone had managed to read erotic content in the book at all; and they were genuinely surprised that I had so completely not seen any of it.

I mean, the relationships between Ender and Valentine and Valentine and Peter are a creepy incestous mess, but that becomes more visible in the later books, not so much in the first book. So, that whole theme aside, I have 2 huge objections to the idea of "homoeroticism" in Ender's Game:

1) The only scene I can think of that might be referred here is in the showers (yanno, seeing as they were naked) but to me that never read as erotic. Maybe I just don't see anything erotic in killing someone with one's bare hands. Also, I thought nudity was used to emphasise vulnerability. Having been in a few fights (with my brother. ahem.) myself as a kid and having seen some from the sidelines: children fight with all they've got, any vulnerability is quickly used. nails, teeth, legs, kicking vulnerable spots... And, again, in my experience, there's nothing erotic in really trying to hurt someone. There's adrenaline and the blood's pumping but erotic? no. yuck. no.

The rest of the relationships described are those of friendship, with a bit of hero-worship added in. Which again is very normal for children - whenever there's a group, there's one clear leader and he/she will define that group. Children are in that aspect more pack animals than grown-ups, and isolation is really hard on a child.

2) if I'm simply not seeing the subtext, and it is indeed there, I think it's REALLY inapropriate to call it homoeroticism instead of pedofilia. The book is about children. Yes, they're little geniuses and oh-so-grown-up in their minds but they're still children. Even if the supposed fantasy of little boys getting it on is real, it's not homoerotic because it's MALE boys, it's pedofilic because it's male BOYS.

-on a side note, and not necessarily about Ender's Game: children imitate grown-ups, different children at different ages. I remember for myself, I must have been 4 or 5 when I first "liked" a boy (somewhat amusingly, the main thing I remember about him is that he was the tallest boy in our kindergarten group). But is it immediately erotic if such things are mentioned in literature? Or is it made erotic by the person who's writing the scene? Or by the person who's reading it?-

thoughts? Did I really miss an entire sub-text? or was it never there?

GonzoTheGreat
02-03-2014, 05:04 AM
Gonzo's Law of Literary Criticism:
If you sufficiently overanalyse a book, then you can read anything at all into it.

Addendem to the law:
If you don't manage to read everything imaginable into it, then you have not sufficiently overanalysed the book.

With thanks to Clarke and Benford for the formulation of this law.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-03-2014, 05:45 AM
but the thing is, I've now googled on it and apparently there ARE a lot of people who've put the book down because of the supposed homoeroticism.

I know, I know, googling anything will get you a result.

Davian93
02-03-2014, 08:24 AM
but the thing is, I've now googled on it and apparently there ARE a lot of people who've put the book down because of the supposed homoeroticism.

I know, I know, googling anything will get you a result.

I think its a strong offshoot that stems from knowing that the author is such a giant homophobe that they are determined to read into his novel for something they can slam him with along those lines. If anything, its more of a pedaphilia thing than homoeroticism (which I simply dont see). If you add in the Luet (with Nafai) and Hushadh (sp?) story lines from Memory of Earth (aka Mormons in Space), you start to see a somewhat disturbing trend in OSC's books but that's about it. From what I recall of Mem of Earth (and bear with me as its been a good 15 years) was that Luet was a 12 year old that ends up marrying a 14 year old and there are some rather disturbing imagery in that whole thing and Hushadh, the older but not much older sister almost sleeps with her father and ends up marrying another teen (Nafai's crippled older brother who is still not 18 I think) So yeah, you're not alone and I pretty much agree with you. There's also that part where the gay guy ends up marrying a woman in that one and having kids out of love even though he was gay...thus 'overcoming' his gayness that alot of people have issue with in that book. Though at least OSC didnt make his being gay a choice but rather had his scientist wife explain that it was a hormonal inbalance during his time in the womb. (I am shocked at how much I remember of that book looking back now).

With OSC, its really hard to divorce the book from the writer but you almost have to with Ender's Game. Personally, I think OSC had one good book in Ender's Game and he's been riding the coattails of that success through every single other work he's ever had over the past 35 years. That's just my opinion from having read a good bit of his works other than the Alvin Maker stuff.

Dragon Thief
02-03-2014, 06:15 PM
I read it without knowing the OSC was an asshat, and just sort of assumed that one or two of Ender's friends on the ship were gay (I think Alai? can't really remember, only read it once and don't have it remembered well).

I don't remember seeing anything erotic at all though, just that they were and that was that. It kinda surprised me when I found out about OSC last year because of that.

Davian93
02-03-2014, 08:37 PM
I read it without knowing the OSC was an asshat, and just sort of assumed that one or two of Ender's friends on the ship were gay (I think Alai? can't really remember, only read it once and don't have it remembered well).

I don't remember seeing anything erotic at all though, just that they were and that was that. It kinda surprised me when I found out about OSC last year because of that.

Wait...Alai's not gay? I just kinda assumed that but it wasn't a big deal.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-04-2014, 11:14 AM
I don't see it. Even after talking about it, then going back and skimming through to refresh (I just read Ender's Game in November)I just don't see it.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-05-2014, 01:11 AM
I've got to say I'm relieved. So, the large majority of readers never saw anything particularly erotic in the books. Makes me seriously wonder about those who did.

Daekyras
02-06-2014, 04:23 AM
I've got to say I'm relieved. So, the large majority of readers never saw anything particularly erotic in the books. Makes me seriously wonder about those who did.

Hey Yks,

I've read Enders Game a few times and not once, not one single time did I ever notice a homoerotic sub plot.
A few people have mentioned Alai as possibly being gay but I never even read him that way. If anything the entire series is one of the most "sexless" stories I can imagine.

As for your last sentence, I have come across a similar thing before. I am not sure if you are aware of the "riftwar saga" by raymond E Feist?

Well, not to give too many plot points away I once had an argument with a friend who swore til he was blue in the face that Pug and Tomas were both gay and that Kulgan had used Pug as a plaything during his apprenticeship..

Now, I have read the original Riftwar books nearly as often as WoT and I cant for the life of me see where that comes from. He still insists with the relevant half quotes and "read between the lines" explanations.

Davian93
02-06-2014, 07:44 AM
That's as ridiculous as trying to say that the hobbits were all gay...just craziness.


Oh wait, the hobbits were all gay.

Khoram
02-07-2014, 08:40 AM
That's as ridiculous as trying to say that the hobbits were all gay...just craziness.


Oh wait, the hobbits were all gay.

And yet, Sam overcame his gayness and got married. Also had kids. :rolleyes:

GonzoTheGreat
02-07-2014, 09:30 AM
And yet, Sam overcame his gayness and got married. Also had kids. :rolleyes:
That's only because Frodo ran away and he wanted to get back at him.

Khoram
02-07-2014, 11:15 AM
That's only because Frodo ran away and he wanted to get back at him.

If he REALLY cared about Frodo, he would have gone with him.

GonzoTheGreat
02-07-2014, 11:30 AM
Good point.
1482 Death of Mistress Rose, wife of Master Samwise, on Mid-year's Day. On September 22 Master Samwise rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Eleanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbairns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Eleanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over Sea, last of the Ring-bearers.

Rand al'Fain
03-30-2014, 01:44 AM
With OSC, its really hard to divorce the book from the writer but you almost have to with Ender's Game. Personally, I think OSC had one good book in Ender's Game and he's been riding the coattails of that success through every single other work he's ever had over the past 35 years. That's just my opinion from having read a good bit of his works other than the Alvin Maker stuff.

Never read Ender's Shadow? Takes place from Bean's view point and goes into his background and what not. Having read both (strangely, I read Ender's Shadow before Ender's Game), they're about on par with eachother in terms of quality.

And really the only thing that has ever come off as being even the slightest bit of this, is Alai's scene where he kisses Ender on the cheek and says "Salaam". Otherwise, yeah, nothing really even comes close to sex in this book.

Ender's Shadow, well, in the beginning it talks about child prostitutes, pedophiles, and another thing that would be a spoiler that marks bean for the rest of his life.

Tomp
03-30-2014, 04:27 PM
And here is another example (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/apr/04/jesus-gay-man-codices)of a character with possible homosexual tendencies.

Davian93
03-31-2014, 09:13 PM
Never read Ender's Shadow? Takes place from Bean's view point and goes into his background and what not. Having read both (strangely, I read Ender's Shadow before Ender's Game), they're about on par with eachother in terms of quality.

And really the only thing that has ever come off as being even the slightest bit of this, is Alai's scene where he kisses Ender on the cheek and says "Salaam". Otherwise, yeah, nothing really even comes close to sex in this book.

Ender's Shadow, well, in the beginning it talks about child prostitutes, pedophiles, and another thing that would be a spoiler that marks bean for the rest of his life.

That would be a perfect example of "riding Ender's Games" coattails actually. He literally went back to the well with another POV of the EXACT SAME STORY.

And yes, I've read all the Shadow novels.

Rand al'Fain
04-01-2014, 02:04 AM
That would be a perfect example of "riding Ender's Games" coattails actually. He literally went back to the well with another POV of the EXACT SAME STORY.

And yes, I've read all the Shadow novels.

Hard to call it the "EXACT SAME STORY". Some parallels, yes, some of the same events when Bean gets to Battle School, but there are also many different situations, developments, characters, and backgrounds.

It's Bean's story, it just happens to have some crossover with Ender's.