Why I’m chosing to SKIP ENDER’S GAME.

On November 1st, 2013, I am proud to say that I will be participating in SKIP ENDER’S GAME.


Where: Glad Day Book Shop, 3rd floor event space When: November 1st, 7pm-9pm

RSVP here.

The lovely GEEKS OUT is coordinating a continent-wide series of parties, each hosted at a different venue in different cities, where LGBTQA artists of all stripes will be doing readings, screenings, musical performances, and many other fun things.  I think this is a great idea, because not only is it asking people to skip the film, but this way people will be exposed to lots of other fantastic artists whose beliefs and work support the queer community.

However, since announcing that I will be appearing at SKIP ENDER’S GAME TORONTO, I’ve had a few questions about why I’m supporting this event, and why I’ve chosen to boycott “Ender’s Game”.  To make things easy, I thought I’d answer those questions here.

If you have more questions, I’m happy to answer them, but I’d like to keep the tone respectful, please.

Also, there’s a really thorough and thoughtful set of FAQs on the official Skip Ender’s Game site, so I really encourage every .

#1 What about all those people who worked on the film? They won’t get paid if we don’t go.

They’ve already been paid.

As someone who works in film, let me clarify: Everyone who works on making a film who did not risk their own money gets a paycheque for their work. The final result of the box office does not affect the pay of the actors, the camera man, the crew, the caterer, the wardrobe department, the locations scouts, etc. They get paid their weekly allotment as they’re working on the film, just as anyone else might if they work in retail, an office, etc.
The only people who get a share any of the box office money are the people who put money into making the film – the studio, the funding agencies, the granting agencies, and the executive producers.
Sometimes, like in the case of the Sherlock Holmes films and Robert Downey, jr, an actor can sometimes also be both the actor and one of the executive producers.
In the case of “Ender’s Game”, Card was one of the executive producers. Obviously, I haven’t seen his contract, but as an executive producer, he is in all likelihood going to be getting a cut of the box office, residuals, and possibly things like DVD/Blu Ray/Digital Download sales, and merchandise sales.
And I, as a queer woman, choose not to put my money in his pocket, no matter how small that percentage will be.
But the people who worked on the film? They got their paycheques last year. They’re all working on different films now. And if “Ender’s Game” gets no sequel deal, or no other OSC books are made into films, then they’ll find other work. There’s always work in Hollywood. There’s always a hundred thousand other films in the pipeline, just waiting to be greenlit.

A failed box office for “Ender’s Game” does not affect the workers of Hollywood.

A failed box office for “Ender’s Game” it also sends a pretty clear message to any studio who was ever thinking of working with OSC again: This Man Is An Unwise Investment.

#2 Why don’t you want your money to go to OSC?

Think of it as a personal choice.

I am a queer woman. Orson Scott Card is a man who has publically stated that I am a) confused and unhappy simply because I am queer, b) not a real person and that my sexual identity is just deviant behavior and not really a part of who I am and c) that he would applaud violent action taken against any government that will grant me personhood. (See here for citations and quotes.)

If I go to see Ender’s Game, the money I pay to see the film will end up, in whatever small a percentage, in Card’s pocket. Orson Scott Card was not only paid for being the original writer of Ender’s Game, as a producer on the film he gets a take of residuals, royalties, and box office. He will then take my money and use it to continue to fund organizations that deny me my rights as a human being and citizen of a democratic country, and will further demean, bully, slander me, and spread hateful doctrine that could possibly lead to me being physically harmed, raped, or murdered.

So, no, no thanks. I don’t think I’ll be going to see “Ender’s Game”. It’s a personal choice.

#3 But what’s your issue with the movie? There’s no anti-queer stuff in the book/movie.

I’ve never read the book “Ender’s Game”, so I can’t comment on the content.  I have read OSC’s “Enchantment” and found that I really liked the cleverness, the word and world crafting, and could forgive the misplaced minor misogynistic moments. That’s why it made me all the more disappointed when I learned of OSC’s personal view of, well, me.

I had to stop purchasing his work, because I couldn’t justify my money going into the pocket of an egregiously anti-queer activist. ESPECIALLY considering that I make an effort to include characters of different orientations, races, and genders in my own novels.

I work hard to use my work to respectfully uplift and celebrate the very people that OSC personally reviles and publically condemns. I can’t comment on whether I find his work contains the same vitriol that his public articles, blog posts, and statements have, because I have, on moral grounds, refused to read and/or purchase it.

Which is a real shame, because I hear “Ender’s Game” is an excellent read.

#4 You can’t tell me what to do! You can’t tell everyone to boycott a film!

I’m not telling you what to do. I’m stating why I’ve made the choice I’ve made. I hope that you consider my points when you make your own choice, whatever it may be.

JM FreyWhy I’m chosing to SKIP ENDER’S GAME.


Join the conversation
  • rye - November 6, 2013

    you’re a sci-fi author… you haven’t read Ender’s Game… weaksauce. very weaksauce.

    it isn’t as bad as say, a fantasy author having never read Tolkien, but it’s in the ballpark.

    in related topics, since you identify as queer, how would you feel about a large groundswell internet movement trying to get people to not purchase your books based upon your worldview as a queer author?

  • JM Frey - November 7, 2013

    1) There is no required reading to becoming an author.

    There is no university syllabus, no degree, no certificate. Many people come to it in many different ways. I simply did not come from a family of readers; what books and authors I discovered, I did so on my own with very little guidance beyond the odd less-than-apathetic teacher librarian.

    The back history of my reading list and what is or is not on it, and my individual personal taste in art, doesn’t make me a good or bad writer.

    The only defining factor that makes me a good science fiction writer is if I write science fiction books, and they’re good. Period.

    And no amount of disappointed headshaking, finger wagging, or muted tutting from people who think that they have the right to define what makes a good SF/F writer beyond the single above stipulation will change that.

    I could probably spend time reading all the great classics now, but there are so many books out there that I “should” be reading, and so many books out there that I want to be reading, and so many books that I want to write. And speaking honestly, the ones that I write will pay my rent. So, when it comes to occupying my free time, I know where my choice lies.

    2) I also haven’t read all of Tolkien. I found it dry. It was a fascinating series of text books with excellent wordcrafting and worldbuilding, but rather poor in terms of character identification and a compelling narrative.

    You may disagree with me. There’s lots of people who do. Peter Jackson is one of them. (I would never have found my deep love for Middle Earth if it wasn’t for the film adaptations). But that’s the joy of personal taste. It’s personal.

    Also, I believe I stated quite clearly that I DID begin to read Orson Scott Card’s work. And that I’m sorry my morals won’t allow me to read Ender’s Game, because I hear it’s quite good.

    However, after really enjoying the first book of his I read and researching him to find more, I learned that he thought people like me.

    I therefore made a deliberate and conscious choice not to pursue anything else from his bibliography. Not because of his lack of talent, but because I couldn’t in good conscious support his career in any way, shape, or form once I read his personal thoughts on why I, a queer woman, am a shitstain on the panties of the world.

    3) If at any point in my career I use the money awarded to me from my royalties to support organizations that strip any of my fellow human beings of their civil rights and their definition as persons under the law, I should damn well hope that there is a groundswell against me. If there’s anything LEFT of me after my friends and family gets through chewing me out.

    Look, the boycott isn’t because Card is a meanie-poo, or because he says bad things about people, or because he is a cisgendered heterosexual Mormon male.

    The boycott is not about Card’s personal worldviews. They boycott is not about Card’s personal choices. The boycott is not about Card’s religion, or his marriage, or his gender.

    The boycott is because Card takes the money he receives from his work (from books, from films, from speaking engagements, whatever,) and donates that money to charities that support legal actions to deny the queer people of America the right to marry whom they love, to have the same civil rights and liberties of their straight counterpoints.

    And anyone who gives Card money is inadvertently funding those organizations.

    The boycott is about being fully informed about where your money is going, and what it is being spent on.

    If anyone wanted to know which charities I support, and therefore where a portion of the money they give me in royalties goes, they can ask. In fact, I’ll tell you – I donate to Sick Kids, because my brother’s friend died of cancer quite young and it was devastating to us; I donate to Little Geeks, because I feel that access to the internet and therefore information and education is a human right; and I donate both money and time to The Office of Letters and Light because I feel that the arts are important to the development of compassion and understanding of our fellow human beings and that NaNoWriMo is a positive influence on young people who would like to use writing as an art therapy or creative exercise.

    I do NOT donate to the Salvation Army because of their policy on queerness. So why would I put money in Card’s pocket so he can spend it on similar charities and organizations? I don’t buy Tony Harris’ work anymore either, even though it pains me because I adore Brian K. Vaughn’s writing and want to know how Ex Machina ends.

    Card can say that I was raped and beaten and shamed into being queer all he likes. THAT’S his personal opinion, and he can spend his hard-earned money however he wants. (I wasn’t, by the way. My family is wonderful, and intelligent, compassionate, supportive, and I was raised Presbyterian.)

    So while I may not agree with how Card spends his money, I can’t force him to change his mind and change his stance on the definition of marriage. I can’t make him stop supporting organizations that would see me and people like me in the United States corrective-raped, stripped of my civil liberties, or sweep hate crimes under the legal rug.

    What I CAN do is NOT put my money into his hands.

    THAT is what the boycott is about.

    What I CAN do is tell people what he’s doing with their money and let them decide for themselves if giving him their money, (so he can donate it to causes that spread hate, slander, and such vitriolic lies about being queer,) is a choice they’d like to make. What I CAN do is encourage people to spend their money elsewhere so that other artists, other writers, who treat queer people like the human beings they are, get it instead of Card. What I CAN do is encourage people to donate to organizations that work towards helping change laws and pass bills in the USA that will allow people like me to live and love openly and fairly.

    I am not American, I can’t vote on bills or lobby my elected officials to legalize my lifestyle, to grant people like me personhood with all the advantages and liberties that entails. But I can spread the word and hopefully change some minds, so that the people who DO have that kind of power understand what they are capable of doing with it.

    As for the event itself: Skip Ender’s Game was about more than just NOT putting money in Card’s pocket. It was also about sending a message to creators in Hollywood – the rainbow dollar has power.

    It was also about providing alternatives; each SEG night featured LGBTQ and Ally artists and their work. It promoted them to whole audiences who might otherwise never have heard of them. It celebrated and exposed to the mainstream art and artists who are queer, or create work where queerness is represented and accepted.

    So, in conclusion, rye:

    Your choice is your choice. If you want to judge me for failing to read what you, whomever you are, state that I have to have read in order to qualify by your personal definitions of what it means to be a good SF/F writer/geek/human being/whatever, then fine. Judge away.

    It makes absolutely 0% of difference to me, my career, or my ability to write. But if it makes you feel better, go right ahead. Might as well call me a Fake Geek Girl while you’re at it. I’m super not interested in proving that I have all the right qualifiers to you. I don’t need to. I have science fiction books published, and people read them, and seem to think they’re good enough to awards so I guess that makes me a real SF/F writer. Your judge-y-ness is pretty superfluous.

    And also, your super obvious attempt to shame me back into my place was lame, dude.

    This blog post is about my choices, why I’ve chosen to support some causes and not others, and why I, personally, made them. If you don’t like my personal choices, or my work, or anything about me, then you have a really easy way to fix that:

    Don’t read my work, don’t buy my books, and don’t see my films.

    Oh, hey. That sounds familiar…

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