Orson Scott Card supported his early writing ambitions by writing screenplays for animated children’s videos about the New Testament and Book of Mormon.
He grew up in a musical home and developed a voracious reading appetite. There’s was an eclectic range of sounds in his house, from opera to American pop, from Broadway to church hymns. Scott has an ear for harmonies that manifested early in church services and at family sing-songs.
Combining Scott’s musical environment and diverse reading diet, his writing career started with scripts for musicals and comedies. Performance and theatre were other constants in Scott’s life. He was involved in drama through school and started his own theatre company after a 2 year missions trip to Brazil. The second season of his company just barely broke even, so he canned it and started writing Ender’s Game.
War, politics, morals and child characters are common through Scott’s work. There is almost always a mystical or spiritual element to his stories and his characters must always navigate deep moral dilemmas. Although Scott is a devoted sci-fi fan, he’s written fantasy and historical fiction as well.
Here are five of his other novels:
The Memory of Earth (Homecoming Volume 1)
When humanity nearly destroyed ourselves and Earth, we left our galaxy behind and settled Harmony. To ensure our survival, we appoint a super computer manager of humanity – our new god. This god was called Oversoul. 40 Million years in the future, Oversoul is finally showing signs of its age – second guessing decisions, confusion. It sees humanity ending in chaos in a few thousand years, but isn’t sure of the solution.
Oversoul decides it needs clarity – it wants to go back to Earth and be reprogrammed by its master computer, called the Keeper of the Earth. So it selects the only living humans with the mentality and motivation to help. Involving itself with humanity directly and plucking them from their lives, violates the sacred boundary between Oversoul and humanity. But it must be done for the survival of the human race.
The Call of Earth (Homecoming Volume 2)
Oversoul has spoken to people and the result was murder. It had to order the murder of an innocent man. It forced a young man, Nafai, into an ocean of guilt for taking another man’s life. Oversoul wondered if this was the right course of action or a result of functioning well past its intended useful age.
While waiting to contact the Keeper of Earth, Oversoul gives images of its concern to humans as dreams, testing their perception. While it waits, it observes the human response to the only end in sight for their kind.
Shadow of the Giant
Orson wrote a parallel novel to Ender’s Game called, Ender’s Shadow. It’s Bean’s story, Ender’s best friend in Battle School. Shawdow of the Giant takes place after Ender defeats the aliens and leaves Earth for deep space. Bean becomes a General for the Hegemon in the wars that consume earth after the threat of alien invasion is wiped out.
Bean and Petra, now married, seek a peaceful life, away from wars, enemies, and controlling states. They want to start a family. They realize that will only happen if they again follow Ender’s example – leave Earth and gamble on finding a new home light-years away from the Hegemon.
The Red Prophet (The Tales of Alvin Maker 2)
Imagine a Wild West where Whites had subtle powers of manipulation over fire, water, and a sense of present life. Imagine Reds who were acutely tuned to the “green music” of nature. Orson used North American history to set his next series.
The Tales of Alvin Maker tell of a White, Alvin Miller, with potent powers that usually only Reds enjoy. He is the seventh son of a seventh son. His gifts are not known to the Reds, who typically sense the disruptive powers of Whites. Alvin meets a Red man, Lolla-Wossiky, who has been lost to whisky since the murder of his father.
Lolla-Wossiky hasn’t been able to escape the “black noise” since the day he first heard it come from the gun that killed his father. But when he meets Alvin, he finds that alcohol isn’t the only thing to bring back faint sounds of the green music.
Ivan’s life is full of secrets his family have kept from him. Secrets don’t stay hidden for long, though. The first was revealed when he was ten, when his father and mother revealed that their family was Jewish, not Russian. Many more secrets are unveiled as Enchantment progresses, but they are magical secrets, holding back gods and demons.
10th Century Slovanic language was Ivan’s field of study, but it soon became his field of adventure. He kisses a sleeping princess on their second meeting, is taken to the past, confronted by an evil being, Baba Yaga, and starts a dizzying fight and flight adventure that weaves between the 10th and 20th centuries.