Orson Scott Card: or-sun (named after his grandfather, Card says that Orson is a relatively popular name among Mormons and derives from the Indo-European word for bear)
Nobody had ever won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row
until Orson Scott Card received them for Ender's Game and its sequel, Speaker
for the Dead, in 1986 and 1987. The third novel in the series, Xenocide,
was published in 1991, and the fourth and seemingly final volume, Children of
the Mind, was published in August 1996. Now a new novel in the Ender's
series, titled Ender's Shadow, was published in
August 1999 from TOR -- but it's not a sequel. Instead, it returns to the events
of Ender's Game and views them from the point of view of another
character, a street urchin named Bean. As with Rashomon or The
Alexandria Quartet, Card discovers a new story in the midst of the old, when
seeing it through other eyes. A sequel to Ender's Shadow will be published
in January 2001 entitled Shadow of The Hegemon.
But Orson Scott Card's experience is not limited to one genre or form of storytelling. His contemporary novels Lost Boys, Treasure Box, and Homebody brought a powerful emphasis on character and moral dilemmas to the old-fashioned ghost story. And his newest contemporary novel, Enchantment (April 1999 from Del Rey), is a romantic fantasy that has Sleeping Beauty being awakened by an American graduate student in Ukraine in 1991. The characters pass back and forth between Sleeping Beauty's world of ninth-century Russia and today's America, with the famous anti-hero of Russian folklore, the witch Baba Yaga, following close behind.
Card has broken new ground with each of his major works. "The Homecoming Saga" (the novels The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, The Ships of Earth, Earthfall, and Earthborn) was a retelling of ancient scripture as science fiction. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus is the sine qua non of alternate history novels, in which time travelers return to keep Columbus from discovering America -- or at least from returning to Europe after having discovered it. It will be followed by books that reinvision Noah's flood and the Garden of Eden -- in historically, culturally, and scientifically plausible ways.
Perhaps Card's most innovative work is his American fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker, whose first five volumes, Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, and Heartfire are set in a magical version of the American frontier. Two more volumes, The Crystal City and Master Alvin, will complete this reexamination of American history.
His works have been translated into many languages, including Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, and Swedish.
A dozen of Card's plays have been produced in regional theatre, including the musical Barefoot to Zion (written in collaboration with his composer brother, Arlen L. Card), which played to sold-out houses in Utah as part of the Mormon Church's celebration of the sesquicentennial of the entry of the pioneers into Salt Lake Valley. His historical novel, Saints, has been an underground hit for several years, and Card has written hundreds of audio plays and a dozen scripts for animated video plays for the family market. And his TV series concept, The Gate, was purchased by the WB network for development. Meanwhile, Ender's Game is being developed for film by Robert Chartoff, co-producer of The Right Stuff, Raging Bull, and the Rocky series, with Card writing the screenplay.
Card has written two books on writing: Character and Viewpoint and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, the latter of which won a Hugo award in 1991. He has taught writing courses at several universities, including a novel-writing course at Pepperdine, and has also taught at such workshops as Antioch, Clarion, Clarion West, and the Cape Cod Writers Workshop.
Born in Richland, Washington, Card grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as an unpaid missionary for the Mormon Church. He received degrees from Brigham Young University (1975) and the University of Utah (1981). Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a longterm position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.
This biography was last updated on 08/12/2011.
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