Quotable Authors: Orson Scott Card

I have a bit of a history with Orson Scott Card. Years ago, the very first Card novel I read seemed destined to be my last. It was a novel called, Lost Boys, and it upset me so much I vowed to never read him again. I won’t go into why it upset me, and truth is, it more likely had to do where I was in my life at the time than it did with the novel.

Anyhow, not too long ago I picked up Ender’s Game. Which, if you’re a science fiction fan, you’ve probably read, too, and so think I’m a total noodlehead for not getting around to it earlier. There is no question about it being an uber-classic of the genre and one of the most disturbing (in a good way) novels ever written. Needless to say, I’m a Card fan now. I just finished reading The Lost Gate, a fantasy novel about stranded gods and a boy coming into his power and having to make some tough decisions as to how he’s going to use it. Terrific book. As I’m reading I came across a juicy little quote about knowledge and wisdom. I ripped off a bit of paper and stuck it in the book and kept reading. When I finished the novel, I came down into the dungeon to record it in my book list and to add the quote to my quote file.

The paper was gone.

Damn it.

I searched through the book, but couldn’t recall which scene it was in or what part of the book. It was pissing me off being unable to find it so I did a Google search to see if anyone else thought it was worth recording. ORSON SCOTT CARD QUOTES. 579,000 results. Apparently I am not the only one who finds Mr. Card quote worthy.

Over on Goodreads, readers have listed nearly 400 quotes. Hatrack River, OS Card’s official website, has an entire page devoted to quotes submitted by readers. Brainy Quote has two full pages devoted to quotes by Card. That’s just the top three results of the Google search.

Holy cow.

I like collecting quotes from things I read. I have a file in my computer I keep adding to. Sometimes I make a little poster for myself with a fancy font and maybe some graphics to print out and hang near my computer for inspiration.

Here is one of my favorites:

You tell him or her—it’s a her?—tell her it’s never about the player, is it? It’s always about the music. And the music never dies.’

‘And if she wanted to be a musician?’ I asked him.

‘Tell her that whatever she takes on, stay in for the duration. Maybe you can just bang out a tune or a lyric, maybe it takes you forever. It doesn’t matter how you put it together. All that matters is that it means something to you, and you play it like it means something to you. Anything else is just bollocks.’

“That Was Radio Clash,” Muse and Reverie, Charles De Lint

Seeing the huge number of Card quotes got me to wondering what is it that makes some writers so very quotable? I read a lot of material, and even the most enjoyable is rarely quotable. The sum is greater than the parts. It’s actually a fairly rare writer whose parts are so stunning they can exist outside of the context of a story.

So if you want spend a few enjoyable minutes (and find yourself on the way to becoming a Card fan) check out the quotes. Lots of good bits of wisdom, amusements and food for thought.

And the quote I lost? It was, as best I recall: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing better than to put it in a fruit salad. My apologies to Mr. Card if I botched it.

So what about you? Which authors do you find quote-worthy?



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