Orson Scott Card: Blog Prophet?

Speaking of taking over the world one blog at a time, one of my ToBlogs has been to discuss the similarity between blogging and what Valentine and Peter were doing in OSC’s Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel, Ender’s Game. (It really is an amazing novel, but I won’t bother telling people to read it, because anybody that likes science fiction at all, undoubtedly has already! And for those that have, note that a movie will probably be in theaters within our lifetimes!)

In chapter 9, the story switches for a while to Ender’s earth-bound siblings Peter (12) and Valentine (10), who are not quite as genius as Ender himself. By analyzing rail and freight schedules, Peter has determined that Russia is preparing for land war, so he convinces Valentine that they need to take a hand in world politics to avert global annihilation. And how can their little kid selves do that? By blogging, of course, although that specific word was not available to OSC in 1977. Without getting into a blockquote-fest, consider these similarities between OSC’s vision and blogging today:

  • Anonymity: on “the nets” nobody knows you’re a kid! As “Locke” and “Demosthenes”, Peter and Valentine were able to spout sophisticated political discourse, without anybody knowing their age.
  • Global Exposure: every blog on the internet today is directly available to a larger audience than the editorial pages of any newspaper.
  • Discussion: not only did the writings of Locke and Demosthenes spark global discussion among their readership, but Peter and Valentine were able to anonymously comment on each other’s posts to play devil’s advocate and steer discussion in the direction they wanted it to go.
  • Flames: responses to their writings ranged from “vinegar” to “poisonous”
  • Linkage: Peter was able to “do searches” for pithy phrases that were deliberately seeded into their writings, and watch them turn up in other discussions on the nets.
  • Slate? CNN.com? Within a year, both “Locke” and “Demosthenes” get hired as columnists for “newsnets”; Demosthenes first, and Locke after, “specifically to provide a contrasting view for their popular column from Demosthenes”.

It turns out that this blogging and impending political conflict play a rather tangential role in Ender’s Game, but I see now on Amazon that Ender’s Shadow (a retelling of Ender’s Game through the eyes of another character — a great way to re-read an old favorite book!) was followed by Shadow of the Hegemon (I should read it!), which is all about what happens back earthside after Ender’s Game, in which Peter becomes The Hegemon; assuming the world leadership he was aiming for with his blogs.

When the Forester saw this title in my ToBlog list, he instantly knew what I was talking about (and probably could have written this post better than me, being an even bigger OSC fan than me (as a middle(?)-schooler with a report due, he once found his phone number and called him, and was so shocked when OSC himself answered the phone, he had a hard time remembering his questions and taking full advantage of the interview!)). When I was at his house, (the Forester, not OSC), he joked, “RubeRad and I are using our blogs to take over the world”.

Which makes me wonder, what effect is this blog having, or will it ever have? I think it’s safe to assume that the internet and wordpress.com are sticking around for a while, so these words that I write, and these comments that you write back, will remain part of some definition of public record indefinitely. Currently, this blog is serving to get me in better touch with some of my family and friends. In my retirement, I will be able to spend time narcissistically getting in touch with my younger self. As will my kids, and all their progeny. As could future historians and anthropologists, who will probably get a totally different message, since their job will be to extract from my subtext the societal givens that I take for granted, and which no doubt permeate everything I write, say, and do. Just think; in a hundred (or a thousand) years, this text right here would no doubt provide some juicy blockquotes for a study of the self-referential practice of blogging about blogging.

But will my current readership ever spread beyond blood relatives and former roommates? Perhaps the Forester and I are just

[using] throwaway identities with their early efforts, not the identities Peter planned to make famous and influential.

Someday, we will start our real blogs, and, well,

There are times when the world is in flux, and the right voice in the right place can move the world.

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