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November 30, 2006

"Like Most People?"

Okay, now be honest: Do any of you know anyone who read Ender's Game to "impress a girl?" Indeed, I always figured there was a causal relationship between reading books like Ender's Game and not impressing any girls, but that may just have been my experience.

November 30, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Objectivist girls do not match up well with the standard model of "girl." For one thing, they often have penises.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Nov 30, 2006 2:04:30 PM

I find it highly unlikely, but not impossible. If it actually happened, I would be inclined to suspect that the girl favorably impressed in this way was the only girl that the speaker had every favorably impressed.

Mind you, a belief in the existence of outliers was drummed into me in grad school.

Posted by: BruceMcF | Nov 30, 2006 2:15:17 PM

I haven't read Ender's Game, and I often mention that to girls I want to impress.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Nov 30, 2006 2:50:50 PM

I once read Atlas Shrugged to impress a girl. She was gorgeous. Really - she looked like Nicole Kidman at the time (early 90's).

I don't think she was a libertarian or anything like that, just severely disturbed. Since every girl I had dated until then had ended up with emotional scarring, it seemed like I could save some time and effort by dating her.

I think she studies lemurs in Madagascar.

Posted by: Stephen | Nov 30, 2006 2:51:01 PM

As a fan of Ender's game since Middle School, if such girls exist I certainly never found them. There are a few women I know who appreciate Ender's Game, possibly they liked it as girls as well.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Nov 30, 2006 2:51:35 PM

I like D.A. Ridgely's comment at Reason in response to another commenters question:

There were girls who were impressed by someone reading Ender's Game?

The better question is what sort of guy would ever attempt to impress such girls.

SomeCallMeTim sez in regard to his link to the Libertarian Girl [LG] sexual gender speculation: Objectivist girls do not match up well with the standard model of "girl." For one thing, they often have penises.

Well, judging from the popularity of 'she-males' at xtube.com, a free 'adult' self-made sex (youtube-like) video site,(I think a she-male is a kind of pre-tranny tranny: one set of equipment is newly developed above the waist, while the other set of factory-installed equipment below the waist is still in place), LG may well fit that category.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Nov 30, 2006 3:12:08 PM

There was a girl who impressed me, and she had read Ender's Game. Like Ender and Orson Scott Card, she turned out to be a bit of a blister.

Posted by: Kyle | Nov 30, 2006 4:08:31 PM

Orson Scott Card wrote a couple of entertaining books that make a handful of interesting points as a whole. Children and teenagers enjoy them a great deal, and people occassionally read them later. At the end of the day, reading a few reveals a disturbing view of humanity and life that most people like to visit but have no desire to adopt. That's it.

Now, want to talk Liberal Authors? One of the world's best sellers ever - Stephen King. Has a lot of progressive values, social tolerance, integration. Monsters. Generally positive worldview. Force for good. Does not aspire to write deep political fiction, and he sticks to his strengths. Rock on.

Posted by: MDtoMN | Nov 30, 2006 4:18:17 PM

More importantly, who spent a lot of their youth trying to impress girls by reading fiction? I spent a lot of my youth trying to impress guys through athletic achievement, humor, and friendliness (gay here). Does this not work with women?

Posted by: MDtoMN | Nov 30, 2006 4:24:06 PM

I remember telling my gf about Ender's as I was reading it and she was very unimpressed. She would smile and nod and be wholly supportive as I explained how much I liked it and as soon as I finished she would laugh and say it sounded boring. I understood that to be a typical reaction.

Posted by: eriks | Nov 30, 2006 5:05:02 PM

Hmmmmm ... I take having read Ender's Game as a likely indicator of compatibility, although I'm fairly lukewarm on the story (good concept; so-so execution). A lot of guys I've been compatible with have liked it.

However, I would take reading Ender's Game for the sole purpose of having that indicator of compatibility an indicator of non-compatibility.

And sort of icky.

Posted by: Molly | Nov 30, 2006 6:24:29 PM

You guys just haven't been hanging out with the right women, that's all. 52% of the readership of SF is female.

Posted by: LauraJMixon | Nov 30, 2006 7:22:44 PM

I have to agree with Laura, a lot of women read sci-fi. I have never read it to impress women, but I have a distinct dislike for dating women who don't enjoy sci-fi - a lot - a whole lot. One of first things that turned me on about my son's mom, was her love for Frank Herbert's Dune series. After a really interesting discussion about eugenics, both from the Herbert's perspective and that of Huxley's Brave New World I was smitten.

I just don't think I could date a woman who doesn't have a proper appreciation for Arthur C. Clarke or Terry Pratchett - or a finer appreciation than my own, for Neil Gaiman (I like him too, but every woman I have dated in the last thirteen years has been somewhat obsessed with him).

Orson Scott Card is definately not on my list of authors I enjoy. He's pure brain candy without being all that exciting. Not my idea of someone to read to impress girls. Now Andre Norton, or Morgan Llewellyn might be reasonable, if reading anything for the sole purpose of impressing woman seams rather silly. Although it might be a coup to introduce a woman to a new female author, such as Janny Wurts, who is a lot of fun to read.

Posted by: DuWayne | Nov 30, 2006 7:57:45 PM

Uh, I read (and really liked) enders game at the advanced age of 42, and I'm a woman. Yes, I really liked it.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Nov 30, 2006 8:06:40 PM

I'm not saying women don't read ender's game, just that few dudes read it for the impressive value.

Posted by: Ezra | Nov 30, 2006 8:38:54 PM

Now, want to talk Liberal Authors? One of the world's best sellers ever - Stephen King. Has a lot of progressive values, social tolerance, integration. Monsters. Generally positive worldview. Force for good. Does not aspire to write deep political fiction, and he sticks to his strengths. Rock on.
Posted by: MDtoMN |


Ab-so-lute-ly! I've read Stephen King for a LONG time. I just finished his latest, "Lisey's Story". It gets a 3 or 4 on my five scale(5 being best). Orsen Scott Card was never really a favorite of mine. Off the top of my head here's a few of my favorite SciFi novels(5 on a five scale), "The Stars My Destination"-Alfred Bester, "Lord of Light"-Roger Zelazny & "More Than Human"-Theodore Sturgeon

Posted by: Dean | Nov 30, 2006 9:09:50 PM

Ab-so-lute-ly! I've read Stephen King for a LONG time. I just finished his latest, "Lisey's Story". It gets a 3 or 4 on my five scale(5 being best).

I would add that Stephen King is obviously more in the horror genre than SciFi but some of his stories do have science fiction touches.

Posted by: Dean | Nov 30, 2006 9:14:14 PM

No but it is one of the things that I tend to reference more often when I want to impress dudes ;) That, and comic books.

Posted by: laurelin | Nov 30, 2006 9:20:43 PM

If your choice of SF includes as a component your desire to impress girls, I suggest reading Tiptree.

Posted by: thebewilderness | Nov 30, 2006 9:36:38 PM

I'd have a problem with a person who reads anything just to impress another person to get some nookie. It's like judging a person by the movies they watch or their music tastes. It's pretty damn shallow.

STILL, WITH THAT SAID: If I saw someone on the train that I thought was easy on the eye reading Vonnegut, they have scored a little more points in my opinion.

Posted by: rpppolyp | Nov 30, 2006 10:16:54 PM

I had an attractive young woman flirting with me a few years back (I'm older and fatter now, so that doesn't happen anymore...) and was quite interested - until I heard her describe "The Celestine Prophecy" and a life changing book. I tried reading it. Twice (she was really cute).

But no, that pretty much killed and attraction right there.

Posted by: Thursday | Nov 30, 2006 11:57:02 PM

Is this much different from saying you've listened to [band name] or seen [movie title] for Lady Points?

To my fiction-illiterate eye, Ender's Game sounds like a Sci-Fi book, one more often read by adolescent guys, perhaps. But it sounds like telling a lady you like the punk rock by mentioning your love for Fugazi rather than Sleater-Kinney (not the best example, but I'd rather not be the guy who reaches for analogies.)

Posted by: Jon O. | Dec 1, 2006 12:25:04 AM

Stephen King's "Running Man" and "The Long Walk" would definitely be classed as science fiction, and are also two of the best lefty dystopian novels of the 1970's- 80's.

Posted by: bargal20 | Dec 1, 2006 3:26:28 AM


Well I didn't read Enders Game until about 3 years ago when it got a mention on Slashdot.

And IMHO it is absolute garbage. I think only EE Doc Smith's Lensman series beats it in being horrifically bad.

(Please bear in mind that I used to read a lot of Philip K. Dick and and perfectly capable of am putting up with
a lot of very unlikely plot twists and devices if the writing is good)

To take a few points that I remember:-

* taking the low bunk next to the door makes you the squad leader. Has anyone ever heard of Deux ex Machina?
- aka the author pulls a previously unhinted-at implication out of his behind to move the plot along. In
SciFi this is deadly because the world is being made up as the author goes along. Contrast with "so you
see Watson, I can find the missing diamonds with my trusty-never-before-mentioned combined-compass-and-diamond
-detector that I just happen to have bought with me..."

What does Enders Game have? "You, lowly, pimply bespectaled, put-apon geek ... you are our leader because
you were bullied into taking the 'special bunk'. You are the chosen one". Yuk

* savagely breaking the arm of the bully on the space ship when you've never been in any kind of fight before?.
Pure Walter Mitty.

* leaving your family behind and taking it (at a young age) with no emotion (and certainly no trembling lip)?.
Codswallop. With the possibility of never seeing them again? And your family takes it? War porn.

* inventing a new and highly successful military tactic for fighting in zero-gravity ("the target is down")? C'mon.
And might I just opine that said tactic is also rubbish - it involves pulling your knees up in a squating
position (so you can't see "down") and firing your gun between your legs (so you can't aim). Yeah that'll
work - not.

* winning at a space-piloting arcade game that just happens to be related to the real skills required (a plot
"twist" only to be revealed right at the end). Walter Mitty again and double-plus obvious plot device.

* then "graduating" to the "championships" of the arcade game which you win,

* only to then have all the adults fall on their knees, hail you as a soon-to-be demi-god and explain that you
have really been engaged in a real space war with ships/lasers and what-have-you. So what relevence is all
the space-infantry training?????? Explain that.

I can't see this badly written tripe impressing girls at all. I find it astonishing it ever impressed anybody.

Posted by: James | Dec 1, 2006 3:37:21 AM

winning at a space-piloting arcade game that just happens to be related to the real skills required

This is seriously a major plot point of Ender's Game? And nobody minds that it's lifted wholesale from a terrible 1980's movie?

Posted by: DJA | Dec 1, 2006 5:28:05 AM

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