In Enchantment, Orson Scott Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm.
Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest—or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy’s fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.
This time he does not run. This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss . . . and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.
A rich tapestry of clashing worlds and cultures, Enchantment is a powerfully original novel of a love and destiny that transcend centuries . . . and the dark force that stalks them across the ages.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Orson Scott Card is the first writer to be awarded both the Hugo and the Nebula for science fiction novels in two consecutive years. He is thus far the recipient of four Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards, one World Fantasy Award, and four Locus Awards, among others. Also, a dozen of his plays have been produced in regional theater, his novel Saints has been an underground hit for several years, and he has written hundreds of audio plays and a dozen scripts for animated video plays for the family market. He is the author of two books on writing: Character and Viewpoint and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Card has conducted writing courses at several universities and a number of renowned workshops. In addition, Card is a partner in Fresco Pictures, a movie production company. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his family.
Hometown:Greensboro, North Carolina
Date of Birth:August 24, 1951
Place of Birth:Richland, Washington
Education:B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
Read an Excerpt
"I'm ten years old, my whole life you've called me Vanya. My name is on the school records, on government papers as Ivan Petrovich Smetski. Now you tell me I'm really Itzak Shlomo. What am I, a Jewish secret agent?"
Vanya's father listened silently, his face as smooth, weathered, and blank as parchment. Vanya's mother, who was merely hovering near the conversation rather than taking part in it, seemed to be having a little trouble keeping herself from smiling. In amusement? If so, at what? At Vanya? At her husband's sudden discovery of their intense commitment to Judaism?
Whatever the cause of her almost-smile, Vanya did not want to be ridiculous. Even at the age of ten, dignity was important to him. He calmed himself, spoke in more measured tones. "We eat pork," he pointed out. "Rak. Caviar."
"I think Jews can eat caviar," offered his mother helpfully.
"I hear them whispering, calling me zhid, they say they only want to race with Russians, I can't even run with them," said Vanya. "I've always been the fastest runner, the best hurdler, and yesterday they wouldn't even let me keep time. And it's my stopwatch!"
"Mine, actually," said Father. "The principal won't let me sit in class with the other children because I'm not a Russian or a Ukrainian, I'm a disloyal foreigner, a Jew. So why don't I know how to speak Hebrew? You change everything else, why not that?"
Father looked up toward the ceiling.
"What is that look, Father? Prayer? All these years, whenever I talk too much, you look at the ceiling—were you talking to God then?"
Father turned his gaze to Vanya. His eyes were heavy—scholar's eyes, baggy and soft from always peering through lenses at a thousand hectares of printed words. "I have listened to you," he said. "Ten years old, a boy who thinks he's so brilliant, he rails on and on, showing no respect for his father, no trust. I do it all for your sake."
"And for God's," offered Mother. Was she being ironic? Vanya had never been able to guess about Mother.
"For you I do this," said Father. "You think I did it for me? My work is here in Russia, the old manuscripts. What I need from other countries is sent to me because of the respect I've earned. I make a good living."
"Made," said Mother.
For the first time it occurred to Vanya that if he was cut out of school classes, Father's punishment might be even more dire. "You lost your place at the university?"
Father shrugged. "My students will still come to me."
"If they can find you," said Mother. Still that strange smile.
"They'll find me! Or not!" cried Father. "We'll eat or not! But we will get Vanya—Itzak—out of this country so he grows up in a place where this mouth of his, this disrespect for everyone that doesn't measure up to his lofty standards, where they will call it creativity or cleverness or rock and roll!"
"Rock and roll is music," said Vanya.
"Prokofiev is music, Stravinski is music, Tchaikovski and Borodin and Rimski-Korsakov and even Rachmaninov, they are music. Rock and roll is smart boys with no respect, you are rock and roll. All the trouble you get into at school, you will never get into university with this attitude. Why are you the only child in Russia who doesn't learn to bow his head to power?"
Father had asked this question at least a dozen times before, and this time as always, Vanya knew that his father was saying it more in pride than in consternation. Father liked the fact that Vanya spoke his mind. He encouraged it. So how did this become the reason for the family to declare itself Jewish and apply for a visa to Israel? "You make a decision without asking me, and it's my fault?"
"I have to get you out of here, let you grow up in a free land," said Father.
"Israel is a land of war and terrorism," said Vanya. "They'll make me a soldier and I'll have to shoot down Palestinians and burn their houses."
"None of that propaganda is true," said Father. "And besides, it won't matter. I can promise you that you will never be a soldier of Israel."
Vanya was scornful for a moment, until it dawned on him why Father was so certain he wouldn't be drafted into the Israeli military. "Once you get out of Russia, you aren't going to Israel at all."
Father sighed. "What you don't know, you can't tell."
There was a knock at the door. Mother went to answer.
"Maybe here in Russia you aren't in class for a while," said Father. "And this nonsense of running, you'll never be world champion, that's for Africans. But your mind will be quick long after your legs slow down, and there are countries where you will be valued."
"Which other countries?" asked Vanya.
Mother was letting somebody into the apartment.
"Maybe Germany. Maybe England. Canada, maybe."
"America," whispered Vanya.
"How do I know? It depends where there's a university that wants an aging scholar of ancient Slavic literature."
America. The enemy. The rival. The land of jeans and rock and roll, of crime and capitalism, of poverty and oppression. Of hope and freedom. All kinds of stories about America, from rumor, from the government press. It was 1975 and the Vietnam War had ended only a few years ago—America had bloody hands. But through all the propaganda, the rivalry, the envy, one message was constant: America was the most important country on earth. And that's where Father wanted him to grow up. That's why Mother's Jewish relatives were suddenly the only ones who counted, they and Father's grandmother on his mother's side. To get them to America.
For a moment, Vanya almost understood.
Then Mother came back into the room. "He's here."
"Who's here?" asked Vanya. Father and Mother looked at him blankly.
"He's called a mohel," said Mother finally. Then they explained what this old Jewish man was going to do to Vanya's penis.
Ten seconds later, Vanya was down the stairs, out on the street, running for his life, running in despair. He was not going to let a man take hold of his member and cut bits of it off just so he could get on a plane and fly to the land of cowboys. By the time he came home, the mohel was gone, and his parents said nothing about his abrupt departure. He took no false hope from this. In Vanya's family, silence had never meant surrender, only tactical retreat.
Even without the mohel, though, Vanya continued to take solace in running. Isolated at school, resentful at home, cut off from romping with his friends, he took to the streets again and again, day after day, running, dodging, leaving behind him ever-grumpier mutters and shouts of Slow down! Watch your step! Show some respect! Crazy boy! To Vanya that was part of the music of the city.
Running was the way he dreamed. Having never been in control of his own life, his idea of freedom was simply to break free. He dreamed of being at the mercy of the wind, carried aloft and blown here and there, a life of true randomness instead of always being part of someone else's purpose. Father's earnest, inconvenient plans for him. Mother's ironic vision of life as one prank after another, in the midst of which you did what was needed. What I need, Mother, is to kite myself up in the air and cut the string and fly untethered. What I need, Father, when you're setting out the pieces for your living chess game, is to be left in the box.
But running couldn't save him from anyone's plans, in the end. Nor did it bring him freedom, for his parents, as always, took his little idiosyncrasies in stride. In fact they made it part of their story; he overheard them telling some of their new Jewish friends that they had to be patient with Itzak, he was between realities, having had the old one stolen from him and not yet ready to enter the new one. How did they think of these glib little encapsulations of his life?
Only when Father underwent the male ritual of obedience himself did Vanya realize that this Jewish business was not just something they were doing to their son. Father tried to go about his ordinary work but could not; though he said nothing, his pain and embarrassment at showing it made him almost silent.
Mother, ever supportive, said nothing even to refer to what the mohel had done to her husband, but Vanya thought he detected a slight smirk on her face when Father asked her to fetch him something that ordinarily he would get up and find for himself. He wondered briefly if this meant that Mother thought the whole enterprise of believing in God was amusing, but as Father's wound healed and life returned to what passed for normal these days, Vanya began to suspect that, despite her irony, it was Mother who was a believer.
Perhaps she had been a believer all along, despite slathering the tangy, bacony lard on her bread like any other Russian. Father's discovery of his Jewishness was part of an overall strategy; Mother simply knew who ran the universe. Father was forcing himself to act like a believer. Mother showed not a doubt that God really existed. She just wasn't on speaking terms with him. "Six million Jews died from the Fascists," she said to Father. "Your one voice, praying, is going to fill all that silence? When a child dies, do you comfort the parents by bringing them a puppy to take care of?"
Mother apparently believed not only in the idea of God, but also that he was the very same God who chose the Jews back when it was just Abraham carting his barren wife around with him, pretending she was his sister whenever some powerful man lusted after her.
That was a favorite story for Vanya, as Father insisted that they study Torah together, going over to the apartment of a rabbi and hearing him read the Hebrew and translate. As they walked home, they would talk about what they'd heard. "These guys are religious?" Vanya kept asking. "Judah sleeps with a prostitute on the road, only it turns out to be his daughter-in-law so it's all right with God?"
The story of the circumcision of Shechem was Vanya's turning point. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, gets raped by the prince of Shechem. The prince wants to marry her and Jacob agrees that this would make everything all right, only Dinah's twelve brothers are more interested in repairing the family's wounded honor than in getting their sister married to a rich man with a throne in his future. So they tell the prince that he and all the men of his city have to be circumcised, and when the men are all lying there holding their handles and saying Ow, ow, ow, the sons of Jacob draw their swords and slaughter them all. At the end of that story, Vanya said to his father, "Maybe I'll let the mohel do it to me."
Father looked at him in utter consternation. "That story makes you want to be circumcised?"
"Is there any hope that you can explain to me why this makes sense?" "I'm thinking about it, that's all," said Vanya. He would have explained it, if he could. Before the story he refused even to think about it; after the story, it became conceivable to him, and, once he could conceive of it, it soon became inevitable.
Later, running, he thought maybe he understood why that story changed his mind. Circumcision was a foolish, barbaric thing to do. But having the story of Shechem in Torah showed that God himself knew this. It's barbaric, God seemed to be saying, and it hurts like hell, but I want you to do it. Make yourself weak, so somebody could come in and kill you and you'd just say, Thank you, I don't want to live anyway because somebody cut off part of my privates.
He couldn't explain this to his father. He just knew that as long as God recognized that it was a ludicrous thing to do, he could do it.
So for a few days Vanya didn't run. And it turned out that by the time the circumcision healed so he could run again, they took the city out from under him. The American Congress had antagonized the Russian government by tying most-favored-nation status to Russia's upping the number of Jews getting visas, and in reply the Russians cut the emigration of Jews down to nothing and started harassing them more. To Vanya's family, this had very practical consequences. They lost their apartment.
For Father, it meant no more consultations with students, no more visits with his former colleagues at the university. It meant the shame of being utterly dependent on others for food and clothing for his family, for there was no job he could get.
Mother took it all in stride. "So we make bricks without straw," she said. All his life Vanya remembered her making enigmatic comments like that. Only now he was reading Exodus and he got the reference and realized: Mother really is a Jew! She's been talking to us as if we were all Jews my whole life, only I didn't get it. And for the first time Vanya wondered if maybe this whole thing might not be her plan, only she was so good at it that she had gotten Father to think of it himself, for his own very logical, unreligious reasons. Don't become a practicing Jew because God commands it, become one so you can get your son a good life in America. Could she possibly be that sneaky?
For a week, they camped in the homes of several Jews who had no room for them. It couldn't last for long, this life, partly because the crowding was so uncomfortable, and partly because it was so obvious that, compared to these lifelong followers of the Law, Vanya and his parents were dilettantes at Judaism. Father and Vanya hacked at Hebrew, struggled to keep up with the prayers, and looked blankly a hundred times a day when words and phrases were said that meant nothing to them.
Mother seemed untroubled by such problems, since she had lived for a couple of years with her mother's parents, who kept all the holidays, the two kitchens, the prayers, the differentiation of women and men. Yet Vanya saw that she, too, seemed more amused than involved in the life of these homes, and the women of these households seemed even more wary of her than the men were of Father.
Finally it wasn't a Jew at all, but a second cousin (grandson of Father's grandfather's brother, as they painstakingly explained to Vanya), who took them in for the potentially long wait for an exit visa. Cousin Marek had a dairy farm in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, in a region that had been part of Poland between the wars, and so escaped Stalin's savage collectivization of the freehold farmers of Ukraine. Because this hill country was remote, strategically unimportant, and thinly populated, Communism here was mostly window dressing. Technically Cousin Marek's dairy herd was merely a portion of the herd belonging to the farflung dairy collective; in actual practice, they were his cows, to be bred and cared for as he wished. A good portion of the milk and cheese they produced didn't quite make its way into the state-run dairy system. Instead, it was bartered here and there for goods and services, and now and then for hard Western currency. Cousin Marek had the room, the independent attitude, and enough surplus to take in a few hapless cousins who had decided to become Jews in order to get to the West.
What People are Saying About This
Card understands the human condition....He tells the truth well -- ultimately the only criterion of greatness.
On Tuesday, April 20th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Orson Scott Card to discuss ENCHANTMENT.
Moderator: Good evening, Orson Scott Card, and welcome to the barnesandnoble.com Auditorium. We're excited to have you back with us this evening -- enchanted, you might say. How are you this evening?
Orson Scott Card: I'm doing great, though a bit tired from driving to San Diego from L.A. and back again last night for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy. Getting to bed at 2am and then flying to another city the next day isn't as fun as it was when I was younger! But I'll stop griping and get to answering the questions.
Kevin from Illinois: Where will the book ENDER'S SHADOW leave off?
Orson Scott Card: ENDER'S SHADOW is a parallel novel to ENDER'S GAME. It begins about where ENDER'S GAME begins and ends after the last battle. It does not go on to include the things that happen while and after Ender gets to his colony planet. The sequel to ENDER'S SHADOW, SHADOW OF THE HEGEMON (working title), will deal with Bean's relationship with Peter Wiggin as Peter uses him as his commander in the wars that are part of his effort to unify the world under one government.
Lauren Caddo from Michigan City, IN: How did you begin your writing career? What educational background do you have? How do you deal with self-discipline in writing?
Orson Scott Card: You're cheating, Lauren. Those are three questions. Writing was something people in my family did. I didn't think of it as a possible career until, as a theater student at BYU in Provo, Utah, I began to write reader's theater scripts and do play doctoring on second-rate professional scripts we were producing. I found that writing was easy, and people clapped more for my writing than for anything else I did. From there, I began to think of myself as a writer more than anything else. My educational background is: B.A. in theater from BYU, M.A. in English from the University of Utah. But the truth is, my real education consists of everything I've read since I was a kid. For instance, I've taken not a single history class at the college level -- but history and biography are my main reading material, and I daresay that I could go head-to-head against most history professors outside their area of specialty. I've come to believe in general education over the years. That's the most valuable part of my education. And while I loved many of my literature classes, in many ways they harmed my writing (but only temporarily, I hope ). Self-discipline? If my family were reading this right now, they'd laugh. I have none. I start working seriously when the checks start bouncing. Money: The great motivator of lazy people who nevertheless have a sense of responsibility.
Cy Harper from Hatrack: How many pages do you usually type a day?
Orson Scott Card: Most days, I type none at all. Days when I work, I write anywhere from 3 or 4 (if I'm uncertain of whether it's working) to 50.
Moderator: If the Y2K bug wreaks its havoc, what three books would you like to read by the light of your power generator?
Orson Scott Card: Books I'd feel happy to reread...hmmmm.... I should be a pious Mormon and mention the Scriptures, but I've read those so often I could probably recite long passages from memory. I'd definitely want a complete works of Shakespeare. I've read most of the plays several times and all of them at least once, and he is still my most valued teacher. A one-volume LORD OF THE RINGS would be nice. (Notice that I'm going for bulk.) And the OXFORD ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH POETRY would round it out, though perhaps a good one-volume anthology of American and English poets from Geoffrey Chaucer on would be better, because poor as American poetry has been for much of the time, there was Robert Frost, there was Walt Whitman, there was Emily Dickinson, and even, for old time's sake, e. e. cummings. (If the Ezra Pound pages got torn out, I wouldn't throw out the book as spoiled.)
Cheryl Telford from Orillia, ON, Canada: Hello, I love your works and have read almost all your books, except for your short stories, but that is because they are not my first choice of literature. I have a question about LOVELOCK. Although it's not my favorite book of yours (ENDER'S GAME is), I was wondering when you and Kathryn were going to continue the series?
Orson Scott Card: We are seven chapters into RASPUTIN, and it's completely my fault that we haven't gone beyond that point. I had to drop it this past summer to do the revisions on ENCHANTMENT, and then I rushed to do ENDER'S SHADOW, and then I've been working on two other deadline projects that couldn't wait. Since RASPUTIN's deadline was five years ago, it's not as if there's a rush anymore.... But Kathy and I will finish it. (RASPUTIN is the enhanced cat that is assigned to assassinate Lovelock.)
Pamela Morgan from Atlanta, GA: What made you decide to do a book tour for this book?
Orson Scott Card: I hate book tours -- it's not like real travel, where you actually get to see new places and sample the local culture. The actual signings are fun. But the getting-to-and-from time feels so wasted. And, being an introvert, I get weary to the soul after being "on" for hour after hour, day after day. The hardest thing is being with the escorts. Gotta have 'em in cities I don't know well, but they tend to be flaming extroverts, and when I'm doing my silent-introvert thing, they think I must be mad or unhappy and try even harder to "cheer me up." There's no polite way I've found (yet) to tell extroverted strangers to back off and let me have my own thoughts and steel myself for chatting with strangers. And yet...I really like the people who read my books and care about them. Which isn't surprising, really -- people who enjoy living in a world I create are, of course, people who in some ways at least share my values and concerns. So of course we get along! The nicest people in the world can be found in my signing lines. Why did I agree to a tour this time? So that Del Rey would see that I was willing to do whatever it takes to get people behind ENCHANTMENT. I've never written a better book, and if this one can't reach outside the SF/fantasy genre and find a mainstream audience, I'll never write one that does. I've also agreed to do a tour for ENDER'S SHADOW -- yes, two in one year, after vowing never to do another! But ENDER'S SHADOW needs a big publicity push to get the idea across that it's not Book Five in the series -- it's a parallel novel to ENDER'S GAME, and anyone who loved EG but didn't get as thrilled by the talking heads in Speaker et al. will enjoy ENDER'S SHADOW because it's the true sequel to ENDER'S GAME, in that it is the same kind of novel. By doing a tour, I let TOR know that I'm serious about this book, too. Not that I'm kidding about any of the others.
Pat from Babylon, NY: The bn.com review pairs your latest with Mark Twain's A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT. What do you think?
Orson Scott Card: We both put contemporary Americans into a medieval culture. I love being compared to Twain. He's not just a favorite writer but also a role model, in that he wrote popular fiction that was recognized as being great literature as well -- which is the dream of all of us who write in the genres. But my research was better.
Pamela Morgan from Atlanta, GA: Since you are my favorite author, I'm wondering who's your favorite author?
Orson Scott Card: I have lots of favorites. In the mystery field, I'm always scanning for the latest Sue Grafton, Robert Parker, Walter Mosley, James Lee Burke, Sharon McCrumb, Robert Crais, Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, or Margaret Maron. And I'm still waiting for April Smith's second novel, darn her! In SF and fantasy, my favorites are probably Dave Wolverton, Lisa Goldstein, Bruce Fergusson, and Octavia Butler. And of course the SF greats -- early Heinlein, all of Asimov, Bradbury, Le Guin, Ellison, Blish, Gene Wolfe, and many others. (Susan Palwick still holds the record for the tightest, most perfect story ever). And in fantasy, I can't leave out greats like Tolkien, Tanith Lee, Lewis (NARNIA and TILL WE HAVE FACES, not PERELANDRA.... And in ac-lit fiction (i.e., "li-fi") I love Richard Russo and Anne Tyler. They are the truest tale tellers in a long time. And I loved the Hornblower series even before the brilliant miniseries on A&E. And i'm leaving out a lot of others.... If I could scan my bookshelves I'd have a list three times this long, like that new historical Arthurian series out of England -- Whyte? My memory is so bad. And off-the-wall choices like Thornton W. Burgess and Arnold Lobel and Robert Lawson and many others who have meant a lot to me over the years. And I haven't even touched on the poets and playwrights! Like Albee and James Goldman and of course Miller, O'Neill, and Williams. And Tom Stoppard! Such wit! And Jones and Schmidt, for musicals. and on and on. It's a lifelong love affair with literature.
Peg Kiker from Fayette, MO: Hello, Mr. Card -- I've got to ask where you got your inspiration for the "piggies"?
Orson Scott Card: It began with the idea of an alien society that needed war in order to reproduce, and went on from there. I made them look like piggies precisely so that humans would find them cute and vaguely disgusting, and the use of the term "animalizes" them so that humans don't have to take them seriously as equals. Rather the way indigenous peoples have often been diminished by those who would colonize their worlds.
Cheryl Telford from Orillia, ON, Can: Hello, again. Will you be continuing any of your other series? For example, Pastwatch.
Orson Scott Card: There are two Pastwatch novels slated: one that tells the real story of Noah and the flood, and one that does the oldest sci-fi cliche of all: Adam and Eve. Wish me luck!
David from Kansas City: Do you have any idea when the movie version of ENDER'S GAME will be made and released? I know you probably hear that a lot, but I was just curious when the auditions might take place.
Orson Scott Card: Films aren't scheduled until the money is in place, and the money is never in place until a studio signs on with the package of script, director, and star(s). Because we have a child actor of extraordinary talent and intelligence who is interested (but has not signed on), I am free to write a script that isn't child-proofed. I'm on page 42, and it's got the emotional wallop of the book, this time at last. Once we have a finished script, the actor and his family and advisers will make their decision; if he says yes and signs on, then we're in a strong position to go to a studio without having to get an "auteur" director whose first act would be to fire me and hire his pet writer(s) to turn ENDER'S GAME into a remake of "The Last Starfighter" or "S-Troop." Wish me luck on that, too. Still and all, I have great hopes that ENDER'S GAME will be put together and filmed in time for release in the summer of 2000. I even have a tiny dream of having both ENDER'S GAME and ENDER'S SHADOW filmed at the same time, with the same cast. And then released in successive summers. But...only in my dreams. And because you're going to ask, that brilliant young actor that I'm hoping will play Ender is Jake Lloyd, who plays young Anakin Skywalker in the upcoming movie due in May. Not since Roddy McDowell have we had a child actor so capable of carrying the emotional weight of a powerful film on his shoulders.
Lauren from Michigan City, IN: How do ideas come to you? Do you sit and try or let yourself go and then an idea pops in? I've recently quit a nine-to-five job because the creative part in me has to get out or I'll burst. I'm trying to learn what makes writers tick...even though we're all different.
Orson Scott Card: Ideas are cheap and easy. I do demonstrations with audiences where we come up with many ideas with astonishing ease. It's recognizing when an idea really means something to you and then figuring out how to shape it into a well-structured story that's hard. But in the end, I think the ideas that work best for me come from asking causal questions: Why does this happen? Or what would would result if this happened? In fact, causality being at the root of all storytelling, I suspect that all storytelling comes down to inventing answers to "why" questions.
Tom from Ft. Wayne, IN: I love your work. Your historical/fantasy novels like ALVIN MAKER and REDEMPTION are great, and your technical work in THE ABYSS. Then again there is the light fantasy and science fiction work, not to mention your "spooky" HOMECOMING. Wow. What's next, a mystery thriller in the spirit of, say, Dick Francis?
Orson Scott Card: Alas, I've never read Dick Francis -- the whole horsing scene bores me too much to bother, I'm afraid -- but leaving aside that specific question, let me say that I'm glad to know that you value the fact that I try never to write the same book twice. (Though with ENDER'S SHADOW I've come about as close as I ever care to to violating that rule!) I read all kinds of stories and care about all kinds of stories, and write all kinds as well. It's not my fault that the bookstores put them all in the SF section. Most stores put SAINTS there, for instance (if they stock it at all). And ENCHANTMENT is a contemporary romantic fantasy -- no way should it be put in the sci-fi section. But it will be, because that's where bookstore people figure that folks will go to find my books. But I want my books to be found by people who weren't looking for them! Oh well...can't control everything, now, can I?
David from Utah: Can you give us an idea of what your upcoming book called SARAH is going to be about?
Orson Scott Card: SARAH is a novel from the point of view of the wife of Abraham. A serious historical novel, but in a period of history so rife with speculation that I have almost as much free rein as when I'm writing fantasy. I've found the period where Abraham's story fits, culturally, and it's not the one where he's usually put. Rather the way I find that Moses' story fits best with Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III -- far better than with Rameses.
Casey McCammon from Logan, UT: I assume you enjoy classical and operatic styles of music (considering the "Stone Tables" soundtrack and your theater productions) but what other types of music do you enjoy? A favorite band or singer?
Orson Scott Card: I'm far more into musical comedy and Tin Pan Alley music than any other, and I'm deeply into lyrics that mean something. My heroes are guys like Gershwin, Cole Porter, Burton Lane, Lerner and Lowe, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Rodgers and Hart, Jerome Kern, Jones and Schmidt, Mel Torme, etc. And to hear Michael Feinstein or Rebecca Luker or Judy Kuhn sing those songs is an endless wonder to me -- how they find the soul of the song. My absolute favorites, though, tend to be female singer-songwriters. Joni Mitchell has been part of my children's lives because there has never been a year they haven't had to listen to one of her great albums. Of course Janis Ian and Carole King are part of my pantheon. And today, my absolute favorite singer-songwriters are Beth Nielson Chapman and Shirley Eikhard. Eikhard's "Going Home" is brilliant, a rich voice and a powerful poetic and musical creator. And Beth Nielson Chapman is to music what Anne Tyler is to fiction -- she goes straight for the heart and breaks it and makes you love her for it. But I also love Brazilian "MPB" music (Maria Bethania! Milton Nascimento! Chico Buarque! Caetano Veloso! and Djavan!) and I'm getting more and more into salsa and other Latin and Caribbean music.
Elise from New York City: Hi, Orson Scott Card. It's amazing what they can do with science fiction these days in film. Have you seen "The Matrix"? What did you think of it? Would you ever like to cast Keanu Reeves for a role in a movie based on one of your books?
Orson Scott Card: Haven't seen "The Matrix." I usually avoid mystical martial arts movies the way I avoid other I-have-found-the-truth-and-so-I'm-better-than-you stories. But I hear so much good about it that I'll probably break down and see it -- and then I'll probably hate it as much as I hated "Contact" (or whatever that Sagan-based movie was called). As for Keanu Reeves, I think he's one of the finest actors working today. I am astonished at the number of people who speak of him with contempt. The actor I saw in "Parenthood" and "A Walk in the Clouds" has the gift of making his characters real and likeable without ever letting us see him act. (Sort of the opposite of Meryl Streep, most of the time -- though I actually liked her performance in "One True Thing," perhaps because she shared the screen with William Hurt, the only actor who can outsmug her.) Anyway, don't badmouth Keanu Reeves around me! I think he is always better than his material -- though, sadly, so often his material is so bad that being better isn't enough to make the movies he's in be good!
David from U.S.: I enjoy your books. Mr. Card. Does your Mormon background play a large role in your plots and character development?
Orson Scott Card: In a few cases, I have dealt with specifically Mormon themes. In FOLK OF THE FRINGE, I used a future Mormon culture for some sci-fi character stories. In the Homecoming books, I did a science fiction retelling of the story line of the first part of the Book of Mormon. And with ALVIN MAKER, one of the plot sources is the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. But what I never do (and never plan to do) is write a novel for the general public that requires readers to decide whether they believe in Mormonism or not. What's the point of that? I served two years as a missionary, and even now, if you want me to talk to you about Mormonism, I will. But I don't use my fiction to proselytize -- they have different purposes and work in different ways. Yet in another sense, because I am a believing Mormon who has explored the philosophy of it, the metaphysics, the theology, the moral implications, etc., there is simply no way for me to tell any story that is not profoundly involved with ideas I derive from my religion. On the other hand, there is not one of my stories that is so "doctrinally correct" that you can't find at least a few dozen Mormons who think I'm evil. That's because my stories come from me, and so they aren't going to reflect the beliefs of any other Mormon, not exactly. Of course, I think I'm right and they're wrong. My answer to those who are uncomfortable with my belief system is: Great! Glad I could help you sharpen your awareness of your own beliefs! Now don't argue with me, just write your own stories!
Jim from New York: Do you have an online life (i.e., email)? And if so, what is your email address? I think some of us would like to keep in touch with you aside from pen and paper and a 33-cent stamp.
Orson Scott Card: My email address is OrsonCard@aol.com. I answer my own mail -- when I can. When I can't, I forward it to my assistant, KBellamy@aol.com, and we don't pretend that it's me answering. So if you get mail from my address, it was written by me. At the same time, I don't have a lot of time for online life, and if I ever get flooded with frivolous mail, I'll have to switch to a private address that doesn't get published. So far, though, people have been very considerate and usually write to me only about things that are not already dealt with on my web sites (www.hatrack.com, www.nauvoo.com, and www.frescopix.com).
Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Orson Scott Card. It's truly been a pleasure chatting with you this evening -- you are a fantastic guest! Before you go, do you have any closing comments for your online audience?
Orson Scott Card: I've enjoyed the questions and the format -- the most coherent public interview software I've seen, and an audience that asks perceptive and interesting questions. As to closing comments, just this: It's sometimes hard for me to feel that my work has much value, when I live in a country that declines to impeach this unspeakable president and when we are getting mired ever deeper in a war that has no hope of any good outcome for us and which we had to shred international law in order to enter. What does a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story matter in the face of people being slaughtered and our national public character being slimed while our press and other national institutions do nothing? And yet, since storytelling is all I can do, I have to pretend that it makes some kind of difference. And as I go around signing books while other Americans are getting in planes to do bombing runs, I sincerely hope that I'm not fiddling while Rome burns.... And on that cheery note, goodnight!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
OMG-I love this book. I picked it up by chance, and I literally spent the weekend walking around my house with my nose in this book. It is my FAVORITE book ever, and if anyone has a sane mind, they will read it!!! i was enraptured with it, and everything about it was amazing
I love this book! It has been a favorite of mine for the past decade now. I grew up with the Russian fairytale so I love this spin on the story
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is the story of Sleeping Beauty reimagined, complete with action, romance, and plenty of character development. Great book; looking forward to another by OSC.
I have read a great deal of Orson Scott Card's work and this is right up there with his best. It should be said that I enjoyed the character of Baba Yaga more than the protagonist. If she had been Ivan's matchmaker, there wouldn't be so much indecision in the newlyweds. Nothing says "Be nice to each other!" like the threat of debilitating curses and mauling by a bear-god.
Loved Ivans (the hero) character. I couldnt stand the princess and a few others. However I loved the emotional impact from Ivans character. This book obviously took much research which flow well in the story.
Card's most disappointing work. This one seemed almost juvenile in its presentation. I haven't disliked one Card book thus far, but I only finished this one because I paid for it...
I found this book in my school library many years ago and fell in love with it. I am glad to see it here! OSC expresses so many viewpoints from many different characters, and it just works so well. I can't reccomend the book enough. Buy it!!!!
a fun new story line
Orson Scott Card is on his own level when it comes to creativity. The whole idea of parallel worlds was amazing, and the story was entertaining, suspenseful, and somewhat hilarious (think bear running in circles)! I didn't put the thing down till I had read it all!
'Incredible' is the only word to describe Enchantment. I am a 14 year old and have read Enchantment five times. I can't get enough of it. Every page is pure genius. Card takes you into a different world full of mystery and fantasy.
It is a fine Book! I like the hard cover version. Very Cool. However I get the impression I am the only 13 yr old who read it.
I loved this story! I couldn't put it down. I really loved the Russian folk lore, a nice twist on saccharine sweet fairy tales.
This book has everything; fairytales with a modern twist, time travel, romance, magic, adventure... Overall a great read.
Summary: Enchantment is the story of a Ukraine-born, American grad student who finds himself transported to the ninth century to play the prince in a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty. He and his cursed princess contend with the diabolical witch Baba Yaga to save the princess¿s kingdom. Enchantment is a time-hopping tale that is part love story, part adventure. Opinion: The book is slow at times and wordy. The best part is the time-travel experiences, in which both Katerina from the 9th century and Ivan from the 1990s experience each other¿s world.Objectionable material: Has some crude wordings and some offensive language, and a non-explicit love scene between two married characters. Religious confusion (mostly between Christianity and Judaism) and disbelief in God. Religion seems to be a mere formality, with Ivan easily casting away his Jewish ¿faith¿ to become a Christian because that¿s what is expected of him. In the end, only real power comes from witches.
Ivan discovers a sleeping beauty, Katerina, in the forest. Ivan and Katerina travel through time and share many adventures such as avoiding an evil's knights plans and confronting a power hungry Baba Yaga. Ivan and Katerina have children and live happily ever after.Card hooks the reader with the spin he puts on the tale of Sleeping Beauty. I especially enjoyed the part where Ivan battles the magical bear in order to rescue his princess. The story has a universal appeal in that it is based on a well known fairy tale. Readers who are not the usual fans of fantasy will enjoy this one.Honors and Awards: None
This is one of my all-time favorite books, and one to which I return again and again for relaxation and comfort. It is a take-off on the Sleeping Beauty story, set in modern-day Ukraine and New York. I just love it.
I love fairy tales (espcially sleeping beauty), I love Russian history, and I love a good story. This novel just happens to combine all three of my favorites into one of the best novels. What WOULD happen if Sleeping Beauty woke up in modern times? Would she find her prince charming and could he safely take care of her and release her from the curse? Ivan is up to the task and the resulting story is nothing short of magical.
I like this best as an audio- book. I like what he does with the fairy tale, which is fairly straightforward science fiction. But I also like the ways he works in discussions about waiting for sex until after marriage.
I liked this book a lot. Orson Scott Card is simply brilliant at portraying cultural conflict. He shows you how two people or groups can come to the table with different assumptions, how different people can have utterly dissimilar worldviews. This seems like it should be easy to do, but it's not, because no one does it as well as Orson Scott Card.That said, this book isn't actually the best sample of that in his work, but it was still what caught me most about it. This is the story of if fairy tales were true. Kind of. I've tried summarizing the plot to several people and it invariably sounds kind of stupid out of context, so I won't try here. Essentially, a Ukrainian Jewish folklore scholar gets immersed in his folklore, and it's not as "happily ever after" as one would be lead to believe. It's a great exploration of cultural identity, and great fun if you're familiar with Russian folklore (or folklore in general, but the Russian/ Ukrainian specifics are what gives it life). I was very nearly a folklore grad student, so I really loved it.A few caveats. This wasn't Card's best work. Fun, but the plot had inherent weaknesses. The action at the end was a bit weak. Also, if you're not familiar with Russian folklore (Baba Yaga, etc.) some things just wouldn't make sense. It's pretty key to already know that Baba Yaga is supposed to have a house that walks on chicken legs, for example, which is not something you'd know just from Disney fairy tale knowledge. Still, if you're even a little familiar, it's great. The strength is in Card's ability to portray the cultural oddity of even one's own cultural identity. Very good, even if it can be a bit silly.
Enchantment. A retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, this story is set in modern times. Ivan is wandering in the forest when he stumbles upon the sleeping Katerina, a princess from a world that vanished ages ago. As Ivan and Katerina encounter the absolute strangeness of each other's worlds, they also try to decide how they feel about each other. Rating 4 of 5. I love retold fairy tales and the way this one worked in several different stories. The characters are great, too!
I have not read any other works by Orson Scott Card except an anthology that he put together called "Future on Ice". However, this book has created a thirst in me to read some of his other books. "Enchantment" is somewhat difficult to describe without giving the entire plot. The book retells the story of Sleeping Beauty but with a twist, as a young Russian Jewish boy finds her. He is frightened by the monster that is protecting her and runs away. Once Ivan is grown up he returns from America to his homeland to work on his dissertation. Curious, he returns to his cousin's farm and finds the sleeping damsel once again except this time he fights the monster (a bit humorous). Of course, Ivan has no idea what he is getting himself into.This book deals with cultural identity as well as the good versus evil. What I enjoyed the most were the instances of blunt humor. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh or loves fairytale stories.
Audio book - Highly recommend. I've been a sci-fi reader for decades and haven't really delved into fantasy only LOTR. I read Harry Potter so I could discuss it with my kids but the magic didn't make sense to me. This has started my conversion to fantasy at least OSC version of fantasy. This was a great story with lots of twists and action. The magic didn't overpower the story and mostly made sense to me. It was well read by both readers and was an enjoyable experience. I looked forward to the drive to work and home.
A wonderful read, connecting folklore studies with the actual mytho-historic events, as a young Russian American is sent back through time to awaken the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (of rural Ukraine). Now heir to the thrown of a kingdom under attack, Ivan (of course he¿s named Ivan) and his initially reluctant bride must travel back and forth through the centuries to defeat Baba Yaga and the Bear King.Orson Scott Card has created a world which makes so much sense and the framework of magic and spells is convincing. The moments where characters adjust to their new timeframe are believable and not cloying like many time-travel fantasies. The historical is obviously well-researched, but it¿s not as if we¿re reading some notes jotted from other texts, but rather that Card has immersed himself (and therefore his readers) into a speculative history where myth was inseparable from reality. Card writes fantasy like a science fiction writer (i.e. practical and plausible), and it¿s full of mythic theory, as Ivan is a student of folklore studies, so it¿s full of nuggets of information to keep geeks like me enraptured in its addictive storyline.
This take on the Sleeping Beauty story by Orson Scott Card was wonderful! I enjoyed the Slavic folklore/history explored as an integral part of the storyline. All the characters, good and bad, were entertaining - I could see this tale working well on the big screen.