ABSTRACT

Orson Scott Card's reputation is split between the esteem his writing has garnered within the field of science fiction and the controversy his vocal opposition to homosexuality has caused within science fiction fandom and American culture at large. Card's most recent troubles arise from the fact that he has been a long-standing, vocal opponent of gay rights during the long ascendency of his artistic career, which has been contemporaneous with the incremental legitimization of gay rights in the United States. Card's Battle School, however, is far from the ideal location for such free play and healthy development to occur. On the contrary, even play that may at first appear to be open to cadets' individual choices is predetermined. The ends of play as a heuristic tool are limited in Card's universe by the preordained prescriptions toward mature adulthood, typically heteronormative in scope of sexual orientation and spiritualized in scope of physical enactment.