Orson Scott Card vs Twitter over Homophobic Hamlet Rewrite
Orson Scott Card's Hamlet's Father Draws Web Outrage
Sci-fi legend Orson Scott Card, best known for Ender's Game saga, is in the process of simultaneously tarnishing his reputation as a good writer and enraging web users with his attempt to create a new version of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The novella is included in Tor's The Ghost Quartet, and published on its own by Subterranean Press.
Orson Scott Card is a devout Mormon (and Brigham Young's great-great-grandson), and is vehemently opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage. Hamlet's Father is redefining the concept of "on the nose", though, as it blames all of Old King Hamlet's evils (not present in the original text, by the way) on his homosexuality (not mentioned either), while inexplicably portraying Hamlet as both morally resolute and emotionally distant from his father. If you made it through Act I Scene 2 of Hamlet, you'd know that neither is true.
Not only does it seem like Orson Scott Card has never seen or read Hamlet (or even any Hamlet adaptations, such as The Lion King or even Strange Brew), but he apparently looked to The Room for dialogue cues.
Horatio brought him his sword. "Laertes is looking for you," he said.
"I don't have time for Laertes. He must know I didn't mean to kill his father," Hamlet said.
"It's not his father," said Horatio. "It's his sister."
"Ophelia? I didn't touch her."
"She killed herself. Walked out into the sea, dressed in her heaviest gown. A funeral gown. Two soldiers went in after her, and a boat was launched, but when they brought her body back, she was dead."
"And for that he wants to kill me?"
Yes, that is the final draft dialogue.
Anti-Gay Hamlet? Gay Books!
The homophobia which drives Hamlet's Father has met a backlash in the form of "Buy a Big Gay Novel for Orson Scott Card Day", which, as the name suggests, involves buying books written by gay authors or that feature gay characters.
Subterranean Press issued a statement saying that they were aware of the backlash, but it indicates that nobody at the press actually read Hamlet's Father before printing it. Uh... guys... cue Bas Rutten.
Meanwhile, Scott Lynch did a parody, using Henry V as source material.
While Orson Scott Card likely doesn't care about the backlash, serious literary types should be advised that Hamlet's Father will be a waste of time. Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies instead: at least it's an adaptation that brings something useful to the table.
Hamlet has a rich history of being fucked with to make random social political points, but those sorts of adaptations are normally confined to fringe festivals. No self-respecting publisher should be committing such silliness to press.