I had almost written off Orson Scott Card. Like everyone else, I was blown away by Ender’s Game when I first read it, and I read the rest of that series and the majority of his early works when I was in high school and college. But I had ignored him for the past several years, mostly because he seemed determined to beat the dead horse of the Ender Universe to no good end, and because the quality of his novels seemed to be declining.
But here comes Lightspeed Magazine with an OSC reprint, but one that’s new to me: The Elephants of Poznan. A remarkable, beautiful and disturbing story, as good as anything I’ve read in the past few years. I’d forgotten what a prose stylist OSC can be when he wants to, but the writing in this story is perfect, reaching a level of elegiac craftsmanship that represents the best of the genre. And really, I don’t know why I’m surprised. I remember when I read Maps in a Mirror, OSC’s brick-sized short story collection, that though his novels tend to careen between brilliance and hackery, his short stories were uniformly excellent. This proves to be no exception.