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The Flaming Lips School Orson Scott Card, Author of Ender's Game

Flaming Games

The long -awaited (as in, for decades) film adaptation of Orson Scott’s Card’s child soldier science fiction epic Ender’s Game opened a couple of weeks ago, and I had no desire to see it. Ender’s Game was one of my (and my son’s) favorite books of all time, but neither one of us cared to see it after viewing the trailers. I couldn’t take Harrison Ford’s droopy basset hound look (though the actor playing his aide is actually, in real life, named Han Soto! Truth is stranger than fiction), and my son generally dislikes book adaptations anyway.

So I ignored news of the movie, until yesterday when I heard for the first time that The Flaming Lips had been commissioned to write the song for the ending credits. Okay, that was cool. I listened to the song “Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)” and it is indeed cool. Soaring strings in the opening, electric guitar and synth blending in with a majestic sound, drum beats of war in the background. “I was trained to ignore your pain,” the lyrics open. The song progressively fuzzes out, with the recurrent refrain “Open your heart to me.” It all spirals down, the drums muted, a tolling bell counting down the beat. I’ll bet it was tremendous to hear as the credits rolled at the end of this movie that relatively few people have seen.

After they completed the song, The Flaming Lips started playing around with other songs inspired by Ender’s Game. Well, sort of inspired, because none of the band had ever actually read the book. When first broached with the idea of writing the theme song, they were told it was “a bit like Harry Potter in outer space,” which is pathetically inaccurate. Wayne Coyne was given some clips from the end of the movie to work with, but I think the vision of these songs are all theirs. So the outcome of the new songs (which were not featured in the movie) was the EP Peace Sword, which also features the songs “Think Like a Machine, Not a Boy,” “Wolf Children,” “Assassin Beetle/The Dream is Ending,” “Is the Black at the End Good?,” and “If They Move, Shoot ‘Em.”

But the coolest part, perhaps, of this story is what happened between the band agreeing to do the song for the movie and the release of the EP. Wayne Coyne became very troubled by reports of Orson Scott Card’s very vocal and highly publicized homophobia and public tirades against marriage equality. He decided to arrange for the EP vinyl to be etched with “Hey Orson Scott Card You Are Wrong” on one side and “Gay People Are Cool” on the flip side.

No report as to Card’s response to the dig, though I’m sure The Flaming Lips couldn’t care less one way or the other.

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