“Jamaica” — Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the best-selling author of more than forty novels, including Ender’s Game, which was a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won both awards, making Card the only author to have captured science fiction’s two most coveted prizes in consecutive years. His most recent books include another entry in the Enderverse, Ender in Exile, and a sequel to his near-future political thriller Empire, Hidden Empire. He is currently working on The Lost Gates, the first volume of a new fantasy series.

One of Card’s recurrent themes in his fiction is precocious children whose superior intellect isolates them from their peers and brings them into conflict with dull-witted adult authorities, and whose exceptional abilities destine them for world-changing actions about which they may be reluctant or ignorant. (Most famously in Ender’s Game and its many sequels and companion novels.)

And in today’s storytelling landscape, in which parents are all too often kidnapped, deceased, or otherwise out of the picture—all the better to free up the kids to go adventuring—Card is resolute about writing about family and community and the ways in which those things shape us.

Card’s 2005 novel Magic Street is one such story, set in the Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles. It tells the tale of a very unusual boy named Mack Street who must face a lurking evil that has invaded his neighborhood. (A story set in this milieu, “Waterbaby,” is available on the author’s website.)

Our next story also involves many of Card’s storytelling signatures—an exceptionally bright young man, some very strange abilities, and a special destiny.