Lost Boys

From Academic Kids

This article is about a novel; there is also an unrelated 1987 movie named The Lost Boys.

Lost Boys is a novel and short story by Orson Scott Card set in the 1980s.

Novel

The novel revolves around a former game programmer and his family. Step Fletcher, a devout Mormon, moves his wife and three children (Stevie (8), Robbie (4) and Elizabeth (toddler)) cross-country from Utah to North Carolina so he can start a new job as a technical writer. Fletcher must deal with several unpleasant situations. His boss is greedy and manipulative, Stevie's teacher hates the boy, and one of his co-workers is a pedophile. Meanwhile, his new house is periodically being invaded by hordes of insects, and his Stevie becomes withdrawn, playing only with his imaginary friends. As Stevie's group of friends grows, his parents become increasingly concerned and eventually take him to a psychologist, against their better judgment. Then they see a newspaper article about young boys who are disappearing. The names of Stevie's imaginary friends are the same as the missing children.

Major spoiler: At the end of the novel, Stevie figures out who has been kidnapping and killing the children and confronts the man. Because of this, Stevie is murdered and hidden in the crawlspace beneath the Fletchers' house -- with all of the other missing children. He manages to appear to his family and helps all of the others to do so as well. The other boys' parents are called, and each one says goodbye and disappears. The molester (not the same man that Step works with, incidentally) is arrested, and the bodies of the boys are removed from under the house. Stevie says goodbye to his family and vanishes as well.

Short story

Like many of Card's works, the novel is an expansion of the short story "Lost Boys" which can be found in his short story compilation Maps in a Mirror. In the short story version, Card assumes Fletcher's role as the protagonist. Some minor plot details are different as well in this story, such as the protagonist's occupation (an editor for a computer game magazine) and the story is told from a first-person perspective instead of the novel's third-person perspective. Though he refers to many real events (such as his writing of Ender's Game), the short story is also completely fictional. Because of his use of himself and his real occupation, real locations and real people, Card had to append a special note stating that the story is fictitious.

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