When I first read last summer about the stomach-turning sexual crimes committed by two famous authors — and how fans and fellow writers excused those crimes and silenced the victims — I was repulsed beyond words. (Read more in The Guardian, and at a SFF writer’s blog.)
Now, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen‘s daughter, Moira Greyland, has told her story in her own words. (Read it here.) She is forthright, does not excuse her parents’ behavior, and makes no apologies– nor should she. I applaud Moira’s strength and honesty.
I attempted reading MZB’s books, because other writers kept recommending it, but I could never get past the beginning paragraphs, or — at the most — a page or two. So I was never a fan. However, since she was a respected writer, and since she helped found the Society for Creative Anachronism, I was rocked back on my heels by those initial articles.
The recent kerfuffle over the Hugo Awards stands in stark contrast: In the past, Bradley and Breem were enabled and, even if temporarily shunned, remained esteemed despite their crimes; however, some modern writers who are of a particular political, social, or religious bent have appeared to be shunted aside because they’re “incorrect” in their views.
No, I am neither making a statement about the Hugos nor inviting debate. I’m simply making a connection / contrast between incidents, decades apart, that have occurred within the literary community.
Despite its difficult revelations about child molestation and the far-reaching and often tragic effects on victims, Moira Greyland’s post is well worth the reading, and reminds us that talent does not excuse crime or abuse.