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Author Topic: How does Real Life affect your enjoyment of authors? (Trigger warning)  (Read 746 times)

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Offline AllieCatTopic starter

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse of Minors

I came across some information this week that shocked and sickened me about one of my favorite fantasy authors.. and I'm curious how other people would react in such cases...

We know in cases like Orson Scott Card (political views) or Piers Anthony (Child sexuality) it damages their enjoyment of their reading, or reduces the desire to read further material by them, but in this case, it's an author I HAD enjoyed reading greatly, until I came across this information.

I read the Avalon and Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley growing up.. more like devoured it.. really shaped me in some ways in growing up.

But then this week to find out that not only did she cover up the sexual abuse of children by her husband (going so far to tell her husband that she would divorce him if he was arrested AGAIN for child molestation)... which I never knew about but is apparently known by more than a few in the fantasy/scifi fandom)... but this week, Bradley's daughter said that she had been abused by Bradley herself for 9 years.. I'm.. sick to my stomach. Soul sick even.

http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/

Offline Oniya

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I can completely identify with this one.  I've got a ton of Darkover books on my shelf.  Only - a friend of mine and his wife were at a convention once, where the GoH's were MZB and John Norman.  (Whatta combo, right?)  My friend and his wife were holding on to opposite ends of a rubber chain to not get separated in the autograph 'line'.  It wasn't fixed to them - either one could have let go of it at any time.  Nevertheless, when they got up to her table, she gave them this look and said they would be better off in the other line (to John Norman) and wouldn't sign the book they'd brought.

Seriously squelched my enjoyment of her works, even before she went into the 'all men are bad' stage.

Offline Callie Del Noire

I never got into Darkover myself.. but I had read a lot of her short stories as a kid and young adult as well as reading her Sword and Sorceress' anthology. It got me started with Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series..and from there I moved further a afield.

I try to seperate the work from policial views of the author's unless it's very blatant.. but things like molestation (and the covering up of it) is a bit beyond my capacity to seperate author and work

Online Thesunmaid

I was actually involved and thankfully did not have children with a guy who was arrested for having the largest collection of child porn in Canada found up to that date.

I am not sure if I can read the darkover books. I admit I have not heard of them but now...not so sure if I can really read them knowing that.

Although I admit with Anne Rice...she does not seem to know what she believes spiritually....and with Stephan King...as terrible as this sounds...he was a better writer when he was a raging alcoholic.Now he just sort or rambles. I was reading a book called Duma Key...i was 3/4ths through the book and I still has absolutely no idea what the book was about.

Offline roulette

It's dangerous to learn about your heroes.

I hate to learn really anything about anyone I like. I was about to list examples, but I wouldn't want to ruin the same things for other people. >> Like ultimately I guess I should consider not supporting people who do bad things and therefore wanting to know, but still.

I haven't read her books yet. They're on my to read list. Whether I read them or not, I'm getting them from the library, so it's not as though I'm supporting her in any way. But now I probably won't read them because even if I want to, this is what I'll think about the entire time.

Offline DemonessOfDeathValley

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This topic is exactly why I don't really go 'out of my way' to learn about most heroes. However, I tend to look past what they did (provided it wasn't/isn't too horrid). For instance, I read Stephen King for years and knew he was an alcoholic. That really didn't change my perception of his writing. And I could care less about Anne Rice's spiritual beliefs.

That said, if someone I admired and or enjoyed their work (art, literature, movies, etc...) were to have done something like it appears Marion Zimmer Bradley did, I couldn't look past that. There's a clear line between someone who might believe differently than me, but is not hurting anyone (I'm speaking in the case of different views on a variety of topics from politics to religion and anything in between), someone who has an addiction or acts out in public (Charlie Sheen anyone) and someone accused of hurting children or causing intentional harm to anybody for that matter. If it was proven that they had in fact perpetrated the crime, I wouldn't be able to enjoy their work any longer.

Offline Valthazar

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I don't think anyone can be the embodiment of respect and honor in all aspects of their lives.  People have vices and short-comings, and some people unfortunately end up breaking the law.  That's why I avoid labeling someone on a broad level as a "hero," and rather, respect individuals for the specific things they do which are deserving of admiration.

Like those outstanding athletes who end up beating their girlfriends and wives.  I admire them for their work ethic, and disrespect them for their violence.

Offline Oniya

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There's a real difference between 'not being perfect' and 'doing something utterly stomach-churning'.  No, I do not admire star athletes who beat their significant others, on or off the field.  And when it comes to harming the defenseless, all bets are off. 

Offline roulette

Well, I must say I feel a lot better about liking somewhat racist actors.

Offline DemonessOfDeathValley

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For me, it depends heavily on the nature of the offense, why it supposedly occurred, how it occurred, how many times and how long ago.

I feel it's pertinent to point out that I've been a fan of Jeff Hardy for many years. While I am aware of the mistakes he's made in his life (drug addiction) I still enjoy watching him in the ring and writing fanfiction with him as a character.


Offline Monkeys Razor

It's sometimes difficult, depending on what I have learnt about them that I disagree with and also what they write about. Obviously anyone who is a child molester is off my reading list as a matter of morality.

But other things like Political differences or if they have certain religious views, anything that is just different to what I believe but not illegal as such then I just take it as I go along really, it's not a black and white issue for me unless the author has done something really terrible as I stated above.

Authors are people too and they will have different views and might have even made mistakes, so I am pretty ok with flaws and/or differences generally speaking.


Offline Lux12

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Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse of Minors

I came across some information this week that shocked and sickened me about one of my favorite fantasy authors.. and I'm curious how other people would react in such cases...

We know in cases like Orson Scott Card (political views) or Piers Anthony (Child sexuality) it damages their enjoyment of their reading, or reduces the desire to read further material by them, but in this case, it's an author I HAD enjoyed reading greatly, until I came across this information.

I read the Avalon and Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley growing up.. more like devoured it.. really shaped me in some ways in growing up.

But then this week to find out that not only did she cover up the sexual abuse of children by her husband (going so far to tell her husband that she would divorce him if he was arrested AGAIN for child molestation)... which I never knew about but is apparently known by more than a few in the fantasy/scifi fandom)... but this week, Bradley's daughter said that she had been abused by Bradley herself for 9 years.. I'm.. sick to my stomach. Soul sick even.

http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/
I now want to burn her books, not to censor them or protest the ideas therein, but to protest her as a human being and hope that as she feels the full sting of karma in hell she knows that copies of her writings are being fed to flame. There's a massive difference between otherwise decent human beings grappling with serious personal issues and have made mistakes and monsters. There are not words in any mortal tongue for the disgust I feel.

So yes, there are some authors I refuse to read or have serious problems reading because of who they are in reality and their actions. It's the reason I cannot read Orson Scott Card, Philip Pullman, Ayne Rand, C.S. Lewis, Terry Goodkind, and John Norman. That said I do not compare Lewis or Pullman's viewpoints to such abominable deeds.  I may find the view points of those listed here appalling or against what I believe to be right, but I will not say they are worse than this.

Some acts, I simply cannot forgive. Any man who strikes the one they claim to love is one I cannot look kindly upon. Those who hurt children and animals in my eyes are beyond the realm of my forgiveness.  Rapists I hold in even lower regard.

This being said, if the author has passed out of this world I have an easier time reading it knowing that they shall not profit in terms of monetary incentives or gain benefit from any possible notoriety obtained. This is not one of those cases.

Offline Oniya

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This being said, if the author has passed out of this world I have an easier time reading it knowing that they shall not profit in terms of monetary incentives or gain benefit from any possible notoriety obtained. This is not one of those cases.

She died in 1999.

Offline Lilias

She died in 1999.

And, for all we know, the profits from any sales of MZB's books, at least those before the 90s, are going to Moira and her brother.

Offline Lux12

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She died in 1999.
I also said that there are some cases that are an exception to the rule. Her actions were too vile for me to consider it.

Offline roulette

I'm a bit stunned because her books are supposedly extremely feminist. Or at least very female-centric and I've really been looking to read some good Woman-Fantasy. :(

Offline Oniya

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She has the dubious honor of writing one of the few books I have ever put down.  I started reading 'Firebrand' and couldn't get through the 'men are the root of all evil' vibe.  I'd recommend Mercedes Lackey's Oathbound duology or Arrows of the Queen series (both set in the Valdemar universe) for a much better (and more balanced) female-centric fantasy.

Offline ofDelusions

I am staying away from Mercedes Lackey because of her answer to the question of whether she could include a transgender character in her books at some point. It wasn't overly transphobic just incredible stupid and ignorant.

" A wider audience wants to see a character with problems that are solvable; in amodern or sf context, a transgendered person could solve the situation with surgery, genetic modification, body-swap, or whatever. Those options are not available to a fantasy author." This is part of her reply. And I hear than in one of her books a man gets turned into a woman by magic, and the narrative immediately switches to using femine pronouns despite the character's protests that he is a man and then he immediately gets raped.

But yeah, its minor compared child molestion etc, but its enough to keep me away.

Offline Oniya

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Which book would that be?  The ones I'd read of hers were very open-minded.

(To be honest, if I'd been at the Q&A where she said that, I would have recited the corollary of Clarke's Law:  Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.  And pfff to body-swaps not existing in a fantasy context.  Andre Norton did it in Moon of Three Rings, and there was no tech involved in the transfer.)

Offline AllieCatTopic starter

And, for all we know, the profits from any sales of MZB's books, at least those before the 90s, are going to Moira and her brother.

Actually, all the royalties that go to the estate go to MZB's partner, not her children.

Offline Lilias

Actually, all the royalties that go to the estate go to MZB's partner, not her children.

Actually, all the royalties of her collaborative novels, like all those she wrote with Deborah Ross and Diana Paxson in the 90s, reverted to the collaborators on MZB's death. (Only fair, as they were essentially ghostwritten.)

Offline ofDelusions

Which book would that be?  The ones I'd read of hers were very open-minded.

(To be honest, if I'd been at the Q&A where she said that, I would have recited the corollary of Clarke's Law:  Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.  And pfff to body-swaps not existing in a fantasy context.  Andre Norton did it in Moon of Three Rings, and there was no tech involved in the transfer.)

Sorry I do not know the exact book.

Online Neysha

Unless they like killed or raped or beat people without provocation, I could really care less about the politics of authors (or actors/musicians etc) if their work is done for entertainment purposes.

Or ya know,  they're smug and arrogant like Jesse Eisenberg or Kanye West. Acting like an asshole annoys me more then someone who is a closet Islamophobe or whatever.  I'm indifferent to being a member of the thought police. But even then it's more mild gossiping and cracking jokes about celeb assholes as opposed to boycotting them.

I feel the same way about businesses. Unless they're assholes in consumer service or funding Al Qaeda, I probably won't care.

Offline Ruhinn

MZB was the author that got me into fantasy fiction. I admired her so much for so many years. Her books were so precious in my childhood. Knowing what I know now, I just can't handle reading anything of hers. I've thrown away whatever I had.

I do judge artists by their actions as well as their art. I can't tolerate turning a blind eye to true violence.