Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The horror of Marion Zimmer Bradley (some graphic content)

Earlier today I read some stuff about Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB) that's pretty difficult to read. I'm familiar with her work, as I'd cut my fantasy teeth on many of her works. I want to state outright that she contributed a LOT to the fantasy world. Nobody can deny that, but she did some pretty awful stuff that I hadn't heard about for the longest time because when people spoke about her, they spoke about MZB in these hushed, reverent tones.

What did she do, you ask?

First off, she was married to a convicted pedophile and by all accounts, she was fully aware that he was molesting several children of varying ages during their marriage. Apparently she knew that he was taking children into his bed but told people that she didn't think that he was molesting anyone because he was supposedly impotent. Part of me wishes I could go back in time and strangle her for that statement because MZB was a highly educated person and would be fully aware that molestation does not begin and end with the molester to achieve an erection. Or at least be aware that there are acts that one can perform on someone that does not include penile penetration or contact of any sort. MZB defended him in court and eventually divorced him, but it's fairly clear that she knew about everything even if you want to ignore part two of this.

Secondly, MZB's daughter has come forward and said that her mother was fully aware of everything and even moved one of her husband's victims to another apartment because her daughter complained. Her daughter also said that she was molested by MZB. Her mother began molesting her when she was three years old and continued until she was twelve. She only stopped because her daughter finally took action to stop the molestation. Her daughter also said that she was not her mother's only victim and that there were many, many others and that her mother had both male and female victims.

I'm more than a little horrified at how little attention this has received. I know that people are likely afraid that this will impact MZB's fanbase negatively and I can understand that. I know that despite loving her works as a child, I'll probably never read her stuff again. Her stuff got me through some dark points in my teenage years and I'm grateful for that, but we still need to acknowledge the allegations made against MZB. If we don't then we're essentially sending out the message that you can do whatever you want if you have enough fame, talent, and power (even in death).

This was all sparked by a post on Tor.com about MZB that has since been removed due to the criticism. There's a good timeline here and I'll post more links about it below. I just figured that I should write about this because it's so important that we recognize molestation and rape when it happens and we don't cover it up out of "respect for the dead" or because someone is very talented or powerful.

Here's the basic timeline:


  1. Tor.com posts a blog post about MZB's contributions to fantasy, but mentions nothing about her husband's molestation and how she essentially enabled him. Some people posted in the comments section, criticizing the article for not mentioning this, if even briefly. 
  2. Deidre Saorise Moen (DSM) posts an article about how important it is to discuss child molestation and rape, even if it is unpleasant. She is very critical of the Tor.com piece and highlights several rather horrifying Q&As where MZB discusses her husband's activities. 
  3. Tor.com takes their blog post down. A few blogs and websites post about this. 
  4. DSM gets in contact with Moira Goldin, MZB's daughter. She talks with her about everything and learns that MZB molested her daughter for several years, along with several other victims of different genders. 
  5. DSM gets permission from Moira to post her letter. Jim C Hines discusses it on his blog. A few more websites pick the story up, but nowhere near the amount that we got for say, some of the author meltdowns along the lines of Candace Sams or Jacqueline Howett. 





Further reading:

3 comments:

  1. I am aware that these are allegations and as of yet are not proven, but still- I'm surprised at how little attention it's getting in general.

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  2. ...wow. This is absolutely horrifying.

    I'm pretty involved in book communities, especially those involving fantasy, but this is the first time I've heard of this.

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  3. Same here. I remember reading her books quite a bit but never hearing about it until now.

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