When your idol has feet of clay – and worse.

It always comes as bit of a disappointment when you find out that an author you look up to and admire the works of, turns out to be the poster child for views and ideologies that you personally despise. They might be racist, sexist, or homophobic, or all three for the complete bingo card.

Then comes the hard part of deciding whether you can separate the author from their works, and if you can how do you still enjoy their works without contributing to them personally by buying their books. You might decide that instead of buying the books, you will borrow them from the library or you will borrow them from friends.

Thankfully none (as far as I know) of my favourite authors have said or done anything too problematic, so I haven’t had to make the decision of what to do with all of my books by them, which is why I am currently feeling sorry for a lot of my online friends who have come face to face with the news that one of the most revered female fantasy authors of the last 50 years not only has feet of clay but those feet are mired in disgusting rotting piles of sewerage.

I am of course talking about Marion Zimmer-Bradley and the evidence that not only did she cover up for her then Husband Walter Breen, his numerous and long running child sexual abuse scandals, but that she actively participated in the ongoing sexual abuse of her own daughter.

And that it turns out that the entire enclave of writers/friends/the wider circle of fans and acquaintances of the time knew what was happening and they all just turned a blind eye to it, the excuses range from “it didn’t hurt the kids” to “they wont remember” and in some cases ‘they enjoyed it’

After reading the Breendoggle wiki which documents the evidence against Walter Breen and his arrest on child abuse charges, I was left feeling very very dirty and in need of brain bleach, not only for his actions but for the inaction of the SF writers and fandom who knew what was happening but were more worried about outward appearances than exposing a known paedophile within their midst.

The wiki contain somewhat graphic descriptions of abuse so bear that in mind if you read it.

The following link has the story and a link to the wiki,

http://radishreviews.com/2014/06/16/silence-is-complicity/

This link has a more comprehensive list of what is currently known

http://jimhines.livejournal.com/740267.html

If you are a fan of MZB what you do now is up to you, can you separate the writer as a person from the writer as an author of the books you love? I’m thankful I don’t have to work that one out.

 


An OB/GYN writes to George Will about college rape

Originally posted on Dr. Jen Gunter:

Dear Mr. Will,

I read your recent column on the “supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. sexual assault” and am somewhat taken aback by your claim that forcing colleges to take a tougher stand on sexual assault somehow translates into a modern version of The Crucible that replaces witchcraft with rape hysteria.

I was specifically moved to write to you because the rape scenario that you describe somewhat incredulously is not unfamiliar to me. Not because I’ve heard it in many different iterations (I have sadly done many rape kits), but because it was not unlike my own rape. The lead up was slightly different, but I too was raped by someone I knew and did not emerge with any obvious physical evidence that a crime had been committed. I tried to push him away, I said “No!” and “Get off” multiple times,” but he was much stronger and suddenly…

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My Mother’s Voice

My Mother’s Voice

Next to my bed is an old chest of drawers, it is a remnant of a very ancient and long since departed bedhead/side drawer combo, inside one of the drawers is a rectangular domed lid box, it is the remnant of what was in some dim distant past a box of handmade chocolates, inside the box are various little bits and bobs, remnants of things long long departed.

Inside the box is a little cassette tape, it is a cassette tape that fits inside an answering machine, an answering machine which is also long departed, it is also a remnant, but it’s one of my most prized possessions.

I haven’t listened to the tape in quite a long time, but I still remember it quite plainly.

“I’m going to pick up some bits at pieces at shopping, if you need something give me a ring back”

“I’ll drop in just before the kids get home from school after I’ve had a nap, shopping makes me tired”

“See you later, love you”

I don’t actually recall why I didn’t pick up the phone, perhaps I was in the toilet and missed it, or perhaps I was in the bathroom, or perhaps I just couldn’t be bothered.

“Love You”

It was early December and I had a brief thought that I hoped Mum wouldn’t do too much as the radiation therapy, tablets and the emphysema she had tired her out, but she was supposed to be getting better.

The Christmas card from her that year said that the coming year was going to be amazing and that she loved us all.

“Love You”

It was either April or May of that year and my Sister had some devastating news for me, the tests had come back and Mum had cancer, cancer of the bladder, which along with the emphysema was caused by five decades of heavy smoking.

The bottom dropped out of my world then, Mum went to hospital for radiation therapy, on tablets, some days were better than others, but she always had time for us.

“Love You”

There were trips to hospital to remove fluid from around her heart, but she managed to make it through and she told us she was getting better, she gave me this beautiful card for my birthday, I still have it, that’s also one of my prized possessions.

“Love You”

Christmas was supposed to be good one for us, time to celebrate to be together, Mum said she was going to spoil us all, all I wanted was for Mum to be well for Christmas.

“Love You”

It got later and later and Mum still hadn’t turned up, but I wasn’t that worried, I knew that shopping tired her out and perhaps she hadn’t felt like it after her nap, then the phone rang, Mum had collapsed at the shopping centre and was now in hospital.

When I got to see her she didn’t know me and couldn’t speak.

I went home and listened to the message again, taking in my Mums voice.

“Love You”

Mum never spoke to me again, I never heard her say she loved me, in the days that followed I listened to that message again and again.

I took the tape out of the machine for safety, I couldn’t have survived if anything had happened to that tape, on the day of her funeral I listened to it, on the day we scattered her ashes on the hill behind her house I listened to it.

“Love You”

As the months passed I didn’t need to listen to it as much, just knowing that I had it there if I needed it was enough.

When the machine broke and was replaced by a much newer model I was OK with that, because I can still hear my Mum in my head, I don’t need a tape to conjure up her voice.

Perhaps one day there might come a time when I can no longer remember what my Mum sounded like, then I will look into ways of getting the message and her voice off the tape and onto my computer.

“Love You”

My Mother’s Voice.


The more things change the more they stay the same

 

I originally wrote this sometime back in 1984; just after I started running my first BBS (Bulletin Board System) called somewhat imaginatively H.U.B. B (Hobart Users Bulletin Board). My BBS was one of the first public BBS’s in Tasmania, and I was one of the first female SysOps in Australia.
 
HUBB was run on a 512k double floppy Micro-Bee called Eric, the BBS program ran off a floppy disk and until I got a dedicated phone line it ran from our home phone from midnight to 7am daily. My users were a very dedicated bunch.
 

BBS’s were a very new phenomenon in the early 80’s and came with a whole new set of problems, especially if you were female, especially if you were young and female. BBS’s were a new thing and we were all new in it together, however it seems that some things were universal and it didn’t take long for sexism and misogyny to rear its ugly head. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.

 
All I have fixed is some of the grammar and a few of the more egregious spelling mistakes.
 
Dear fellow SysOps and Lusers,
 
You know it gets REALLY old very quickly when I hear from a lot of you that females should not be running BBS’s, BBS’s are solely for males, as only males understand how computers work, and how to make a bbs run properly, well let me tell you I’ve been running mine for six months now, ON MY OWN without male support and guess what, I’m doing a pretty bloody good job.
 
I know I am one of those rare beasts a female sysop but that doesn’t give you any god given right to assume that I am here for your amusement, in any way shape or form.
 
If I say hello to you at one of our meet-ups then I am just saying hello, I am not entering into a social contract with you that then entitles you to grope, fondle, touch or just generally act like an arsehole around my person.
 
If you had been a bunch of teenage boys then I might have excused the behaviour on the grounds that you didn’t know better, but you are mostly grown arsed men with wives and kids of your own!
 
Being a female sysop does not equate to me being there for your dirty jokes, your innuendo, subtle or otherwise, or even your upfront offers of a ‘good time’.
 
My breasts are a part of me, and have been for a good many years. I’m almost positive that most of you have seen breasts before and even touched some, but just because your wife/girlfriend lets you touch hers, does not give you blanket permission to touch mine.
 
The next person who gropes me with the excuse that you ‘wanted to see if they were real’ will get a swift kick to the balls with the excuse ‘I wanted to see if it really hurts’.
 
The next person who comes up behind me and slides his hands over my shoulders and down my breasts will get a swift elbow in the guts, closely followed by a slap on the face.
 
The next person who backs me up into a corner will also discover that elbows to the guts hurt quite a bit, and the next person who tells me to lighten up and that it’s all just a bit of harmless fun will probably get my drink thrown in their face.
 
I honestly don’t understand why some of you see me as such a threat, it’s not like Users are in that short supply that we have to fight over them, my BBS is not that much different from yours, we all offer the same things, so why are some of you so determined to trash my reputation, yes I’ve heard all the rumours that have been spread and all I can do is roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders. 
 
Just keep your hands to yourself.
 
SysGoddess H.U.B.B

10 things that made me cry today

Ten silly things, not the recent and so very sad things that have happened in the world/

1: My Cat was mean to me, she wouldn’t give me a cuddle

2: I slept in far later than I thought I did, I thought it was 10am, turns out it was midday

3: I didn’t get asked if I wanted a cup of tea

4: My tummy and sides hurt from all this coughing

5: I’m late

6: I miss my other kitty Nyx

7: My phone battery keeps on dying

8: I miss playing games like Ratchett and Clank and SSX Tricky

9: My room is super messy

10: My toe hurts


You win brain (trigger warning, rape)

I can go for weeks, months and sometimes whole years without ever having a conscious thought about when I was raped, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it, but like other unpleasant things that have happened in my life, I just choose not to dwell on it.
 
However there are times when my brain or my subconscious or whatever it is will take the matter into its own hands and serve me up a highly unpleasant reminder that comes out of nowhere and leaves an impression that lingers, almost as if it’s saying “you may have moved on. but I NEVER FORGET”.
 
Last night was a case in point, I was having one of those dreams that I seem to get a lot of lately, the one where I am still in hospital and I wake up and I realise that I have been dreaming the whole time about being at home, those dreams while annoying only make me feel slightly ill at ease, and the feelings I get from those don’t linger long.
 
So I woke myself up, reassured myself that yes I was actually AT home, in my own bed, with the cat and that it was just a dream in a dream and drifted back off to sleep, where I slipped into a dream about my Nan’s old house, which wasn’t quite my Nan’s house but enough so that it was very familiar, I like these dreams because in them I invariably see all the people I have loved and lost, my Mum, Nan and Lesley, which while it makes me sad also makes me happy, memories of happier times.
 
This time it was different, the facade was my Nan’s house but once I went inside I realised to my horror that inside it was the little out of the way class room at the old Tech college, the one I used to eat my lunch in and listen to my music and read, the one I thought was safe because it was out of the way and not used anymore.
 
I tried to wake myself up because of all the things that I don’t wish to keep on reliving, being raped rates as number one, but all my usual tricks wouldn’t work, and thanks to my brain I got to relive it all again in full glorious colour and sound, every moment of sheer terror, pain and disgust, all over again.
 
Then as if my brain hadn’t had enough of torturing me with that particular bit, it took me on a whirlwind tour of every single bad decision I made following the attack, the dropping out of school, the failed suicide attempt, the arrival of panic attacks and agoraphobia, every single one in a non stop hit parade of bad decisions.
 
When I finally managed to wake up I was panting, crying and working my way up to a full blown panic attack the first one in months and months, I was also alone in the house, I have never felt more alone than at that moment, I grabbed my cat and held on, telling myself to breathe, I’m quite proud of that, I shut that shit down before it could take hold.
 
I’ve been on edge all day, and I’m not looking forward to sleeping tonight, you win brain, you’re the boss.
 

Not “just a cat”

Not “just a cat”.


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