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