Award-Winning Monster

1. It was revealed the other day that Marion Zimmer Bradley was not just an enabler of Walter Breen, her second husband the pedophile, but that she was a pedophile herself. She apparently raped children of both sexes, as did her husband. Her daughter also revealed that Bradley occasionally beat her up, partially drowned her, choked her, etc., as well as raping her and her brothers, foster-children, child visitors, etc. So basically a cozy little Berkeley house full of rape and torture. Since a fair number of Bradley’s friends were in and out of the house at all hours, one can doubt that they all knew nothing about it, although there was also a lot of drug use, which was awfully convenient. Here’s what was known when Breen was finally sent to prison, from the case records.

But both Breen and Bradley are dead, and only one of them died in prison; and frankly, that’s lucky for them because they should have been strung up. There aren’t that many husband and wife rape teams out there, but it does happen every so often. Still, this is a case for the true crime books. An extremely creepy case.

2. This week, there was placed on the Internet the sf-history-famous but never-before-available 1963 letter explaining why some of Berkeley fandom wanted Bradley’s husband out of local fandom, before she even married him (and brought her twelve-year-old son along as a handy victim). It revealed that heck yeah, there was plenty known against Breen in 1963, and certainly enough to call the cops on him. Furthermore, it revealed that among a wide variety of well-known fans of the day who were sent the letter, none of them called the cops, although they did sign off on the agreement to ban Breen from a big convention. Other signatories from across the country may or may not have known the extent of what was known against him. I knew a couple of them in their later years, and I hope to hell they didn’t know it all, because it sucks away a lot of my respect for them if they did.

As a gutpunch, I knew (as an acquaintance) at least one of the people who received the original letter. He is dead now, which is a good thing, because what kind of freaking spineless child-sacrificing moron DOESN’T CALL THE COPS!??

Fandom has not served its children well. There is no way to make this crap up to the victims, except perhaps by ceasing to obscure the matter.

3. My mom says there was a story about this on the national news this morning, during one of the morning shows, but apparently the story is invisible to search engines. Google News only shows news stories about it in Italian. Somebody must have one heck of a lawyer.

4. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is routinely assigned in classes. Do not do this.

5. A few of the authors who were published in Bradley anthologies have recently announced that they have donated the amount of their earnings to charities that aid victims of child rape. This seems like a good idea.

Janni Lee Simner

(Tiny aside:

(For years, there’s been a story going around about “a fan” who sued Bradley, or who cruelly dared to negotiate with Bradley, when Bradley wanted to use big chunks of the fan’s invented fanfic backstory for a new Darkover novel. It turns out that “a fan” was Jean Lamb, who was already a published fiction and non-fiction writer at the time, and who just asked her agent to iron out some clear terms. (It was Bradley who freaked out. As you would expect from a violent pedophile, she had pretty serious control issues, and this was apparently well-known among people who knew her personally.) So basically, Bradley told a lot of self-serving lies even in business matters, and a lot of her fans were willing to go along with her view of things, even in business matters.)

6. Sales of Bradley books do not benefit any of the Bradley children. All royalties go to a trust which benefits Elisabeth Waters, who was Bradley’s live-in secretary/other. She knew a great deal about all this crap, judging by her deposition. So yeah, probably best not to fund her.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Award-Winning Monster

  1. Reblogged this on Head Noises and commented:
    Just… horrifying.

    Suddenly not sorry I never got around to Mists.

    • And I’m not sorry that I never broke page 100 of that miserable book written by a more miserable author! Who would have expected her to be so immoral? Well, one never can tell I suppose.

      • I think it’d be less horrible if not for the coverup and how long it went on…and what it suggests about some other folks, too.

        Just….wow.

  2. Wow, so the whole “Don’t read your FanFic or someone will try to demand half your royalties and co-authorship” is a myth out of the same source?

  3. The letter really sickened me. The venal carbuncle of a human being fretting about how dealing with this will disrupt fan politics is monstrous itself.

  4. kaonevar

    I posted a blog about this today (http://www.ravenoak.net/archives/1334) having just found out about it.:/
    She was someone I looked up to growing up because writing in SF/F was such a man’s world back then. I had no idea of the monster she was. It’s sad to know this, knowing how much her daughter suffered while most people were blissfully ignorant.
    I agree that you can’t separate things like this. Not when it comes to child abuse, etc.
    Thanks for sharing the bit about her royalties. That was something I did not know.

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