Recently, there have been some revelations about the late Marion Zimmer Bradley. These revelations leave me in a very strange place, personally.
I first started writing seriously in the late 80’s and started getting to within “shooting distance” of professional quality in the early 90’s.
Ms. Bradley was one of my “writing mentors” in the latter part of that time. At that stage of my career there were two people who would talk to me–Stan Schmidt at Analog (who had just bought my story “The Future is Now”) and Marion Zimmer Bradley (who had bought my story “Jilka and the Evil Wizard”). It was her anthology series “Sword and Sorceress” that got me to try my hand at shorter fantasy and, in fact, really writing fantasy at all. Oh, I had a novel in progress at the time, but it was really a one-off inspired by, well, reasons. Everything else I wrote before encountering the Sword & Sorceress series was Science Fiction.
A particularly ironic instance, given later revelations, was a “Middle reader” book I wrote. Taking advice from a book on writing I’d written, I sought out some “established writers” who would be willing to look at it and write testimonials. Most of the folk I’d approached either ignored me (and justly so) or set me straight that that was bad advice. Ms. Bradley was the only one to agree to look at the book. And, in the end, she wrote a brief “blurb” of the kind that one might put on the cover of a book.
So, in my files, I have a letter from Ms. Bradley offering modest praise of a book that I wrote (and which, to date, has not been published. A children’s book.
It was Ms. Bradley actually encouraging a lot of my work in Fantasy, that got me writing fantasy. She never ended up buying another story before I returned to school and dropped out of writing much of anything until the past few years. By the time I returned to writing, she was gone and the first wave of stuff about the past (which made it look more like she was deeply in denial, or perhaps “co-dependent” about her then partner’s behavior). But she’s why I have written, and sold, several fantasy stories.
So, as a writer, I actually owe quite a bit to the late Ms. Bradley.
Now, I don’t know the truth of the allegations about her. People that I have reason to trust, give them a great deal of credence. I don’t plan to investigate for myself. She’s been dead for fifteen years. For those harmed by her actions I hope they find whatever healing they need to live happy lives of their own.
But I will say this. If the allegations are true then if she were still alive and tried to do any of the stuff now laid at her feet to my daughter I would kill her with my own hands.
Like I said, a very strange place.