I posted something in November in haste, and I regret breaking one of my own rules in doing so.
That rule is: rely on your own research when calling people out.
Another thing I’ve become aware of since the Marion Zimmer Bradley story: I actually have a significant platform and need to be careful how I wield it.
Further, we were on sippy cup internet that week (like GPRS every once in a while) and, by the time we got back to normal internet, much of the context was already lost. So it wasn’t that easy to go back and see what happened.
Then a writer of color linked to a piece on the subject that made me think I’d been backing the wrong horse. But it needed research and I was sick, so I put it off. Sadly, that piece has since disappeared, as has another piece it pointed to.
I then added an update to this original post, but didn’t amplify it further, because I wasn’t sure what to say.
So I’m left with a gnarly mess where most of what I really need in order to get the big picture—is incomplete and temporally inconvenient.
First, let me say this: it’s always appropriate to call me out. I’m pointed and direct, so that can be intimidating, but I will always respect it.
I’m left with the distinctly discomfiting feeling that I should know more about what happened than I do.
I apologize to all I’ve hurt in this, directly and indirectly.
(There’s more I wanted to say, but I’m just amazingly tired and in pain, and I need sleep too badly.)
If you wish to comment anonymously here, others have used an email address of email@example.com. It’s always moderated, and moderation may take a day or two over the next couple of weeks. Obviously, I get your IP address, but I have no intention of using it.
For those who don’t know, Requires Hate was a book reviewer—of sorts. And so much more. Laura J. Mixon analyzes.
In many other situations book reviewers are simply and only book reviewers, e.g., this review and set of progress comments from Blythe that led to Kathleen Hale’s self-admitted stalking, leading to the #HaleNo backlash.
Here’s RHB’s MO:
Using one of her pseudonyms, RHB begins chatter about a writer or a social-justice topic on her blog, a forum such as LiveJournal, or on Twitter. She uses increasingly obscene and insulting language against her target(s). This is done to goad the target (or their supporters, or a particular community) into responding sharply. In their responses RHB finds words or phrases she can re-cast as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or colonialist (sometimes they actually are those things, but for her purposes it doesn’t matter).
For instance, rachelmanija, a commenter on the Livejournal community 50 Books POC, told Requires Hate (as Winterfox) that it was inappropriate to call Chinese-American author Cindy Pon a “stupid fuck.” Rachelmanija added that the standards at 50 Books POC were different from those of 4chan (a community where anything goes). In response, Requires Hate accused rachelmanija of being racist and implying that Winterfox was a Nazi, because 4chan was a cesspit of Nazis and white supremacists.
Often RHB will then begin to pursue the person she has decided to target, issuing multiple vituperative posts or death threats on blogs they frequent, and/or on Twitter, and/or in the online forum where she first targeted them. She then erases—at the very least—the most violent and abusive comments and posts, leaving the target reeling but with no visible proof that the threat occurred. Often, she deletes everything. Therefore not many screencaps of her worst abuses exist.
However, I received numerous screencaps that had been recovered by her targets or witnesses, and I was also able to obtain copies of a portion of RHB’s now-deleted content via The Wayback Machine. In addition, I received independent emails from both targets and witnesses confirming the substance of the death, rape, maiming, and dismemberment threats RHB has been accused of.
I believe reviews are sacrosanct. However, I believe stalking and threats are not.
Much like Kathleen Hale, Requires Hate is a case where she was doing the stalking, then ironically accusing the other party of doing so.
As Mixon documents, her targets have been largely of color and women, two groups that are already under-represented.
Therefore, as far as award consideration goes, Benjanun Sriduangkaew unfortunately goes in the Sin Bin along with a handful of others. I won’t nominate for awards, and the Sin Binners will be the last I read for award consideration (and not just in that category; on the entire ballot). I still believe the work stands alone, so if I genuinely think it ranks first, that’s where I’ll vote it. That’s never happened so far, though.
Our genre has always had a soft spot for sharp-tongued souls. The person who speaks embarrassing truths has an honored—if discomfiting—place at the dinner table, in our SFF Island of Misfit Toys.
I honor such people (and in fact am one of them)—but only up to a point.
At one point, I read a post about the Requires Hate controversy from the perspective of a writer or reader of color, and it was interesting, and, after reading it, I felt guilty linking to the above without also amplifying a voice of color’s perspective on it. I was traveling at the time, and I appear not to have saved the link. (I remember it being tweeted by Naamen Tilahun, but attempts to look at his Twitter stream don’t go back far enough.)
However, I found this thoughtful post from K. Tempest Bradford, so I’m linking to that, as it brings up one of the points I’d been feeling guilty about with respect to this specific controversy.
In general, I have not been receipt gathering. I value the people who do that work, it’s just not something I think to do. But I shouldn’t have piled on without digging deeper, either. I try to do my own research, and when I can’t, I try to limit my commentary to the part of a controversy I actually understand. This is a case where I exceeded that. I think it’s valuable for me to preserve what I originally wrote, but also valuable for me to fess up.
It was just under a year ago that Eugie Foster broke open a dam with her plea for people to buy her work, but not the Norilana editions. She was fighting cancer, an aggressive form.
Unfortunately, the treatments she’s gotten, including radiation, several courses of chemo, and stem cell therapy, weren’t enough to save her life.
Sadly, she died today.
If you don’t know Eugie’s work, she was an amazing writer with a Nebula award and a hundred-ish publishing credits to her name. Link below.
Her last published story is, “When it Ends, He Catches Her,” published in Daily Science Fiction.
Matthew M. Foster said:
Eugie Foster, author, editor, wife, died on September 27th of respiratory failure at Emory University in Atlanta.
In her forty-two years, Eugie lived three lifetimes. She won the Nebula award, the highest award for science fiction literature, and had over one hundred of her stories published. She was an editor for the Georgia General Assembly. She was the director of the Daily Dragon at Dragon Con, and was a regular speaker at genre conventions. She was a model, dancer, and psychologist. She also made my life worth living.
Memorial service will be announced soon.
We do not need flowers. In lieu of flowers, please buy her books and read them. Buy them for others to read until everyone on the planet knows how amazing she was.
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) September 27, 2014
— Daily Dragon (@daily_dragon) September 27, 2014
New Post: Saying Goodbye to Eugie Foster http://t.co/du5hz3ymSR
— Jim C. Hines (@jimchines) September 27, 2014
Eugie Foster is one of the writers I think of whenever I wonder if Speculations did any good. (Yes, it did.) http://t.co/ChmEbxvRIu
— Kent Brewster (@kentbrew) September 27, 2014
— Jason Sanford (@jasonsanford) September 27, 2014
Wondering why your feeds are exploding with grief over Eugie Foster? She was one of our best writers…and one of our best people.
— Jaym Gates (@jaymgates) September 27, 2014
May she never be forgotten.
From William H. Patterson’s book Robert A. Heinlein, Vol 2: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better, p. 263.
At just that moment, in fact, science-fiction fandom was tearing itself apart over the preemptive cancellation of the membership of a suspected pedophile by PacifiCon, the most recent world science-fiction convention, in September 1964. This conflict might have passed the Heinleins by, except that the suspected pedophile was the husband of one of Heinlein’s more intimate correspondents, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Heinlein never commented on the “Breen Boondoggle” publicly, but to Bradley Heinlein wrote:
The fan nuisance we were subjected to was nothing like as nasty as the horrible things that were done to you two but it was bad enough that we could get nothing else done during the weeks it went on and utterly spoiled what should have been a pleasant, happy winter. But it resulted in a decision which has made our life much pleasanter already and which I expect to have increasingly good effects throughout all the years ahead. We have cut off all contact with organized fandom….I regret that we will miss meeting some worthwhile people in the future as a result of this decision. But the percentage of poisonous jerks in the ranks of fans makes the price too high; we’ll find our friends elsewhere.
Fortunately, not all their fan contacts were so unpleasant.
You know, I’ve never been a Heinlein fan either, but this takes my non-fandom to new depths. Guess they never cared how pleasant the winter of the kids would be. Patterson’s a piece of work, too.
For context, Mark D. Eddy adds:
For context, though, Heinlein had already had a series of negative experiences with fans and conventions (including a fan who was harassing friends and family to try to write an unauthorized biography for a publisher Heinlein wouldn’t write for), and was already distancing himself from the “poisonous jerks” — so all he apparently knew about the situation was filtered through MZB, who was hardly an uninterested party.
Which is a fair point. While it’s always good to get as much of both sides of the story as possible, there’s a real human failing believing the predator’s side of the story. (See also: STK’s comment on the deirdre.net version of this entry.)
Hat tip: RPG.net commenter The Scribbler.
Note: I’m also tagging all of the posts with the breendoggle tag to make it easier to find in the future.
Also: When asked, Can this be true? The MZB click thrus are upsetting., Deborah J. Ross, author of many books set in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover universe, replied, Only half the story is being told. Please be careful about believing sensationalist rumors online.
Note: I’ve edited out a couple of paragraphs from the original post as Deborah has apologized for her ill-considered tweet.
In light of that apology, I’ve deleted my unnecessarily harsh snark but am leaving the context above intact.
Most of you reading this will have no idea who Jackie Barbosa is. Nor who her son is.
Jackie’s a romance writer. Last week, her teenage son was driving to school and struck by an oncoming car. Dear Author mention is here, including link to a fundraiser.
I don’t know Jackie, but I do know what it’s like to have a husband suddenly die, and it really and truly sucks.
So, what I’m asking: here’s her booklist. If any of those are your cuppa, consider reading a sample and see if it’s something you want to buy and read the rest of. If you know other people who might like her work, consider telling them about her stuff.
She has a blog about publishing matters (she is a hybrid author, meaning both published traditionally and self-published). You might wish to read that. Like, for example, this post about metadata ownership concerns in publishing contracts. So, even if you don’t care about the romance genre, if you write, there may be something of interest to you in there. Maybe even if you don’t write.
From my own experience and that of others I’ve known in grief support groups since my first husband’s death, it’s going to take 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years to be fully productive again. I don’t know how many of you read the linked Esquire article in my recent MH 370 blog post, but part of what was disturbing about it for me was how the article really communicated how differently people grieve and how that can drive a wedge between family members when someone dies. And in the case of that article, between parents who’d lost a child.
I wish her (and her family) the best.
Update: Kensington has put one of her books on sale until 4/1. Link has details.
Last night, Rick and I went to Borderlands Books for the launch of Seanan McGuire’s book One Salt Sea.
Now, it’s not just a reading, it’s an event. We stayed for two of the three musical sets plus the Q&A session. Sadly, by that time, we were hungry, so we left before the actual reading part of the evening.
It was awesome fun. If you get the chance to see one of these events of Seanan’s just go.