About a year and a half ago, I began to look into the problems surrounding the late Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB), her connection to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and to science-fiction / fantasy fandom (SFFF). Specifically, I began to look at the problems of child sexual abuse in connection to MZB and her late husband Walter Breen. When dark whispers led me to my own backyard (proverbially) of Anniston, Alabama, my investigation simultaneously exploded in my face and came to a screeching halt.
I won’t name names here because all I have is anecdotal evidence, but when I began to dig, a lot of the information I received led me back to a particular person in SFFF. I can’t call this person a pedophile, but I can say I’ve heard very disturbing rumors. Specifically, these rumors center on a phenomenon that happened in the Atlanta-based SFFF scene prior to the formation of DragonCon. This person is somewhat connected to MZB and the SCA although, to my knowledge, not directly.
If anyone out there can help me, I’m curious about “the con within a con” events that may have involved DixieTrek and the Atlanta Fantasy Fair during the mid-to-late 1980s. As a journalist, I pledge to keep your involvement confidential. But I’ve hit a brick wall and am getting warnings from a lot of people that I need to stop digging, that I should let the dead rest in peace, and that some rabbit holes shouldn’t be followed. I can’t do that because I was tangentially involved in some of these events and my own memories of excitement and wonder surrounding some things are now darkened by the shadow of potential predation. (Specifically, I recall one writer telling me I should speak with him privately one evening and being given a room number and a specific time–1:00 A.M. I didn’t go to the meeting because I was only there on a day pass and now I’m glad I didn’t!)
There are good people out there who are worried about involving themselves in the dark and hideous past. Some of these people make their livelihoods in/on/from SFFF. I’m not out to harm anyone’s business nor try to dismantle fandom (because that’s impossible) but there’s a trail of middle-aged men and some women holding onto dark and terrible secrets, secrets of abuse and shame, that aren’t isolated. I’m not ready to call what happened to them a conspiracy, but a pattern is emerging and it’s terrifying in its implications and extent. Moreover, most of the people alleged to have been involved in these events are now dead.
I despise people who are cryptic without good reason, and I apologize for my own nebulousness in this matter. But if any of this resonates with you–if you think you know something and are ready to talk about it–use the contact form and send me an email. Again, I promise complete confidentiality and you do not have to use your real name. If you’re worried about being sued, know that most of the people involved (from what I’ve gathered) are now dead. Others have been isolated from fandom altogether.
I also wish to make it clear that organizers, leaders, and members of the SFFF cons and SCA are not being targeted by this. What I have learned thus far leads me to believe that there were bad actors abusing the well-intentioned plans of genuine fans and organizers. That is, what was going on at the cons I mentioned above was aberrant and not part of the goals, plans, or aspirations of the vast majority of organizers and attendees. Bad people often take advantage of good systems established by good people for good purposes.
Rick & Morty Spoilers
Even if you weren’t personally assaulted or molested, if something happened that just felt wrong or seemed inappropriate, I want to hear from you. In a certain sense, I feel like “Evil Morty” from the season finale of this last season of Rick & Morty–like I’m trying to bring down the Central Finite Curve and wreck a utopia some have built to shield themselves and the rest of us from a very ugly truth. But, as Jesus said in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”