A short while ago the daughter of MarionZimmer Bradley appeared before public and revealed having been abused as a child by her mother. This caused a variety on reactions throughout the internet. The US-author Adam-Troy Castro reacted on two posts on facebook. We found these reactions so remarkable, that we adressed and asked him for permission to publish them on Zauberspiegel. - We did get this permission.
This is how Castro reacted to one article:
Yeah, I know I've argued at length about separating the art from the artist, and it's an argument I will have again, sooner or later, but about somebody else. If that means I play favorites, or that I defend my principles more energetically when it's work I have an emotional connection to, well, I'm human; screw me.
This is not exactly me documenting that I contain multitudes.
But, yeah, while I know it's goddamned easy for me to relegate Marion Zimmer Bradley into the realm of the non-persons, because I never read any of her books, I was never a fan of hers, I never met her, I never sold a story to her magazine or any of her anthologies, and the most contact I ever had with her with was a couple of unmemorable slow-mail exchanges on entirely professional matters. From me this carries the moral weight of refusing to ever eat fried octopus eyes again. That's, you know, goddamned big of me. But beyond that: to hell with her.
The following reaction by Adam-Troy Castro to another text in the net is so remarkable that we wanted to present it to you to grapple with it and to discuss.
Gaaah. No. Sorry. Here I draw the line. Bullshit. No.
Look, recent evidence -- and some evidence a lot older than that -- establishes that Marion Zimmer Bradley was some kind of monster. And I have absolutely no problem with people saying so.
And while I may err on the side of separating the art from the artist, that’s not what I’m crying bullshit about here. So leave THAT debate out of this. Any responses that edge into that territory will be deleted from this thread, because they are not what I am talking about.
What I’m crying bullshit about -- and I say this as somebody who never had one ounce of curiosity or drive to read her work -- is the belief that, when you have the case that a given writer is a monster, you can always justify this retroactively by going back over a representative work and finding elements of evil in the text.
The reason this is bullshit is that if you are a storyteller, whether you manage that art while being a good human being or an awful one, you have tackled the subject of evil, and you have illustrated evil with examples.
I once shared a book of Bentley Little stories with a co-worker who read them all, loved them, and expressed the opinion that Little was a sick bastard who she hoped never had any access to children. I asked her, “What of the stories I’ve written that are just as quote-unquote sick?
Do you believe that of me?” She had no answer.
Jesus, what kind of human atrocities must you believe fill the lives of Stephen King? Of George R.R. Martin? Of Gillian Flynn? Of Neil Gaiman? Of Lee Child? Of David Morrell? Of Cody McFadyen? Of Lucy Taylor?
The world of fiction writing is filled with people who write the most innocuous, sweet, uplifting celebrations of humanity you ever read, who are in their real lives genuine bastards, and folks who fill their books with savage brutality who can think of no better way of spending an afternoon than cuddling puppies.
I promise you, just because I wrote a novella about a brother and sister whose parents put them in bondage gear and force them into gladiatorial combat, doesn’t mean I think that’s a good way to settle family differences. It was just a story. Good or bad, people, the name of the game is making shit up. That’s what we do.
Adam Troy Castro auf Facebook