With only a few exceptions, my posts are family-friendly. If they were movies, most would be rated PG-13 or lower. Not this one. Consider it a hard R. The content to follow deals with sexual predation of children and is not suitable for younger readers. Some adults might want to take a pass on this one as well. You have been warned.
“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
Jesus Christ, Luke 17:2 (NKJV)
The Last Closet
ebook, $ 5.99
Moira Greyland, in case you didn’t know, is the only daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB) and Walter Breen. MZB was a lauded feminist science fiction and fantasy author, best known for The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Breen was regarded as one of the foremost numismatists in the country.
Breen was convicted of child molestation and died in prison in the early 90s. Breen had been a known pedophile for decades. He was banned from a Worldcon (Pacificon II) in the early 1960s because of his behavior around children. This was quite controversial at the time. A large number of fans didn’t think he should have been banned. A number publicly stated that they didn’t think the children had suffered any harm from Breen.
My, how times have changed. Now we have codes of conduct, microaggressions, safe spaces, and expulsions based on one person’s say-so.
None of this information about Breen is a big secret. What has come to light more recently is that MZB was also a child molester, and according to Greyland, she was worse.
About two and a half years ago, Deidre Moen took issue with a profile of MZB that either Tor Books or Tor.com had published because it didn’t mention her association with Breen. Moen contacted Moira Greyland for confirmation that MZB had known about Breen’s abuse of young boys. Greyland confirmed that her mother had been fully aware that her father had been molesting boys and added the unexpected information that MZB had molested her repeatedly from the ages of three to twelve.
The Last Closet is Moira Greyland’s memoir about the abuse she suffered from her mother, her father, and other adults that ran in their circles. It is not an easy book to read. But it is an important book, one that deserves to be read. One that needs to be read.
I won’t go into detail. That’s not my story to tell. I will say that I was angry, I was sickened, I was disgusted, and I was shocked. There were times when my heart broke as Greyland described some of the things that had been done to her. Not that she went into detail in every instance. Thankfully, she declined to describe some things. But what she did describe…The business about the bathtub was harrowing. I wanted to throw up.
Most of the central characters in this story are dead. I wanted to hire a necromancer to revive them so I could kill them, I was so angered by what they had done.
In spite of the horror and depravity, this story is ultimately one about about survival, forgiveness, and healing. Many children who are molested grow up to molest in turn. MZB was repeatedly raped by her father.
Yet Moira Greyland didn’t turn out that way. She credits her secret conversion to Christianity as a teenager for helping her cope and for giving her the strength to turn Breen (her father) into the police when she caught him molesting an eleven year old boy.
MZB has been dead for nearly two decades. So what is the point of this book? There are multiple answers to that question. I will suggest two. First, it was time for Moira Greyland to write it as part of her own healing. She writes very candidly about the aftereffects of the abuse she suffered, aftereffects she will live with for the rest of her life. Healing is a process, not an event, and for survivors of this kind of abuse, it is a lifelong process.
Second, MZB was an evil, depraved person. She should not be held up as a paragon of virtue and goodness. I don’t give a damn that she was a prominent feminist icon. I don’t care that she was a leading lesbian voice in the field. Ms. Greyland is correct when she called her mother a monster.
MZB isn’t the only person in the field held in high esteem who advocates having sex with children. Yes, I’m talking about Samuel Delany.
These are not the sort of people I want representing our genre. This needs to stop.
Unfortunately not everyone agrees. A couple of years ago, I reviewed a book favorably. It was the author’s first novel. I liked it in spite of one of the viewpoint characters having a lesbian pedophilic relationship at one point. (The only thing about the book I didn’t like.) A few days ago this author dismissed Moira Greyland’s claims, essentially saying they weren’t important, and engaged in cheap political virtue signaling. I have deleted that review, and I will never read any of that author’s books or stories again.
Ms Greyland, if you should happen to read this, know that you have my admiration and respect. I cannot imagine the courage it took to write this book. Thank you for doing so, and thank you for all you continue to do to help other victims. You will be in my prayers.
Comments on this post will be heavily moderated. Any attempt to justify pedophilia will not be allowed.