Today’s three things finds me in rant mode. It makes me sad when I have to break up with an author, but such is life, so today I bring you three authors I no longer read.
Sometime in the early 90s Anne Rice became a thing. You could say it was the Twilight of our time. Interview With The Vampire was the shit and those of us with gothic tendencies ate it up. Louis de Pont du Lac was my original tortured hero. Then something happened. Maybe I grew up. Or maybe I found Rice’s flowery prose all too precious and unreadable. All I know is that around ten years ago, Rice lost her mind because of some negative reviews and I’ve never been able to read her books since.
As an author you’re gonna have bad reviews. Someone out there will hate your book. When you’ve sold millions of copies and a career that spans decades, why the hell would you care about a bad review? If I am ever lucky enough to join the ranks of Rice I promise not to lose my damn mind. Instead I would enjoy the success. Mainly while sipping boat drinks on the sandy shores of a tropical island.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
This one hurt a lot. The Mists of Avalon is still on my all time favorites list. It was the first time I’d read a fantasy story where the focus was all on the women. They drove the plot. Theirs was the story being told. I couldn’t get enough. It began a life long love affair with fantasy. I felt like I’d come home.
Fast forward to 2014. Bradley’s daughter broke her silence about the abuse she endured as a child. It was horrifying. Recently, more and more shady shit has come to light about some of the powerhouses in the SFF genre. Over the past few years, accusations of misogyny, harassment, racism and homophobia have made headlines and spurred countless blog posts. While it might pain me to see behind the curtain into the hearts of certain authors, for the most part, I can separate the art from the creator. With Bradley, that compartmentalizing is impossible. Some wrongs are too evil to ignore.
She was my introduction to paranormal romance. The Black Dagger Brotherhood was full of sexy heroes and enough angst to go around the globe twice. I gobbled up the first seven books in less than six months. The names were ridiculous. The characters all speak with a fake gangster speech pattern worthy of the rolliest of eye rolls. Still, I kept reading. Lover Unleashed broke me.
Most of the time readers can separate authors from their personal views. We are the voices for the characters in our heads, but they are not us. Stephen King has built a decades long career doing this. He might be a little odd, but he’s not a crazed serial killer.
With Ward, it became impossible to do the separation game. With a character count nearing three dozen, half of them have been raped and/or kidnapped. I guess she gets points for being gender neutral? The men seem to encounter sexual assault as often as the women. After nine books, I just saw it as lazy story writing. There are a wide array of bad things that can happen to a person which can screw up their psyche for years. Ward jumps on sexual assault and kidnapping like a bridesmaid dives for the bouquet at a wedding.
There are a ton of other faults with the BDB series, including an infuriating lack of diversity. She does have two Black characters identified as “the Moors”. They are the only dark-skinned people in the entire BDB universe and come from a culture that is matrilineal and cannibalistic. Really Ward? Really?
Breaking up with authors I love is hard, but these three made the choice a no-brainer.