On Giving up Works Because Authors Are Problematic

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Disclaimer: This is a personal reflection, not a prescription for what anyone else should do.

So there’s a certain social media storm about certain author’s views and to what extent they warrant boycotting or completely “giving up” her works. (I’m not going to spell out the specifics out of regard for the effort to not increase her platform—but you know who I mean.) For the record, I am not in this fandom. For me, giving up her works is like someone who once smelled weed giving up pot [Edit: And that semi-pun was unintended]. But the general discussion of ethical responsibilities has been fraught for me.

I totally get the boycotting idea. I get the value of showing protest by not financially supporting her and not engaging with her works in a way that would increase/maintain her huge platform while she is actively using that platform in a way that hurts others. I do not get the rather common response that someone is going to “give up” her works, i.e. never read them again (even if already owned), never enjoy them, never talk about them with friends, or perhaps even think about them fondly without guilt. I hear comments like, “They’re tainted” and “A group of people is more important than a franchise” as if an imaginative world that has been foundational to many people’s lives since childhood is just a “product,” like a washing machine, and not a piece of their minds. It’s fine for people to feel this way; it’s just very alien to how my mind works. Spoilers for The Mists of Avalon and its author’s horribleness )

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Arwen Spicer
Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

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Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

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