On top of the more minor Peacock kerfluffle came more disheartening news. I’m not going to do links — lots of stuff available on search. And I’m not going to rehash it — I’ve done enough talking with folk and debate blathering on Scalzi’s blog. Suffice it to say that SFF author Valentine was sexually assaulted and stalked at Readercon, in front of witnesses, by a serial predator who admitted his attack and who is deeply involved in fan convention organizing apparently. Valentine did not call in the police, because she is a kind person, but she did report the situation to the authorities at Readercon and another, previous victim of this man came forward as well. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the legal liability, and an official con policy that any such attacks meant a lifetime ban from the convention for the attacker, the Readercon Board overturned the policy and placed the man on a two year suspension instead. The convention Committee, which oversees the whole event, has met to overturn this ruling and the members of the Board are resigning. So Readercon is healing and working to improve things and good for them. But Valentine, because she tried to help them out, is still facing a stormload of garbage thrown at her, not to mention a sexual predator with a grudge who may roam other cons and threaten her.
I’d been interested in Valentine’s first novel anyway, a steampunk secondary world fantasy published by Prime Books about a clockwork circus in a war-torn world that sounded weird, dark, creative and fun. It’s gotten great reviews and her short fiction is also very well regarded. So since I have a birthday in a few months — otherwise known as a book buying excuse — I’m planning to buy the novel, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti.
Book sales are not a balm to being frightened and badly used, but I’m sure that Valentine would rather talk about her fiction than deal with people who don’t understand what sexual assault is. And it’s what I would rather celebrate. So check it out, see if it’s your thing. I’m looking forward to it.