Things I promised I’d do four months ago: start this review!
Having taken a look at what I think of the Renunciate Oath, I need to examine what the reprehensible Breen made of it and how a fan adapted it. These bookend the short story collection Free Amazons of Darkover, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley and written by many of “the Friends of Darkover”.
As usual with Darkover/MZB content, this is your warning! If you do not want to read about it, please scroll on by, however you are finding this post.
Here is the most important truth of all, a response to Moira Greyland’s concerns and her reason for keeping silent for so long.
She is quoted in a Guardian article thus:
Greyland, writing to the Guardian via email, said that she had not spoken out before “because I thought that my mother’s fans would be angry with me for saying anything against someone who had championed women’s rights and made so many of them feel differently about themselves and their lives. I didn’t want to hurt anyone she had helped, so I just kept my mouth shut”.
I’m not angry at Moira Greyland. I’m not even mildly miffed. What I feel is sorrow that any fanbase could silence someone with something so valid to say. So no, I won’t be targeting any victims here. The only target I have for any investigation I do personally is Mrs Bradley herself.
There’s a line somewhere in Thendara House to the effect of “In order to properly renounce something, you’ve got to understand what it is you’re renouncing.” I’m not sure who says it. I think it’s in the context of Jaelle talking with Cholayna about the first twelve years of her life (Darkovan years; in Earth years it’s 14.4 years, maths at the end, probably wrong).
For all the problems inherent in the Darkover novels, given their author was a child molester married to a child molester and their children suffered, there are things in there that I’m not sure how to process. I don’t want to throw away something that really woke me to the realities of relationships between men and women. I swore the Renunciates’ Oath, which I know I have to substitute with something that applies better to my world and, um, wasn’t authored by Walter Breen. Darkover through the lenses of its rebels is my kind of place: the people of the Forbidden Tower and their reforms, the Renunciates, those people. You could argue Regis/Linnea/Danilo are in their own way rebellious, though so much a part of the fabric of Darkovan society that it’d be difficult to cast them out.
But this is not that post.
This post is about what to keep and what to throw away, and how you go about determining that.