One of the less expected effects of the pandemic is that women have become somewhat more willing to speak out about sexual abuse by men. We’ve had a number of high profile cases in the SF&F community, but up until recently nothing involving people I knew well.
That has now changed. Over the past week or two some horrendous stories have come to light regarding Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderlands Books in San Francisco. This is a shop that I spent a lot of money in when I lived in the Bay Area. The store was also home to many events involving author friends of mine, and it supported the SF in SF readings series, which I have been involved with since it started.
I’m not going to say any more about the stories. They are some of the worst I’ve heard. If you want to know, a local paper has a report.
What I will say is that I am angry.
I’m angry because while this sort of thing is happening, a bunch of self-styled feminists are wasting their time accusing me, and people like me, of being sexual predators rather than focussing on the real dangers.
I’m angry because we have very few specialist SF&F bookstores available and this looks like depriving us of one more.
I’m angry because a whole lot of good people work at that store, some of whom are friends of mine, and they must now be worried about their jobs.
But mostly I’m angry because men continue to try to get away with this shit. And often they do. What do we have to do to put an end to this?