Fresh from predicting the Sad Puppies conquest of science fiction, Jason Sanford uncovers this ironic gem from the past; a 1952 letter to Thrilling Wonder Stories from the infamous feminist icon and child molester.
by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A word with you anent the recent VIRGIN OF ZESH. First, let me get one thing straight; this is not the shrieking of an outraged prude, nor am I going to babble such adjectives as “ﬁlthy—disgusting.” I am only going to recall your own words, that sex for its own sake is not admissable.
I am all in favor of allowing characters in science—ﬁction stories to behave like real people. If they have to strip to the buff, use the john, or rumple up a bed or two, that’s all to the good. But may I ask wherein THE VIRGIN OF ZESH classiﬁes as a science-ﬁction story? It isn’t. It is a sex sadistic story, laid in the future. It isn’t even fantasy. The only scientiﬁctional element appears to be the Krishnan setting, as a background for a girl who spends most of the story either getting gorily beaten up, raped, or defending her virtue. Such episodes are cogent in a story written for the purpose of titillation— namely, in the legitimate sex-story. But in a science-ﬁction story, one isn’t looking for sensory adventures, and one ﬁnds ones-self thinking, during those long sexy descriptions of the girl being stripped, beaten, the naked men, the rapist, etc, etc.—“For gosh sakes, get on with the story.” Then, when you wind up, there is no other story at all—just a string of sexy adventures in what struck me as atrocious taste for this kind of a magazine.
If mass-produced science-ﬁction, and the threat of Mickey Spillane, are bringing TWS to this, I fear I’ll start reading Westerns. I don’t mind sex, when well-done and incidental or important to an otherwise good story. But when it is made the prime mover of a story—ANY story—then it ceases to be science ﬁction and becomes sex ﬁction. And when I want to read sex ﬁction, I’ll buy those novels with the shocking-pink negligees on the cover. I fail to see why I should have to wade through poor science in order to enjoy sex ﬁction, or conversely, why I should have to wade through red, raw and dripping sex to enjoy my science ﬁction.
Sam. PLEASE! I love you, and I’m begging you on my pink little dimpled knees! I like sex o-k, but NOT IN TWS AND NOT AS THE PRIME BASIS OF A STORY. THE LOVERS was ﬁne; THE HELLFLOWER was ﬁne. Both were full of sex. THE VIRGIN OF ZESH was pure, (or should I say_impure?) unadulterated, adulterous slop. There is a lot of difference! Box 246, Rochester, Texas.
As the innocent bystander may have gathered, Mrs. B. is a lady of some strong convictions, strongly expressed. Fact, we wonder at times whether the sheer joy of teeing off on ye ed doesn’t even outweigh the convictions. Perish the perﬁdious thought. So get up off those dimpled knees, they’re getting a dishpan look-we promise to consider your tender feelings the next time Sprague hauls into sight with a manuscript under his arm.
It’s a little ironic to see this SJW icon taking a position that almost runs in parallel with the Sad Puppies’ basic position on science fiction. There is a significant difference, of course, as 1952 MZB is calling for story, not sex, rather than story, not finger-waving ideological lectures. But I suppose there is nothing like marrying a pedophile, being surrounded by deviants, and indulging in a spot of child molestation and abuse to really open one’s mind in the SJW-approved manner.