The Last Straw (Mercedes Lackey's rant)

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Open Letter
Title: The Last Straw
From: Mercedes Lackey
Addressed To: her fans
Date(s): written January 1997, posted February 11, 1997
Medium: online
Fandom: Mercedes Lackey
Topic:
External Links: The Last Straw; archive link (at alt.pagan)
Mercedes Lackey: The Last Straw, Archived version (at firebirdarts.com)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Last Straw was a rant (Lackey's own description) that was cross-posted to several mailing lists by Matt Roberds at Lackey's request.

The rant was created in response to her allegedly receiving death threats. See Lackey the Con Attendee.

A fan in 2002 told Lackey: "Heyla! [...] I enjoyed that, by the way, as well as "Camel's Back" - I've never seen such raw anger on my screen before" [1]

Matt Roberds, who posted the rant on behalf of Lackey, wrote in the intro to alt.pagan: "I have known Mercedes Lackey for about a year, and her husband Larry for about two years. Since Mercedes does not have direct Internet access, she has asked me to post the following message here". [2] See Who is Matt Roberds?.

Five Months Later at Dragon*Con

This essay preceded the incidents at Dragon*Con by about five months where the topics of alleged poor fan behavior, stalkers, and general mayhem were revisited. See Mercedes Lackey - "The Dragoncon Report".

Some Topics Lackey Discussed in Her Post

  • fans who take her writing too seriously, fans assuming her writing is based on reality
  • conspiracy theories
  • fans taking fandom too seriously
  • cons
  • writing for money, writing what sells
  • trolls and stalkers
  • fans are addressed as "cosmic cupcakes" and more

Some Topics Discussed by Fans in Response

  • a fan and close friend of Lackey's provides a gratuitous description and use of a small child's murder to drive an unrelated point home: "Remember the two year old that ended up with a bullet through her head? Not a character in one of Misty's books. But a real world small child that lived under Misty & Larry's roof, played with their cats, pulled the tails of the parrots, and never hurt anyone in her life. A small child Misty and Larry tried to protect. Dead. Brains splattered all over the crib. Too graphic for you? You bet. True? You bet. And it could be you next."
  • everyone has a bad day
  • I wish I was a successful author who had problems
  • no one gets to talk to me like that
  • Lackey is a newbie on the 'net and doesn't know how to act
  • the letter wasn't written by Lackey but by a troll
  • this community actually doesn't belong to Lackey but to fans who are friends
  • her post doesn't bother me because I know she is talking about other fans
  • the appearance of Tal Greywolf: "Greywolf usually acts as Mercedes' "semi-official" presence on the newsgroup"
  • lack of police reports, witnesses to the altercation with Pony White
  • general disbelief
  • conspiracy theories and paranoia

See Fan Comments for more.

Who is Matt Roberds?

The person who posted the rant on behalf of Lackey said:

Hello, readers of alt.pagan!

My name is Matt Roberds. I have known Mercedes Lackey for about a year, and her husband Larry for about two years. Since Mercedes does not have direct Internet access, she has asked me to post the following message here. In a nutshell, the message is about people who have twisted the content of some of her books, so much so that there is now an (US) Federal Bureau of Investigation involvement with this situation. Read the message from her, below, for more information.

If you wish to write Mercedes concerning this post, you can contact her via postal mail:

Mercedes Lackey

P.O. Box 8309

Tulsa, OK 74101 USA

Please do not email me (Matt Roberds) directly. I have no way of forwarding email to Mercedes other than in hard copy.

Thank you! [3]
Several fans expressed their doubt that either Roberds was a real person/a troll and/or that Roberds was speaking for Lackey. Another fan said:
Personally, I don't care if it's the real Lackey or not--whoever wrote that had some *sensible* things to say about responsibility and not getting too absorbed in fantasy, something that I've noticed a few in the community don't want to hear but really ought to. (The same could be said of *any* community that involves a lot of imagination, BTW.) [4]
Four days after the original post, Roberds addressed these doubters and wrote:

Hello, again, everyone!

This is to provide a response to some of the messages that have followed from my first posting. This is just me, Matt Roberds, writing...no direct words from Mercedes in this post.

No, this was not a troll. Yes, Mercedes really did ask me to post that message, to alt.books.m-lackey and to alt.pagan. Of course, at this point, you just have my word for it, and I understand the skepticism. Mercedes tells me that in the next few days, another friend of hers will put the same message up on [her friend's WWW site]. When that happens I will post the URL here, as a somewhat "independent confirmation" of what I posted.

The tone of the message was always meant to be a "rant". Mercedes referred to it as a rant when she talked to me about it. This may not convince anyone, but here is how she originally gave it to me on disk:

Volume in drive A has no label Directory of A:\

PRANT ASC 53,120 02-08-97 5:06p RANT ASC 54,528 02-08-97 5:10p 2 file(s) 107,648 bytes 1,349,632 bytes free

(The files are larger than what got posted because .asc turned out to be a word processor format with control codes, etc.)

The message was, as some have noted, directed at a specific group of people. _Not_ all the readers of ML's books, and _not_ even all the readers of this newsgroup, but those people who taken some of Mercedes' books to such extremes that they send her death threats.

Captain Fluffy (in alt.books.m-lackey) noted that Tal Greywolf usually acts as Mercedes' "semi-official" presence on the newsgroup. I asked Mercedes about this, and she concurs. However, she told me that (as Fluffy surmised) she thought that giving it to me to post would get it out in circulation quicker. A post from Tal may be forthcoming; I do not know.

I hope this makes some things clearer. If you have questions for me, please post or email. If you have questions for Mercedes, please use the postal mail address given in the original post. (If you no longer have this, email me and I'll send the address to you.)

Thank you.

Matt Roberds

mroberds@cyberramp.net [5]

Excerpts from Lackey's Post

While the entire essay is not posted below, the excerpts are indeed long. This is to illustrate the excessiveness of language and to give readers a feel for the flavor of this post.

Here's the deal. Most of the people who are going to read this are nice people. Some are nice people who are a little flaky, but that's cool. Some are nice people who are a LOT flaky, but that's cool, too. But some are not nice people, and they have real problems. A few of these are dangerous, and want to manipulate and hurt other people, including us. We just learned something recently that just happened to be---

THE LAST STRAW: Mercedes Lackey

This is going to offend some people. These are the people who most need to read this. This definitely has needed to be said for a long time. We're writers. We write fiction, which is, by definition, NOT FACT. Creative and entertaining lies, if you will, but still not truth by any kind of stretch of the imagination. So, we've written over 40 books, of which a grand total of three are dark fantasy that involve the occult, "real" psychic powers, and nonstandard religions. So what attracts so much trouble and so many lunatics you'd think it was a "Free beer and come as your favorite psychosis party" in downtown L.A.? You've got it. The "Diana Tregarde Investigations."

Take, for instance, the undeniable fact that I haven't written (and at this point, don't intend to write) any more of them. Why? THEY DON'T SELL. The numbers are there in black and white. DT books are consistently and vastly outsold by every other type of fantasy we write. Now some people would decide that there was an Evil Force out there preventing the sale of their glorious books and determine to thwart that force and PROVE how wonderful the "unpopular" books are, but hey, call me nutty, but I believe that people are trying to tell you something when they don't buy a book, and that is, THEY DON'T WANT THEM! Why should we write something people don't want? If every hardcore Diana Tregarde fan bought fifty copies of each book, I could afford to maybe buy a new VCR with the royalties. There are plenty of other people who are already writing books people don't want, and doing it in bigger numbers than we can! Just take a look at the remainder- racks!

But, oh, the rumors! Conspiracy theories that would make Oliver Stone burst into tears of envy! Someone periodically starts a rumor that the publisher is "suppressing" the books---the fact is, that like me, they want to publish books that are going to compete with our more popular series. Another is that they have been published, but a fundamentalist group bought them all so no one else could read them, ignoring the fact that if anyone bought an entire print-run of anything, it would be on the New York Times bestseller list! Or my favorite two rumors, that appeared IN THE SAME WEEK, one that Larry was a fundamentalist who was preventing me from writing them, and a rumor that Larry was an evil pagan who was preventing me from writing them! Then there are the letters taking me to task for not following the letter-writer's own particular brand of politically correct neopaganism. THESE BOOKS ARE ENTERTAINMENT ONLY, PEOPLE! I'M NOT RUNNING A RECRUITMENT BUREAU, HERE! And if YOU want a book featuring YOUR favorite brand of religion, YOU go out and write and try to sell one, and good luck and don't let the door hit you on the way out!

They were written at the time when horror was outselling everything else, and hey, I wrote them to make money. We've got a mortgage to pay. I suppose by some people's standards that is a heinous crime, but I'm sorry for offending your delicate little sensibilities. Actually, no I'm not. Get a life, get a grip, and grow a spine; you all ought to know by now that we don't do PC. Then there are the people who insist that the Guardians are real. Hey, if there really were Guardians, you'd see panicky skinheads buying up the Rogaine supply like the KKK at a white sale. There'd be no such thing as a crooked televangelist, when they'd have real demons popping in on their shows to tell them where they were REALLY going.
The thing is, on one level I can sympathize with people who would really like to believe that Guardians are real. The world is a scary place, and more and more scary things are happening in it, things that really look as if there was a single evil hand behind it all. Hey, I wish there were Guardians! I also wish for peace, prosperity and an end to war. There's about an equal chance for either.

But now we get a little more into the shallow end of the reality pool, because some of these people claim that the Guardians are this big, cohesive group watching over everything. As far as that goes, in MY books, the Guardians aren't even organized! They're about as cohesive a group as a herd of grasshoppers! The closest thing to "organization" they have is when two of them run into each other at the Karaoke Club and find out they both want to sing "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park." There's NO group meetings, NO politics, no nothing---yet these same people have invented an entire complex hierarchy for them, complete with lodge meetings, secret handshakes, and decoder rings! Cripes! They aren't even reading the books, they're just reading what THEY want to see into the books!

It gets stranger. A whole lot stranger. We aren't even in the reality pool, anymore, we're out in the crabgrass around it. There are people claiming to BE Guardians---and people who claim they would be Guardians if only some Evil Force wasn't keeping them from finding their own little Yoda and having their occult powers activated. Okay, I can even sympathize with this one, because I've been there too. When your life is in the crapper, you can't get a job that doesn't involve a paper hat and a nametag, and you think that if you dropped off the planet no one would miss you for weeks, it's comforting to believe that all your misfortunes can be blamed on an Evil Occult Force.

I had myself talked into that one for a while, but at one critical point I had what the Twelve Step groups call "a moment of clarity," when someone else who had bought into the delusion began coming up with things I knew just weren't true and I realized that the world is what it is, and it doesn't take an evil force to make it that way--- and that I was doing a better job of keeping myself unemployed than any Evil Occult Force could. That's when I forced myself to admit that I had the best chance of making my life better if I just got a good suit from Goodwill instead of wearing costumes, pounded the pavement looking for work instead of waiting for a Dream Job to be given to me, and put more and smarter effort into realistic goals, like learning computer programming instead of spending all my time staring at a candle and trying to contact my Personal Psychic Trainer.
And here we go right off the end of the bell curve, because the same lunatics who say that they are Guardians are bound and determined that I am a Guardian! Jeez Louise, if I had occult powers, would I be sitting here writing my ass off for a living? Heck no, I'd be out in Vegas in the VIP suite with half a dozen semi-naked chorus boys feeding me caviar, that's where I'd be! I'd be cruising the Bahamas on the way to my own tropical island. I'd have a mansion and fifty servants, and the biggest aviary outside of a zoo, that's what I'd have, and I'd have more semi-naked chorus boys to do all the cage-cleaning and feeding for me!

Have we got that straight, all you cosmic cupcakes? Do you think if I had occult powers I wouldn't have KNOWN those freaks in Oklahoma City were going to blow up a building with a day-care center full of kids in it practically in my own back yard and have DONE something before it happened? Do you think if I had occult powers I wouldn't have warned my friends in Los Angeles to be somewhere else when the Northridge Quake busted loose? Or warned my parrot-breeder friends in Florida to get their setups into concrete blockhouses long before Hurricane Andrew came through? For crying out loud, wouldn't I have KNOWN Larry's studio was going to have a fire, that our rearmost room was going to flood, that his car was going to have a wreck, and that our garage was going to get hit with a tornado???? Wouldn't I have DONE something to avoid these things? And just because those things all happened, that DOESN'T mean that I have these cosmic powers and I either LET them happen or MADE them happen because I am evil! Shoot, if you're looking for someone with Major Occult Powers, try someone like Dick Clark---filthy rich, no scandals, and he looks HOW old? Or Paul McCartney, who hasn't aged a day since 1972. The guy that invented Pet Rocks---geez, how many of us did he sucker into buying a road-rock in a cardboard box? Had to have been occult powers. Or--- it has to be the way the world works.

Reality check time, people, here's a whole ROLL of quarters, there's the clue machine, GO BUY SOME. And people, why would someone who belonged to a super-secret high-risk occult-society with amazing powers at her beck and call be stupid enough to draw the attention of all the Bad Guys by WRITING ABOUT IT? "Hello? Is anyone paying attention? Oh, no---well, let me just run up a GREAT BIG SIGN that says 'Guardian here! Come and get me!'" Just what was that supposed to accomplish? Was I supposed to be looking for other Guardians? But if I BELONGED ALREADY to this so-called "Inner Circle" why would I be looking for them? Was I supposed to be recruiting new Guardians? Guys, that gag is straight out of THE LAST STARFIGHTER. Yeah, that's a good idea, Gunga Din; let's just raise our profile a lot higher for the Bad Guys to shoot at, and meanwhile, we'll sort through all the mail from every guy who ever wanted to levitate and shoot lightning bolts "Just like in the comic books." Hey, we'll find a LOT of potential Guardians that way!

Now at this point, if you've somehow been sucked into a group like I've described, and you've raised these objections, your Fearless Leader the Great Cranko is saying, "Well of course she'd say THAT, she wouldn't want to blow her cover"---like it wouldn't already have been blown higher than a palm tree at Bikini Atoll---but just how many of those "of course she'd say that"s are you going to accept before your logic circuit kicks in?

Oh, it gets better! Not only am I a Guardian, but I'm supposedly the source of (or involved in) political corruption among the Guardians. The Old Order has gone bad and is trying to suppress the Young Turks (you know, if I tried to write that plot, my editors would reject it as being too trite). I helped organize some whoop-de-ding spell- casting session to "burn out" all of those who wouldn't follow and obey us. And it's time to destroy the Old Order to make way for the New, Pure of Heart, Full of---well, it rhymes with "hit." Follow and obey ME? I can't even get plumbers to finish fixing my pipes on time! Where the hell did this paranoid delusion come from? If there are any of you out there who have bought into THIS particular schizoid fantasy, I have some real harsh words for you. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

You are responsible for your OWN thoughts, actions, and attitudes, dudes and dudettes. Somebody else may preach these things, but YOU are the one responsible for hanging your logic out to dry, putting your brain on "record" and forgetting that you're supposed to think as well as believe. And if your "coven leader" is feeding you this line of garbage---when you READ that this is the last thing we would believe in, you SEE and HEAR that our books are preaching compassion and not trashin', and you can find out with no trouble whatsoever the amount of charity work we do---WHO DOES LOGIC SAY IS THE REAL BAD GUY?

Whose ACTIONS are consistent with someone who does the right thing as well as talking about it? Who goes out and tries to help, instead of blaming some poor fantasy writers for "oppressing him?" And kids, when he tells you that you are all going to have to destroy the old order to make way for the new---think REAL HARD for a minute. Those same words have been spoken by other people who got their followers to go out and do horrible things FOR them. People like Thomas Mitzger, Charles Manson and Jim Jones---people who worked up hysteria and paranoia among THEIR followers then sat back with folded hands while real blood flowed, and said, "but I am innocent, I haven't done anything!"

Okay, so maybe all these guys want to do is have you all hold hands in a circle and try and give me a headache. Hey, knock yourselves out, have a good time, and don't drive home intoxicated afterwards. But maybe they want to manipulate you into doing something very bad in the real world. I've got news for you, kids. IF THEY DO, YOU ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS. YOU will go down; maybe embarrassment, maybe to jail---maybe to Death Row. Why? Because YOU handed over your brain and conscience to a would-be tin-pot dictator who gets his jollies out of manipulating people he thinks are weak- willed and suggestible suckers.

And right now some of you are saying "oh that couldn't possibly happen among fans!" (or pagans, or whatevers). Guess again. It not only can, it already has. Within my own very limited circle of acquaintances, I PERSONALLY have VERIFIED with mundane sources---one man ennobled in the SCA who took on a contract-killing and is currently in prison for it,[6] one man in fan circles who was convicted of child molestation and went to jail for it and died there, one man in RenFaire, and pagan circles who was caught and convicted of multiple torture-murders[7] one man in fan and SCA circles who was caught and convicted of setting pipe-bombs in public buildings. That's just among people I knew.[8]

I'm not the only author who's had their fiction distorted like this, and it makes all of us want to track the creeps responsible down and pound them into the ground like tent pegs [9]. But WE are adult, compassionate, responsible (there's that word again) human beings, and we know that would be wrong. So we sit in our offices and get death-threats and wonder which one of these loons is going to be THE one---and if this time someone is going to get hurt. It might be the psycho himself, or it might be one of his followers who decides to show up. Maybe Aleister Junior will egg one of his followers into buying a Saturday Night Special and go blaze away at a book signing. Most of us writers are only partly worried about ourselves---because maybe what happens is an innocent fourteen-year-old flings herself into the line of fire, or is just standing there getting a book signed, and becomes a statistic. How the hell do you think we'd feel about THAT?

Comments at the Firebird Site (1997)

[Teri Lee: Notes from Firebird]:

Misty asked me to post this in our on line catalog after the latest round of problems with death threats. Given that there is an ongoing investigation into this matter by the FBI, the amount that I can say about it is limited.

What bothered Misty more than the possibility of getting shot, or Larry getting shot, was the vision of some 14 year old fan standing in line at a book signing, getting into the line of fire and ending up dead or worse. I'll say it again: The idea that a fan of her work could end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time and end up dead or worse is what is driving the "Last Straw" letter.

For the record Misty and I have been friends for close to two decades. She has in that time changed from working full time as a main frame programer for a large airline, to a well respected and successful writer in the fantasy world.

Once she achieved a certain level of visibility, something strange started to happen. Odd people started crawling out of the woodwork. And some of these people were very, very odd. There were the old so-called friends who could not stand her successes. Vicious personal attacks came from people within Science Fiction & Filk fandoms. There were the SCA households that assumed that now that she had some books published, she was rich, and should give them funds to run their extended households. And got angry when she said no. There were the fanfic writers that wanted her to get them published, and got mad when she did not wave her magic wand and get them the publishing contract of their dreams.

There was the real life tragedy that ended in a murder, suicide, and nearly ended up as a double murder, suicide. This incident started when Misty and her husband Larry Dixon sheltered a woman escaping a bad marriage and her child. This episode included: pipe bombs, people, (not just the woman's ex-husband), keeping Misty's house under surveillance. People with high powered rifles being run off the property in the middle of the night. Police that would not take the threats seriously. a unresponsive legal system, and a judge with attitudes firmly rooted in the neolithic age. The nut case involved tried to kill his ex-wife, and the people trying to help her. He only managed to kill his two year old daughter [10] and the[n] shoot himself. This was done on a court ordered visitation, despite everything Misty and Larry and the mother, and the lawyers could do.

And then there were the pagans. Once the Diana Tregarde books were published, every pagan nut (please note, the nut applies to specific pagans, not to all pagans) with an ax to grind decided that the portrayal of magic in the books was not correct. Some of these people did not take no for an answer, and when their dearly held believes were not accepted and enshrined in the Diana Tregarde books, they got nasty. Big time nasty. Death threats, curses, hate mail directed at Misty. Once it was clear that these avenues were blocked, or at least ineffective, some enterprising souls started going after people close to Misty. They tried to get to her through Larry, Firebird, family, and friends.

The problem is not SF fans, or pagans. The problem is with people who have boundary problems. People who are not real clear on where to draw the line between their own life, and their favorite author's life. Most of Misty's fans are good caring people, who would never think of stepping over the line. However, and this is a big however, there are people out there who are incapable of recognizing where the lines are drawn. These people range from annoying, to the truly deadly. And it is impossible to tell them apart.

This latest death threat is being taken seriously. It threatens Misty, Larry, and anyone who is with her. How would you like to be standing in line at a book signing when the nut with a gun or a bomb shows up trying to take Misty out? What? It could never happen? People don't do that? Remember the two year old that ended up with a bullet through her head? Not a character in one of Misty's books. But a real world small child that lived under Misty & Larry's roof, played with their cats, pulled the tails of the parrots, and never hurt anyone in her life. A small child Misty and Larry tried to protect. Dead. Brains splattered all over the crib. Too graphic for you? You bet. True? You bet. And it could be you next.

Is Misty angry? Yes, she's furious. Nuts out there have repeatedly threatened to kill her, her husband, their friends, and now the threat is to you, her fans. All over a set of characters in a fantasy book.

Becoming a successful writer should not be equal to living in a war zone. This is the kind of treatment fans are dishing out to many of your favorite authors. Crazy fans are making Misty's life hell by projecting their own fantasies on her.

By all means buy Misty's books, her music, Larry's art work. Enjoy the products of their creativity. Empathize with the characters, and the life situations that the characters find themselves in. But beware if you or anyone else starts confusing the characters with the author. . Do not give the nut cases any more power. The single most important thing you can do is avoid these nuts. Isolate them. Laugh at them from a distance. Don't let them into your life. Don't let yourself get taken by some charismatic lunatic with murder on the mind. And run like hell if anyone tries to get you to buy into their warped view of the universe. Teri Lee, Firebird Music [11]

Fan Comments

From Fans at alt.books.m-lackey (1997)

Below are just a few comments from the 1253 comments posted beginning February 10, 1997 at Mercedes Lackey: The Last Straw, at alt.books.m-lackey.

[Gyre Hart]:

All righty then. The content may have some truth to it, hell I know it does. But folks, I gotta say the tone and language, patronizing abusive tone is more than I can handle.

Not only was there the distinct impression that any one without a standardized view of the world, ie thinks of a higher spirituality than themselves, is screwed, there was a....

Hell, I'm pissed completely off. I can understand the frustration, hell I get to live with one of the "big men on campus" type of guys of the AIDS world (my father, who unfortunately shares the same name)! I get to answer calls from cranks cause dad won't get an unlisted number, and we get occassional hate mail and threats. But does that give me the right to this kind of crap? I think not. The patronizing bull....

I'm sorry. I'm outta here. I would like to think this is just some sicko, but it feels enough like I just got pissed on.

I AM NOT some one she so lovingly described, I DO understand fiction vs reality, but people, I don't let NOBODY talk to me like that. NOBODY.

[David Ball]:

Well..... That was interesting..... Anyone else get the feeling she missed her target audience.... I think this answers one thing. She definately doesn't read this newsgroup. Most of the posts are "off topic" and the ones that are about misty's work tend to be either logic arguments about the finer details of velgarth novels, or gripes about how her latest books (i.e. Silver gryphon) haven't been very good. I wish she hadn't stressed so much that she's writing for the money, when that has been a complaint people here have had about her recent works...

It sounds like being a successful author isn't much fun. Well, this is one tale where I doubt we'll ever hear the complete story.

[Hollie]:

I hope to all the gods that this is a troll. I have a very strong suspicion that it isn't. Sigh.

I'd think someone who could create such incredibly caring and compassionate characters might have a teensy bit of respect for her readers. Did she come off as a self-righteous bitch to anyone else, or was it just me? I don't think I'll ever be able to read anything of hers again without hearing this bitterness in the background.

Gee, and I was having such a good day... Terribly disillusioned

[Leah]:

It seems that from the reactions I have seen that some people have taken this entirely too personally. Simply put, it is not directed at a great many of us who post or lurk around here, although I do believe that some of the target audience is in attendance. So, if it was not directed at you, then the words that might have seemed harsh, SHOULD just pass you by. Let it go. They might have been posted, but that does not corespond directly to having been said to you and having be meant to piss you off.

So, ask yourself, are you a member of the target audience? If the answer is no, then simply read her statment if you wish, but you have no basis on which to be offended. If you see two people in an argument, do you get offended by what one is saying to the other? No. If the answer is yes .. then .. well .. I will quickly back away and run like hell. ;>

[Gyre Hart]:

Those of us NOT included in the discussion have been offended by the argument, not for content so much as style. We have aspoused the ideal of MLackey's books, no one true way and various other philosphical credos. The fact that they are catch phrases for some basic moral codes is not new to us. However to have the author of such ideal, in other words some one who purposely laces her text with a set of ideals, basically throw them out the window and work exactly opposite of said ideals is a little harsh.

While I in no way would like to be in her position, nor do I expect her to be any less or more than a human being (which means we all have values and ethics that we don't always uphold), to so violently ignore them is annoying. Not only that, outside of the whole debate over author versus content I really would want to slap a person who throws out that kind of commentary onto the net. It was a rant. A rant meant to be hurtful and personally, I don't give a flying donut if it's aimed at me or not, the point is I don't like having to read it. THe only rule for this group is no flaming, what in hell was that?

About author versus content. I do not beleive any author should have to live up to the content of their work. Lord knows I wouldn't want to. However the complete disregard for the "be good" theme, acknowledging others differences and opions as valid, seems to be missed. I really don't care what others think, or say. About me, or anyone else. But when I get told, included under the umbrella of "flakes, all of you out there", to piss off, I'm sorry that I get a wee tad annoyed. For despite the fact that supposedly this was aimed at a set of specific people the tone was very much "all of you out there, piss off and leave me alone, all readers are... blah blah blah"

THe problem that immediately sinks in is the incredible slap in my face. I am a very private person, and tend not to discuss my beliefs, but for the record, the closest I can come to a label is "pagan". And frankly the whole rant makes fun of, devalues and mocks anyone who claims to be "pagan" or believes in something not tangible, like lord knows Jesus is. Again, I'm sorry, but to have some one known to espouse the ideal of fair play in her works, the woman completly ignored it and I am annoyed.

CAn I not take it personally when the person I'm here to basically spend time putting on a pedastal for good writing, or at least good fantasy worlds, turns out to be soo unlike her work as to make me wonder how in hell she ever wrote anything so caring when she obviously couldn't care less?

Because, no matter my personal feelings, to treat anyone who basically doesn't believe or mentally work the way I do in such a demeaning way is wrong. I have enough friends who have mental problems to know, there is no need or right to treat people with the contempt she did. Threatening is wrong, and should be stopped, but to degrade people and make fun of them for wishing to believe in something (as the bloody author you'd think she'd want to too) other than themselves. While she allows that that is nice, the whole tone is (kay, the harps can come in now) mocking.

I think I've said my piece and feel better. Cause I just realized how I feel about this. I cannot see a reason for ever reading her books again. THe group is made of ideals and friends, and frankly I'd as soon get rid of her before my friends. But I will not be able to read her stuff again. What would be the point? I sure as hell couldn't enjoy it.

[Kris]:

And that is that saddest part of this whole thing...that by directing such a negative, rude, bitchy, downright nasty commentary to all her fans, not just those that are supposedly the targets, ML is going to lose those fans who genuinely enjoyed her work and didn't take it to weird extremes. I know that I am not one of those people to whom the tirade was directed. Frankly, I have never even READ the books in question. But I sure felt personally attacked by the viciousness of the message. How is this possible? When all those African-American churches were being burned in the South, didn't African-Americans whose churches were not burned also feel personally attacked? I see this in the same light. I don't know if I will take the same step as Gyre and not read her stuff again. But as Hollie said in another post, it'll be difficult to do so without recalling this rather abusive post.

[Jiraad]:

I have to say that i agree with Leah -- those of us who do not do the things that Misty was talking about shouldn't be offended.

But, I also agree with Gyre -- she was much too abusive and it's going to cost her some fans and a lot of revenue.

I laughed at parts, because I deal with losers as she describes often in fandom, but I also was annoyed -- because some of us DO try to make a difference in the world. I never read the Tregarde Books, I don't know a Guardian from a Grasshopper, but I do try to protect people from things. I do believe in otherworldly things and person; and i do believe I have had contact with them. I believe in Evil, and in fighting it, but the Evil I fight is in the forms of racism, poverty, and hopelessness, and i feel as if i was pissed on as well.

Whatever. I'll keep reading her books until they no longer impress me; rather like my thoughts on Harlan Ellison -- I rarely agree with him, but he can write very well.

[Kasumi]:

BRAVO, finally someone with a lick of sense. It was obvious to me that the message wasn't aimed at anyone who isn't a psychopath. I don't understand what everyone has been getting so upset about. The lady is entitled to how she feels, and if people have been acting the way she says, then I must agree with what she said. I have read the DT novels and enjoyed them, but have never imagined I was some Guardian out fighting evil, or that there was some conspiracy keeping her from writing more (even though I and my husband both would love to read more of the Diana Tregarde stories) Yes, I would say that the letter was written in a fit of anger, but having had a psychopath hound my husband for a time, I can understand how she feels.

[Pat]:

What I read sounded very familier. It's the sound of someone who's been pushed, and pushed, and pushed till it had to come out. And it doesn't sour me on her writing. I've lived with this stuff over on the B5 groups for a long time. We were forced to create a new moderated group because of the net.loons, and the moderators and group proponents became the targets when the loons couldn't get at Joe Straczynski any longer (and we still tend to be targets--some of the email we get is *not* nice).

And of course she writes for the money :), all good professional writers do because that is their one-and-only job, and the bills come in every day. You also can't maintain the kind of output she does without writing full-time. It doesn't make her bad, dear Hart, just a realist. And publishing *does* go in cycles. Something that's hot this year, won't be hot next year. Publishing is a business, and you simply wind up in the poor house if you don't accomidate to that fact. Or <grin> as Marion Zimmer Bradley told me in a workshop one time: "No one ever told you not to be a plumber."

[Alessan di Tigana]:

Aren't there are a number of people on here who either know or are in touch with people who know ML? Can _anyone_ here corroborate that this person Roberds does in fact know ML and is in truth passing on her own words?

One person that I don't recall seeing before (not that that in itself counts for much) posting out of the blue a tirade of that nature, srikes me as more a troll than anything else. Especially when they immediately take pains to point out how long they've 'known' ML and Larry, specifically ask not to have mail directed to themselves, _and_ includes an address that wasn't identified as ML's publisher, which given her other requests for privacy I'd rather more expect it to be.

[Niteflame]:

I have been a Misty fan for some time. I have thoroughly enjoyed her Valdemar series, as well as her bardic voices books. I haven't really read any of the other "modern-day" series that she has out because frankly I didn't enjoy them. I can only assume that the series that she is specifically talking about in her rant is one of those. All in all I have to say that I can empathize with her viewpoint. Yes it was pretty ugly in tone, however if I had knowledge of henious crimes being done in MY NAME I'd be pretty ticked off as well. Hey, I've got a pretty active imagination and have day-dreamed about what it would be like to be a Hawkbrother. But like she said there is enough evil or wickedness or selfishness or hate in this world without adding to it. I had NO IDEA that there were SO Many nut-cases out there. Well I did, but not like this! I plan on continueing to read and enjoying Misty's books (most of them) I too have bad days (usually at certain times of the month) who knows- maybe she just needed to take a Motrin, eat some chocolate, and get it off her chest. It makes me feel better most of the time. I hope that the target audience of her rant REALLY reads what she had to say and maybe take some responsibility like she suggested.

[Derlin]:

When I read the post, I didn't feel personally attacked, though I did feel as though I'd been grazed by a thousand bullets aimed at someone else...

My final response was mostly a feeling that whatever caused Misty to write this post, I sympathize, but the result was...unfortunate.

[Balinda]:

I was not really shocked as Ms Lackey has never shown much respect for the fans who support her with their hard-earned bucks. I imagine the alleged FBI investigation is of her own insistance, as she has historically shown herself to be the type to deal with her public through her lawyers.

But what I want to know is this -- what does she expect? She writes in a genre that has always had more than it's fair share of people who cannot separate reality from fiction. By its very nature, fantasy attracts these marginal personality types. I can understand the fear and frustration of having one's work subverted and twisted by people who are not always just passive weirdos, but I do not excuse her: remember the diatribe on Personal Responsiblity? She should show some.

You want the frosting? It's on the cake. She is not the only writer to have to deal with this phenomena -- can you imagine the sort of stuff Anne Rice must get? And Robert Heinlein got all kinds of weirdness from under the rocks after he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land: though his personal views were very similar, there is no such vitriolic diatribe left behind in his memorabilia. Because Heinlein was a classy guy and he knew the territory.

I don't know what the intent was with this little piece of lierature, but it was bad business for someone who professes to be a professional, and it does nothing to ameliorate the situation she claims to abhor. How many nutsos do you think read this and said to themselves, "Gee, she's right, I should get a life?" Anyone? I doubt it. What it accomplished was to make me feel like a sucker for buying her books.

However I disagree with Lackey's personal ethics, though, the only obligation she has to me is to produce I product I want to consume. With a few exceptions, she has done that, so....she writes, I read. Forget her, otherwise. It's just too ironic, though, that in a group who has taken her credo of tolerance and "no one true way" to heart, and whose only rule is No Flaming, the flames we get are from the source who cannot take her own words to heart as much as we have. It's sad. I can only hope as she matures, Ms Lackey can find enough self-esteem to get over this neurotic defensive posture. She's only hurting herself.

[Captain Silkfur McFluffy]:

The method of her rant was definately not ok. From the responses I've read so far, just about everyone seems to some level or other shocked or hurt or at least bothered by her letter.

I think that most of us are still trying to come to terms with the letter and our feelings about ml. I know I'm confused. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt though. I think it hurts most because after being in this group for so long, and finally having something ml wrote posted to it, this is what we got. We never got a letter saying so much as a "thank you" for being loyal fans who buy the books to pay that morgage. In fact with the occasional semi-official appearance of Tal Greywolf with tidbits of information, we have effectively been ignored. At least that is, as long as nobody mentioned the idea of using her worlds to create muds or other public role playing games or fanfic based on her worlds. And then it was her lawyer. I find it hurts to realize that this is the truth of the matter.

But for me, Mercedes Lackey stopped being the reason I frequent this group a long time ago. I still love what she's written. I'll probably buy most of what she writes in the future. However, the reason I frequent this group is because my friends, people that I care about, wether its Johnny not cleaning his room, or Ke'a'char making progress in her rehabilitation, or FiX working on his paper, are here. People who accept me as the male chauvinist cat that I really am.

I do not dissagree with you at all about the letter. I think it was written and posted without thinking about the consequences....

This group has been about far more than one author for a very long time. Just because it bears her name, it doesn't make it hers. It is our group. She is more than welcome to join, but as long as I am hear, it will never ever be her group.

From Fans at alt.pagan (1997)

The fans at alt.pagan hardly even discussed the rant. The comments there focused on two things. Briefly, did Mercedes Lackey really write the post? Then the conversation became an argument about the quality of female science fiction writers.

See Mercedes Lackey: "The Last Straw".

[Jim Kajpust]: yeah -- right.........
[Renee Rosen]:

Personally, I don't care if it's the real Lackey or not--whoever wrote that had some *sensible* things to say about responsibility and not

getting too absorbed in fantasy, something that I've noticed a few in the community don't want to hear but really ought to. (The same could be said of *any* community that involves a lot of imagination, BTW.)
[Al Billings]:

Mercedes Lackey is a hack writer who is barely able to spin her thoughs. Appropriate for little girls in love with magical horses but that's about it. Try a real author with some skill like John Barnes, Orson Scott Card (on occasion), or Alexander Jablokov.

When was the last time Lackey was nominated for (let alone received) any award for her writing?

[snipped]

I didn't answer the original post complaining because I felt it was a needless quibble. I didn't realize that when naming writers who are excellent off of the top of one's head, one had to aim for gender balance. Do I need a required ethnic balance as well?

A good science fiction writer? How about Linda Nagata? One of my favorite writers. Author of the Bohr Maker, Tech Heaven, and Deception Well. If you prefer fantasy, there is always Diana Paxson, who also happens to be a great pagan who has devoted her life to helping others.

None of them are hacks who solely do it for the cash and who use tried and true predictable plots or who cannot even keep details of their own characters straight between novels.
[Nicole Sheilds]:

why is whats written for young girls considered to be crap? Are young girls somehow mentally deficient and anything they like MUST be crap and fluff?

You know, Tolkien's books were supposed to be great and everything, but quite frankly, i found them to be incredibly boring I didnt have the patience to read through them. Except the Hobbit. That one was good. This is from someone who read Les Miserables when she was 10. My point isnt that women should be read, my point is why are books aimed at female readers, especially young ones, dismissed as fluff? Why is calling something girlish the ultimate insult?

From Fans at rec.arts.sf.fandom (1999)

The quotes below are from rec.arts.sf.fandom, specifically Pushy Pros (Was: What's important to (October 1999).

[Rick Keir]: These are two of the more incoherent letters I've ever seen. Her story swings back and forth between pagans who think the Guardians are real, SCA folks who want money from her, custody cases that apparently have nothing to do with any kind of fandom, and the fact that various fandoms have contained criminals (well, duh!). After reading these two statements giving her side of things, I'm inclined to believe "the other side", in its various incarnations.
[Laura Burchard]:

I took The Last Straw at face value as well, until I got the lowdown on D*C. It didn't seem improbable that Lackey had attracted a stalker -- all sorts of people you wouldn't expect have attracted stalkers (Stoney Musgrove had a stalker. Stoney Musgrove!) Nor did it seem completely improbable that a group of people might have fixated on her books to an unpleasant degree; it did happen to Anne Rice, after all.

However, after D*C, it became clear that events had a stink that was altogether familiar to people dealing with kooks on Usenet and off.

"The FBI is investigating, but I can't legally tell you any details" -- except in the case of national security cases, I've never seen an FBI case where you couldn't supply people with the name of the agent in charge of the case. The agent may not *tell* you anything, but you can talk to him or her.

The um, thoroughly paranoid worldview evident in Lackey's D*C report, where rather ordinary events like people wandering in and out of rooms and lights going out are taken as evidence of the Evil Conspiracy of Assassins.

The... I was nice and called it a 'fiction', but let's put it more plainly, the lie that Pony White was attacked by men wearing D*C badges, this lie being used to bolster all of the ridiculous behavior, and to smear Ed Kramer and D*C (not to mention the Hyatt.) I don't recall if it was Harlan Ellison or the Lackey camp that faxed the accusation so widely about the sf world, but Lackey was still maintaining the truth of it at the end of '97, so I suspect no followup apologies were faxed. Once again, the request for nice boring verifiable facts like the number of a police report, or the officer involved, or the docket number were met with silence or anger that the truth should be doubted.

When, the group of people having turned into one stalker, the assertion was made that the stalker had been arrested in kiddie porn charges and thus, implicitly, would no longer be a danger to Misty hurrah hurrah, once again boring boring verifiable things like a name or a docket number were not supplied under request.

The nicest interpretation is that Lackey had attracted to her people who were lying and fueling her paranoia. The nastiest is that she knew they were lies. Either way, despite D*C's detailed investigation -- they went down the level of talking to the Hyatt's physical plant people and determining that the only way the lights could have been turned off in that room was in the room itself or the basement, and if it was the master circuit in the basement they couldn't have been turned back on -- I never heard of apology or acknowledgement of error, and she was still publicly asserting in November the truth of the attack.

People will come to their own conclusions from the facts, but mine was that I didn't believe in her stalkers one bit, and that she was a nasty piece of work.
[Dorothy J. Heydt]:

Well, as the saying goes (on some other thread), even paranoids have real enemies.

As to what Lackey's real situation is, I am now in a position to say that I don't know what it is and have given up hope of finding out. Doesn't matter. I don't read her and am unlikely ever to try to get close enough to her to encounter her security.

From Fans at Lackey's Website (1999-2003)

From "The World of Mercedes Lackey":

[1999]:

I LOVE Diana Tregarde stories! I never ONCE thought that they were a sly way of "brainwashing people", or whatever people say! I know, I'm sorry if I seem like I'm ranting at you, but I just heard ok read about EVERYTHING that happened! And OMG! I can't believe anyone would do that! But then again, I can't really believe all the other "stuff" if you can all it stuff that happens out there! I mean, I wish Valdemar was real! That would make it all a little less scary, but wishing isn't really going to help, is it? It's not. And I have to say, threatening someone who is just putting words on paper is NOT going to make it that way! Again, sorry that I'm ranting! You know, I just realised today that Ms./Mrs. Lackey is my FAVOURITE author, and now I find out that she's been threatened! It really --oh how shall I put this without seeming dangerous as well? -- bakes my clams!! It's INSANE what this world is coming to! I just wanted her to know everyone else on the stupid planet that I understand why she is scared, and I would be too! if I could, like, take a bullet, --as patriotic and stupid as that sounds,-- for Ms. Lackey, I would be happy to do it so she could continue to write these wonderful, uplifting tales of a better place! The world is a scary place, that's why we need stories of better ones! But enough from me! Sorry to waste your time with my ranting, and all, but I feel better now! ;) Thank you again, and Ms Lackey... NEVER STOP!

[Lackey's response]: It's a sad fact of life that virtually anyone can get a nutcase threatening them these days; a case in point is one of the professors at the little college just up the hill from us, who got a dangerous stalker because she had a UHF college-station TV show lecturing about writing. The one that gave us problems isn't a problem anymore, but there will probably be another along at some point. The whole reason that I wrote 'The Last Straw' was not to get sympathy for us---though believe me, it is appreciated---but as a warning to the rest of you that there are plausible, manipulative psychotics out there at this very minute who would be only too happy to use you to achieve their ends. Charles Manson springs to mind...as do the leaders of skinhead, neonazi, supremacist, fundamentalist and other organizations. And, as history has shown us, you don't need to be a recognizable psychotic, either, to manipulate people to do horrible things. Once people have put their foot on that slippery slope of "WE are all special and persecuted, and THEY are persecuting us" it becomes easier and easier to shove them down it to the point of "WE are all special and persecuted and THEY are persecuting us, and YOU need to go and get rid of them so we can all live happily ever after." And if you can see plenty of other places where that form of manipulation is going on, right this minute, good for you. You've taken a large step away from becoming one of the manipulated.
[1999]:

Dear Mercedes, I have just read your letter and Teri's addendum for the first time. To say I'm shocked is an understatement. I can't say I'm shocked about what people will believe or do. but I'm shocked at the level of harrassment [sic] that you have been enduring. I love the DT stories, but as just that, stories, purely entertainment. I had hoped you were going to write more, but having read your letter I say don't bother. It is not worth yours, Larry's or anybody else's safety. I hope things have calmed down somewhat since you wrote this but, knowing the way some peoples alledged [sic] minds work, I somehow doubt it. Anyway, thank you (and Larry) very much for the entertainment you have given me with all your books over the years.

[Lackey's response]: It wasn't so much harassment as a single case of pure lunacy. The person in question got into so much mundane trouble with the law totally unrelated to us that he has much more pressing concerns these days.
[2003]:

I'd like to say that I hope the absolute idiots passing on death threats and such to you get caught and find their sorry butts in jail. I found a website just before and the GIT who was posting on it was saying horrible things about you and Mr. Dixon ­ saying you had staged an attack at some convention or other ­ Dragon*Con, apparently. Of course, being a very temperamental person that I am I immediately started to write a rather . . . defensive email to that person, and sent it to the Git after a close friend of mine (also one of your admirers) edited it for me, as I was not feeling too coherent at the time. Anyway, I just wanted to say that although there are people out there who doubt you, I think the majority of us hang on to your every word.

[Lackey's response]: When it comes to the website you mention, I can only quote a Hungarian saying: "The eagle is not concerned about the gossip of the butterfly." Or that lovely one that Marion Zimmer Bradley invented for Darkover - "If you listen to dogs barking you will go deaf without learning anything."

From Fans at rec.arts.sf.fandom (2001)

The comments below are from rec.arts.sf.fandom in a 2001 post titled Whatever happened to the Merc. Lackey stalkers.

[Shane Stezelberger]:

If this is a completely taboo subject, please call me on it. But I am inordinately curious about the whole Mercedes Lackey soap opera, with the death threats and the alleged fisticuffs and the psycho true believers.

What exactly happened? Did the handcuffing incident at DragonCon actually occur? Was there really a Blacksburg Connection? Is there something intrinsic to her fiction that causes superfans to go nuts, or do all modern heroic fantasy authors suffer similar slings/arrows? *Did* any fans really go nuts?

Again, please ignore this if I am being rude. The Blacksburg angle intrigues me.
[Eloise Beltz-Decker]: Well, I'm interested too ... I read something on a website once, years ago, that was supposedly by Ms. Lackey herself, on the subject. I had been asking around why there weren't any further Diana Tregarde books, and was pointed at this explanation. Not that it's particularly unbiased, of course, but at least it was her side. Anyone have the link handy? That was three email hosts ago for me, alas.
[Colette Reap quoted a 1998 excerpt from eluki bes shahar]:

The following excerpt, from an interview with eluki bes shahar, is taken from [http://web.archive.org/web/20030630161519/http://connectionsjournal.com/files/archives/interviews/ekie.html this website: http://connectionsjournal.com/files/archives/interviews/ekie.html]:

c - Who is stalking Mercedes Lackey - Christian weirdos or Pagan weirdos? Over-zealous fans?

e - Pseudo-Pagan wackos. It's pretty complicated. She produced a position statement about the stuff once, which is probably still somewhere out on the Net. But as near as I can figure it, the problem goes like this: somewhere out there are a bunch of people who think she was telling the flat-out literal truth about the Guardians of the Path. (Hint: she wasn't.) These people have decided that they themselves are Guardians of the Path. (Hint: they aren't) Next (and here is where I get hopelessly confused) they have decided that poor Misty is the leader of a "young Turks" party in the Guardians who are trying to overthrow the established order (Like she'd be spending all her time writing if she was that powerful a wizard). I'm not sure how they get from there to wanting to do her grievous bodily harm, but at DragonCon in Atlanta last year (which she attended) these people made a serious attempt on her and beat one of her bodyguards up pretty badly. Now she doesn't go to conventions. Period.

<end quote>

As far as I can tell, this interview took place in 1998.
[David T. Bilek]:

Except that the "attack" on one of her bodyguards ("Pony" White) has been pretty comprehensively demolished. No medical records, no police report, no court records, etc.

The available evidence, when I looked into it a year or two ago, all pointed to Lackey and some associates having some kind of paranoid fantasy. It all may still be around on google... there was a lot of discussion on alt.fandom.cons for one.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010222022642/http://people.atl.mediaone.net/pellaz/misty.html just as a start.

https://groups.google.com/g/rec.arts.sf.fandom/c/rq0cIrC7tTA/m/GBOXB5tomIIJ is a post from our own Laura Burchard here in rasff about a year ago.

Same conclusion.
[Marilee J. Layman]: Didn't happen. We went quite thoroughly into this at the time, maybe in alt.fandom.cons rather than here, but there was no attempt on her and her bodyguard. I think her paranoia has taken over.
[Colette Reap]:

Interesting. Presumably then, the lady I was quoting was reporting hearsay/UL, although she seems to be quite categoric about it. It might also explain why her's was the only reference I could find to

the alleged incident. My apologies.
[Rick Keir]: Read [The Last Straw] and Camel's Back and judge for yourself. The letters blame, variously, deranged fans, pagans, former friends, and SCA household members, as well as an unnamed person involved in a custody case who we are told murdered his daughter, tried to kill his ex-wife, stalked Lackey and Dixon, and then committed suicide.
[Mike Weber]

I know a number of people who subscribe fully to the Official ML version; some of them were at the DixieTrek and DragonCon where the alleged events allegedly eventuated.

I don't know anyone who actually Saw It; they're all quoting other fans or ML herself.
[Marilee J. Layman]: I suspect eluki is a friend of Misty's and believed what she said. There should be a long thread in DejaGoo about this, where people check police records and hotel security records, etc.
[David T. Bilek]:

I referred to that thread in my post on the subject. I remember it very well, and it convinced me that there was nothing but paranoia happening.

But I can't for the life of me find it on google. Very odd.

[Harry Payne]:

In a weird turn of events, the "Ask Misty" section of the site now asserts that there will be a new Diana Tregarde appearance in "Spirits White as Lightning", despite the people who think the guardians are real.

Read that: looks like she's trying to bury Tregarde in her Cute Elves and Fast Cars scenario. Shame; the Tregarde novels were among her best-written works (possibly back when she had an editor who stood up to her and told her to cut the crap out) and I'm annoyed that I'll never know what happened after the last one ended on a cliff-hanger. Still, as the Masked Man said, "Get used to disappointment".
[David G. Bell]: Had there been new Tregarde novels in the works, the Dragoncon stories could have been interpreted as a badly-done publicity stunt.

From Fans in Other Places

[2006]: One of Lackey's essays talks about how she gets weirded out and upset by fans who take her books too seriously and lose the divide between fantasy and reality, which I think anyone can sympathize with. Except, in a way, she's encouraging that, by focusing the authorized fan efforts on "Personae" as opposed to "Characters." And by discouraging internet fandom, she loses the casual fans who might bring a bit of sanity and maturity to the fandom. I think she's ended up limiting her own interaction to the die-hards and crazy whack jobs. I know I sure as hell won't go to the bother of sending off for a print zine given what I've seen of that fandom. [12]

Comments by Lackey: "The Camel's Back" (1997)

This short statement was posted in November 1997, and then reposted at her official website in 1999. See The Camel's Back:

The Camel's Back

First of all, Larry and I would like to thank all of you who wrote or e-mailed supportive messages in response to "The Last Straw." We really appreciated them, and it's certainly nice to know you're out there. As an update, Larry and I will no longer be attending SF conventions, as the organizer of the last convention we attended evidently thought we were simply being hysterical. As a result, we were placed in an unsafe position and one of our people was attacked and hurt. Meanwhile the organizer of that convention denies all responsibility, and went so far as to accuse the person attacked of lying about the attack. Given that treatment, it isn't worth it to us to take those risks anymore. We're sorry that the fans have to suffer because of this.

However, it appears that the lunatics in question have found themselves a target nearer to home and are no longer obsessing about us. So for the moment, anyway, we are safe.

This is not to say that some other lunatic won't come out of the woodwork and begin obessessing about us. The closer we approach to the year 2000, the more lunatics seem to be emerging. What we said in "The Last Straw" still goes; it is all too possible for people to be sucked in by a charistmatic, persuasive person with a good story. Be skeptical, be smart, be careful. We hope that none of you will be, and we will continue to create our FICTIONAL worlds for you to enjoy just as long as you keep reading them! [13]

Comments by Lackey: Official Website (2002)

At her official website in 2002:

It's a sad fact of life that virtually anyone can get a nutcase threatening them these days; a case in point is one of the professors at the little college just up the hill from us, who got a dangerous stalker because she had a UHF college-station TV show lecturing about writing. The one that gave us problems isn't a problem anymore, but there will probably be another along at some point. The whole reason that I wrote 'The Last Straw' was not to get sympathy for us---though believe me, it is appreciated---but as a warning to the rest of you that there are plausible, manipulative psychotics out there at this very minute who would be only too happy to use you to achieve their ends. Charles Manson springs to mind...as do the leaders of skinhead, neonazi, supremacist, fundamentalist and other organizations. And, as history has shown us, you don't need to be a recognizable psychotic, either, to manipulate people to do horrible things. Once people have put their foot on that slippery slope of "WE are all special and persecuted, and THEY are persecuting us" it becomes easier and easier to shove them down it to the point of "WE are all special and persecuted and THEY are persecuting us, and YOU need to go and get rid of them so we can all live happily ever after."

And if you can see plenty of other places where that form of manipulation is going on, right this minute, good for you. You've taken a large step away from becoming one of the manipulated. [14] [15]

Meta and Related Posts

References

  1. ^ scroll down: Ask Misty Archive - Writing; archive link, accessed September 26, 2016
  2. ^ Mercedes Lackey: "The Last Straw" (February 11, 1997)
  3. ^ Mercedes Lackey: "The Last Straw" (February 11, 1997)
  4. ^ Mercedes Lackey: "The Last Straw" (February 13, 1997)
  5. ^ Mercedes Lackey: "The Last Straw" (February 14, 1997)
  6. ^ Paul Serio, a Port Authority officer, known in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Duke Aonghais, was tried and convicted for murder-for-hire in 1993 and died in prison in Florida. See the book The Wrong Man by Kevin Davis.
  7. ^ Possibly a reference to Leonard Lake, although he committed suicide before he could be brought to trial.
  8. ^ Ben Schragger was another SCA member who was convicted of child sexual abuse in 2004: Edward Kramer, co-founder of Dragon*Con, is a serial child molester who pled guilty to three counts of same in 2013 and was arrested again in 2019 for activities related to child pornography.
  9. ^ Probably NOT a reference to The Tent Peg Statement...
  10. ^ "only"?
  11. ^ Notes from Firebird
  12. ^ from Anne Rice Ain't Got Nothing On You, Mercedes Lackey or How One Author Successfully Killed Her Fandom, Only Half Intentionally (2006)
  13. ^ The Camel's Back
  14. ^ "The second is called "The Camel's Back" and was posted to the Firebird site on 22 November 1997, and is in response to the security fiasco that surrounded her attendance at Dragon*Con97." -- The Camel's Back
  15. ^ Conventions and Fans