Considering how rampant the abuse has been historically and how leaders in the science fiction community have gone out of their way to enable and encourage the abusers, I can’t possibly recommend that you expose children in your care to science fiction conventions or other events where fans of science fiction might gather to form communities. It simply isn’t worth the risk. There are many reasons why science fiction fandom tends to attract, foster and encourage pedophiles to use their forums as a hunting ground, but it is impossible to deny that according to police, most pedophiles are drawn into certain fantasy worlds, such as Star Trek, and are therefore going to be a proportionately larger problem in science fiction than in the general culture.
Now, measures could be taken within fandom to not only make it a place unwelcoming to potential predators, but to condemn known predators more quickly and effectively. The point is — as Castalia House’s special series “Safe Space as Rape Room” has demonstrated — that the leadership of science fiction organizations have taken absolutely zero steps in this direction. In fact, that leadership has frequently come out on the side of defending pedophiles.
“This article is most emphatically a Do Not Print, Do Not Quote and Most Especially Do No Blab My Name When You Mention This Letter Substitute” – Breendoggle, 1963, early print evidence of the inability for voices in the science fiction community to swiftly and resolutely address and condemn child molestation in its ranks.
So, introduce your children to science fiction fandom at their own peril. However, if you think you are capable of protecting a child in your care while allowing them to participate at a convention or other science fiction event, you would be wise to understand the mind of a predator.
What follows is the strategy and philosophy of one of Science Fiction’s most notorious predators, who got away with serial abuse for more than 30 years before a victim finally endured the intense pressure of testifying against a man so prominent in the community. Read him carefully, because his approach was literally the only textbook on the subject for decades. All quotes are taken from Greek Love, his 516-page defense of “man-boy” love:
Walter Breen, whose first arrest occurred in 1954, published Greek Love in 1964.
Shortly before the book came out, in 1963, the scandal broke in Science Fiction, known as the Breendoggle. Initially, his known victims included:
In Greek Love, Breen details about twenty cases – known personally to him – of what he calls “Greek” or “Man-boy love.” He mentions another “forty odd” cases that he’s personally witnessed or had knowledge of of that he didn’t find particularly illustrative enough to include in his book. Yes, that’s a listing of no fewer than 60 unreported sex crimes. Breen was working with gifted children during that time, so it is unsettling to note a number of these child victims for whom he happened to have IQ test scores.
Conclusions he draws from his deep familiarity with the men and children include:
“In every instance known to me in which a boy takes a markedly active sexual role in a Greek love situation, or in which he initiates the sexual aspect, he is unusually mature and sophisticated for his years, and as a rule quite masculine.”
“I know of no instance whatever of Greek love in which the boy has later developed into a transvestite or even into a queen.”
“Neurotic traits displayed by boys involved in Greek love situations are diverse enough…so that one cannot ascertain a pattern of neurosis characteristic of, or in any way obviously related to, the Greek love relationship.”
“I shall also show that from ancient times through the early nineteenth century, the homosexual component of human sexual appetite manifested itself principally in attachments of the kind I call Greek love–between men and teen-age boys.”
“The only instances known to me of overt destructive or predatory delinquency following a Greek love relationship are boys who were traumatically torn away from their lovers.”
“In every case known to me, the boy benefitted by the relationship.”
“In a large number of instances…the man shows up as a friend in need, even a rescuer, at the outset; a solution to a boy’s emergent problems which might otherwise prove too much for the youngster.”
“Men who enter Greek love relationships and go as far as sexual involvement with their boyfriends are invariably capable of overt tenderness to a degree uncommon in this culture. No Mike Hammer types here.”
This last generalization is particularly damning. Breen died in prison for raping children so traumatized by his horrors that no fewer than three of them went public as adults to bring his crimes to light. No Mike Hammer indeed.
One of the reasons why a molester can get away with his crimes for so long, beyond exploiting the shame and fear of the victim to force the child to keep quiet, is the fact that his view of the world is so warped that normal people do not readily believe that anyone could think that way:
“…[T]he principles I have been trying to enumerate: the ripening of friendship into love, the boy’s specific needs, the guidance aspect…the frequency with which the boy is the actual seducer….”
“almost universal misunderstanding of Greek love–a misunderstanding taking all disguises from complete nonrecognition to…blind rage at “molesters” and “corrupters of minors”–a misunderstanding shared alike by psychiatrists, judges, police social workers, parents, teachers, professional apologists for adult homosexuality, reformers and do-gooders of all kinds.”
“…the most formidable antagonist of all to the Greek lover is the type of woman known as the Philip Wylie mom, whether or not she is a biological parent of the boy involved; jealous, possessive, holding firmly to the umbilical apron strings which she has done her best to tie around the boy’s neck, moralistic, obsessed with propriety and status regardless of the cost to anyone else in individual happiness or independence, she incarnates Mother Sereda and Mrs. Grund and cloaks hostility and destructiveness under do-goodery.”
He marks a historic reversal in the modern era, where homosexuality is expressed more commonly between adults. In other words, he blames the modern “adultification” of homosexuality in part for the repression of pederasty.
“I expect to show that this reversal is largely a result of a sort of conspiracy of silence about boy-love, abetted by puritanical laws, anti-sexual mores and a gradual change in the role of the adolescent in this culture.”
“This conflict is very deeply rooted in this culture; I do not know how it can be resolved save by wholesale cultural changes.”
He takes the Mattachine Society to task for “advocacy of sexual freedom for adults only, distinguishing sharply between the kind of homosexuals who restrict their activities to adults and the individuals limited to prepuberal children as sexual objects.”
“‘Nothing done in love can be labelled a perversion’–and why limit this remark to adults?”
“It is an asymetrical relationship. The man has to be a guide-philosopher-friend and counselor to the boy, someone whom the boy can look up to and trust, someone who will answer his questions, someone in whom the boy can confide without fear of rebuff, ridicule or report back to parents…”
“very often it’s the younger boy who makes the first affection gesture, or even the first overtly sexual gesture to the older man.”
It is important to understand how the pedophile sees himself: as the victim of a child’s seduction, as friend to a child in need, a mentor in charge of an asymetrical relationship, one whose duty is to repay his sexual gratification to the child with mentorship. By thinking so abnormally, he is able to build trust, not only with vulnerable children, but vulnerable parents as well.
“many such boys….are going through what is called “prime” or “bloom”–which, as any painter could tell you often makes them objectively more beautiful than they ever were before or will be again.”
“Why are young children capable of orgasm long before their bodies start manufacturing spermatozoa or ova?”
“Did it ever occur to you why there aren’t enough Big Brothers?…Civic responsibility and concern about delinquencey obviously aren’t enough by themselves–if they were, we wouldn’t have a shortage of Big Brothers. There has to be some other incentive. And I suggest that the incentive is…a warm personal relationship growing into love. And why not?…Sex was often an incentive, true enough, but it was simply one part among others in a larger relationship…”
“…their behavior often enough indicates that they are well aware of the continuity between sex and other forms of physical display of affection, a continuity which they do not regard as threatening so long as their masculine self-image is not impugned.”
“The danger in such situations comes from only three things, so far as I can see:
Breen’s defense of pedophilia is filled with quasi-rational lies. For example, he emphatically separates youth into categores of prepubescent and adolescent, and argues that in all cases known to him, it was only adolescents who were victimized. Of course, Breen’s crimes disprove this rather dramatically. His youngest known victim was three years old, and his wife (Marion Zimmer Bradley) included small children as her targets, as well.
Understanding how these predators warp both social expectations and quietly subvert the separate classes of victim and abuser may better help your awareness as you visit a convention or science fiction event with a child in your care. One thing you can count on is that you will be afforded no additional protection from the event organizers themselves.