Let me tell you, first, what this post should be.
It should be about how much of a blast I had at GenCon, my first time back in three or four years. It should be about how great it is to see friends I don’t get to see very often; how wonderful it is to discover that a good friend online is an even better friend (and better person) in real life; how much I enjoyed meeting with collaborators and co-workers whom I’ve never before met in person; how much fun it is to game with people in this industry I’ve long respected.
It should be about all that–and all of that is certainly 100% true, and fantastic–but it’s not going to be.
On at least one, and possibly two, different occasions at GenCon–the second has other potential explanations, but the first is incontrovertible–someone very specifically and very deliberately set out to spread false rumors about people for whom I care deeply. And I’m not talking about little annoying tall tales; I’m talking about truly malicious stuff that, if heard and believed by the wrong person, is potentially both career-damaging and relationship-destroying.
And just to add insult to injury, given the targets of these lies, and the way the rumors spread, I find myself almost positive that this came from someone in, or at least on the periphery of, the industry. Maybe fiction publishing, maybe roleplaying–but definitely someone I should be able to consider a colleague, or at least a peer.
No, I’m not going to repeat the rumors, or name the people smeared by said rumors. If you were involved even slightly, you know what I’m talking about.
So, first, I have a request. Whoever started those rumors, for whatever reason–if you happen to be reading this, I ask you to grow a pair and come forward. You can do it privately, via my e-mail or my contact page. If you identify yourself, and include an explanation and an apology that I can forward on to the people you hurt, that’ll be the end of it. I’ll keep your name quiet, I’ll pass along the apology, and we’ll all move on.
Well, I’m not stupid, and I’m not prone to posturing. If you don’t come forward, the odds are you’ll remain anonymous. You probably won’t be outed. You probably won’t face any consequences.
On the other hand, I know the people targeted. I know at least some of the vectors by which the rumors spread. And just maybe, I’ll be able to work out who started this crap.
I’m not precisely a giant in the field. I’m no George Martin or John Scalzi or Bob Salvatore. I’m not a publisher, or an editor, or an agent, or a publicist, or a best-seller.
But I know publishers, and editors, and agents, and publicists, and best-sellers. I talk to them. And most of them are decent people who have no patience for this sort of thing.
So, yeah, you’ll probably come out untouched. But if you don’t voluntarily come forward, if you are in the industry, and I do manage to figure out who you are?
My hand to whatever God/gods may be out there, I will make it a genuine professional goal to fucking destroy whatever career you might have had. Think about how long I’ve been communicating with my fans, and how rarely I’ve ever stooped to making threats, and decide if I’m serious about pursuing this.
You will not fuck with the people I love.