In July 2009, Realms of Fantasy magazine published its first edition under new management. The cover featured a fish-woman with bare breasts (but no nipples). SF author K. Tempest Bradford spoke to the editors about this at a party (report on her blog), asking whether the new management would also have naked men on the cover sometimes. Defensive responses, etc, ensued. Bradford posted a parody cover created by one of her commenters, which mentioned Harlan Ellison in a negative light.
Ellison lashed out directly at Bradford, with ad hominem attacks and racist comments such as:
- For those of you who lust to box the ears of the Terminally Moronic whose pustulent idiocy has made the internet a plague-spa, one of my casual friends has pased along the name of the looneytune who started this whole "REALMS OF FANTASY-Ellison is a sexist" offensiveness.
- Her name is Kay Tempest Bradford.
- And she has a blog, I guess.
- She has dummied-up a truly insulting mock-cover of REALMS that is intended to be offensive to anyone who values my sixty years' work. Now: watch your step. She is apparently a Woman of Color (which REALLY makes me want to bee-atch-slap her, being the guy who discovered and encouraged one of the finest writers and Women of Color who ever lived, my friend, the recently-deceased Octavia Estelle Butler). And she plays that card endlessly, which is supposed to exorcise anyone suggesting she is a badmouth ignoramus, or even a NWA. Ooooh, did I say that?
- Well, folks, if you'd like to give this termagant a taste of her own approbrium, you got the Public Name in a Public Place, so have at it. Even those of you who are Merely Women, or even Women of Cuhluh.
- Hey, Kay, mama, y'wanna get into it with me, bring it swineherd!
- Yr. Pal, Harlan
Various people took him to task for this, and he apologised. Tempest accepted his apology. However, other parties were critical of the apology.
Phase 1: original discussion of Realms of Fire cover
- Realms of Covers] by K. Tempest Bradford
- New Writers GTFO by K. Tempest Bradford
- Followup to yesterday's Realms discussions by K. Tempest Bradford
- RoF drama dying down by K. Tempest Bradford
- Individual pieces vs the larger puzzle by Jim Hines
Phase 2: Harlan Ellison Backlash