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View Full Version : Hilary Mantel Short Story Accused of 'Bad Taste'



gothicangel
09-21-2014, 10:33 PM
Thought I would link this story, it raises a few questions for me:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/hilary-mantel-should-be-investigated-by-police-over-margaret-thatcher-assassination-story-says-lord-bell-9746747.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/hilary-mantel-should-be-investigated-by-police-over-margaret-thatcher-assassination-story-says-lord-bell-9746747.html)

Should such a story be off-limits? I don't think so. Thatcher is one of the most divisive figures of modern British history. I live in one of the ex-mining communities that she crushed in the 80s, and the people are still bitter. Isn't that the job of a writer to reflect society and cause controversy?

Personally (I'm a fan of Mantel anyway), I love anyone who can get a rise out of the Tories. :D

Any thoughts?

williemeikle
09-21-2014, 10:40 PM
They weren't so vocal when Thatcher's pal Fredrick Forsythe was fantasizing about assassinating De Gaulle in Day of the Jackal

Alexandra Little
09-21-2014, 10:40 PM
Anyone who thinks that fantasizing about killing a politician is "deranged" behavior has clearly never had much interaction with the average person. :rolleyes:

Amadan
09-21-2014, 10:46 PM
They weren't so vocal when Thatcher's pal Fredrick Forsythe was fantasizing about assassinating De Gaulle in Day of the Jackal


The Day of the Jackal was less a fantasy than a fictionalized version of an actual assassination attempt.

But the MPs calling for Mantel to be "investigated" are pure political theater. What, investigate her for allegedly fantasizing about assassinating a dead woman?

Dennis E. Taylor
09-21-2014, 11:03 PM
In bad taste? Possibly.

Off limits? Fuck no. These are the same people who want you thrown in jail for flag-burning. These are the people who will wrap themselves in the flag and talk about rights when it suits them, but will be the first to attempt to shut someone else down.

There's an old joke (stop me if you've heard this)...

A Russian and an American are talking about Rights. The American says, "We have freedom of speech. I can walk right into the office of the President, pound my fist on the desk, and tell him I don't like the way he's running America."

The Russian replies (in a Russian accent), "How is that special? I too can walk into the office of the Secretary, pound my fist on the desk, and tell him I don't like the way the President is running America."

(Thank you, I'm here 'till Thursday. Try the veal.)

The point is that anyone has freedom of speech when they're saying safe, approved things. Freedom is tested by saying things that make people's blood boil; or by doing things like burning the flag. That's when you test how much someone really supports rights. And it looks like the tories have failed the test.

shadowwalker
09-21-2014, 11:16 PM
Good grief. Every writer has looked at a real life situation and thought, "Well, what if..." and sometimes some pretty nasty stuff follows. Those folks complaining ought to concern themselves with the more real world threats, frankly, and leave fiction alone.

William Haskins
09-22-2014, 12:10 AM
as is so often the case, this is less about bad taste and more about unrefined palates.

RikWriter
09-22-2014, 12:48 AM
In bad taste? Sure. But so are a lot of books, short stories, movies, etc...
That's why we have freedom of speech (in this country anyway), so people with stupid and offensive ideas are free to express them.

Kuranes
09-22-2014, 12:53 AM
I don't support harassing people who write incendiary literature, regardless of how tasteless it is. MP's investigating Mantel would definitely be harassment over speech.

That said, it's probably not healthy to get so wrapped up in politics that you start fantasizing about the assassination about politicians you don't like. If she finds a big enough audience, then good for her I suppose. But I'm probably not gonna endorse it.

shadowwalker
09-22-2014, 12:54 AM
I'm not sure the story contained stupid or offensive ideas - the description was just a woman who let someone into her home who was planning to assassinate Thatcher. There are a lot of thrillers out there that portray assassins and real life political figures. Much ado about nothing, IMO, having more to do with politics than taste.

mirandashell
09-22-2014, 01:03 AM
In bad taste? Sure. But so are a lot of books, short stories, movies, etc...
That's why we have freedom of speech (in this country anyway), so people with stupid and offensive ideas are free to express them.. We have it here too

frimble3
09-22-2014, 01:29 AM
I'm not sure the story contained stupid or offensive ideas - the description was just a woman who let someone into her home who was planning to assassinate Thatcher. There are a lot of thrillers out there that portray assassins and real life political figures. Much ado about nothing, IMO, having more to do with politics than taste.
Exactly. She wrote a story using a real, but dead, politician's name. It would be different, I think, if she was writing about the attempted assassination of a live, current politician, because that might be 'tasteless'.
And possibly inflammatory, depending.
But people who can no longer be killed? I thought it was the tactful choice.
Are they going to arrest mystery writers whose plots involve the killing of historic figures next? (Historic figure: what Margaret Thatcher is close to being, anyway.)

ironmikezero
09-22-2014, 01:32 AM
Anyone who thinks that fantasizing about killing a politician is "deranged" behavior has clearly never had much interaction with the average person. :rolleyes:

...or with the average politician...

Seriously, could Ms. Mantel have even asked for more widespread and (ahem) interesting publicity?

:Soapbox: :roll:

Helix
09-22-2014, 02:01 AM
Oh, look. Nadine Dorries is concerned for Margaret Thatcher's family. How thoughtful. Bless.

Have they all noticed yet that Thatcher is dead? And that Mantel didn't kill her. Would they have been so shocked and appalled if the subject of Mantel's story had been a Labour PM? (Or even John Major.)

The full piece on Mantel is here (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/19/hilary-mantel-interview-short-story-assassination-margaret-thatcher) (Guardian) and a short story here (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/19/hilary-mantel-short-story-assassination-margaret-thatcher).

DreamWeaver
09-22-2014, 03:01 AM
I read the story before hearing there was any controversy. I wasn't attracted by the subject, and I don't much care for reading short stories, but I love Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books so I figured I'd give it a go.

Despite not being much interested in the subject or genre, that story grabbed me, shook me up and spit me out begging for more. So, the story may be tasteless or tactless, but damn, that woman can write!

Helix
09-22-2014, 04:11 AM
Now I'm seeing Hilary Mantel as Connie James in Spooks.

aliceshortcake
09-22-2014, 11:29 AM
What a storm in a teacup. If Thatcher were still alive and a possible target for assassination I suppose there could be cause for concern, but she's already dead, fer pete's sake. And where do you draw the line when it comes to living people? There were some complaints about the 2009 TV "mockumentary" The Execution of Gary Glitter but I don't remember anyone being concerned about the subject's family.

gothicangel
09-22-2014, 11:39 AM
That said, it's probably not healthy to get so wrapped up in politics that you start fantasizing about the assassination about politicians you don't like.

You've never been to the UK then (or spoken someone who remembers the Miner's Strikes?) :D

Helix
09-22-2014, 11:49 AM
I would have reintroduced capital punishment as a one off for the "lady's not for turning" speech.

eyeblink
09-22-2014, 12:13 PM
I don't support harassing people who write incendiary literature, regardless of how tasteless it is. MP's investigating Mantel would definitely be harassment over speech.

That said, it's probably not healthy to get so wrapped up in politics that you start fantasizing about the assassination about politicians you don't like. If she finds a big enough audience, then good for her I suppose. But I'm probably not gonna endorse it.

If you read the interview in the Guardian, you'll see that the quote from Mantel is taken out of context, misleadingly so. The way I read it was that she looked out of her (then) home in Windsor and had a clear view of Thatcher, unguarded, in the grounds of the eye hospital, and thought that if she (Mantel) had been an assassin then Thatcher would have been dead there and then. That's not "fantasising about the assassination", more the what-if that resulted in this story.

Given that the story qualifies as alternate history, I suggest that the editors of Year's Best SF volumes take a look at this story.

blacbird
09-22-2014, 12:25 PM
Ummmm . . . Margaret Thatcher is currently dead. And likely to remain that way. Therefore, she cannot, by definition, be assassinated. What in hell are people upset about?

caw

Becky Black
09-22-2014, 02:05 PM
If you read the interview in the Guardian, you'll see that the quote from Mantel is taken out of context, misleadingly so. The way I read it was that she looked out of her (then) home in Windsor and had a clear view of Thatcher, unguarded, in the grounds of the eye hospital, and thought that if she (Mantel) had been an assassin then Thatcher would have been dead there and then. That's not "fantasising about the assassination", more the what-if that resulted in this story.

Given that the story qualifies as alternate history, I suggest that the editors of Year's Best SF volumes take a look at this story.

Well quite. That's the way a writer's mind tends to work. And it's not like politicians are spending all of their time in bunkers. There are probably a hundred chances every day for someone to shoot any given politician - that's how come now and again they do get shot. And even if they has 100% security so that no assassin could get near them, they can get murdered by their own bodyguards. That's common enough.

But someone has to get a long way beyond a passing thought about the fact that technically they could do so from here to actually doing it.

gothicangel
09-22-2014, 03:37 PM
Words Pot. Kettle. Black. come to mind:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/in-what-universe-is-hilary-mantels-imaginary-assassination-of-margret-thatcher-worthy-of-police-investigation-9747165.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/in-what-universe-is-hilary-mantels-imaginary-assassination-of-margret-thatcher-worthy-of-police-investigation-9747165.html)

Mantel's response:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/22/hilary-mantel-critics-thatcher-assassination-short-story?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1 (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/22/hilary-mantel-critics-thatcher-assassination-short-story?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1)

Buffysquirrel
09-22-2014, 05:01 PM
That said, it's probably not healthy to get so wrapped up in politics that you start fantasizing about the assassination about politicians you don't like.

'Don't like' is the understatement of the year. Intrusive thoughts are common and fantasies harmless. It's those people who start to act out their fantasies we need to worry about.

Helix
09-22-2014, 05:11 PM
Words Pot. Kettle. Black. come to mind:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/in-what-universe-is-hilary-mantels-imaginary-assassination-of-margret-thatcher-worthy-of-police-investigation-9747165.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/in-what-universe-is-hilary-mantels-imaginary-assassination-of-margret-thatcher-worthy-of-police-investigation-9747165.html)

Nice use of seaside postcard innuendo in that piece.


Mantel's response:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/22/hilary-mantel-critics-thatcher-assassination-short-story?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1 (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/22/hilary-mantel-critics-thatcher-assassination-short-story?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1)

That whole episode of Start the Week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04htdl2) is good, esp. Mantel and Kei Miller.

Wilde_at_heart
09-22-2014, 05:32 PM
as is so often the case, this is less about bad taste and more about unrefined palates.

In this instance? Absolutely :D

Also, she's already dead ...

Jamesaritchie
09-22-2014, 08:33 PM
Anyone who thinks that fantasizing about killing a politician is "deranged" behavior has clearly never had much interaction with the average person. :rolleyes:


I guess I'm not the average person, and neither are my friends or family. At least not in the way this deranged writer went about it.

Jamesaritchie
09-22-2014, 08:43 PM
She has every right to write such a story, but those who read it have every right to respond as they have. This is the nature of writing.

I do find her somewhat sick, but probably just more of a fool than anything else. This is not a story I would write, but it's not something I would believe or think or fantasize about, either, so maybe that's the difference.

Anyway, freedom of speech and freedom of expression do not change morality, or and being a writer is no more a license to commit wrong than anyone else has. Being a writer is not special, and comes with no "get out of responsibility free" cards.

I fully support her right to think as she wishes, and to write whatever she wishes. I also support the right of anyone who reads it to think she's a depraved idiot.

I do find the police aspect troubling, but we've had people right here get into serious trouble for writing a story about classroom shootings, and other such things. I suspect a story posted on a blog that's about assassinating Obama might get someone in serious trouble, even though it's fiction.

This is highly troublesome, but personal opinions about us because of what we write are normal, and there's nothing at all wrong with it.

Phaeal
09-22-2014, 09:11 PM
What would be tasteless would be to write about a necromancer resurrecting Thatcher so they could assassinate her, rinse, repeat. Maybe a necromancer who runs a whole business of resurrecting hated figures so they can be assassinated.

That would be really tasteless.

Yup.

'Scuse me, gotta visit the plot bunny hutch.

Buffysquirrel
09-22-2014, 09:33 PM
Mantel is neither sick, deranged nor a fool. She wrote a story that some people don't like. That's all.

Also, RYFW.

Amadan
09-22-2014, 09:47 PM
She has every right to write such a story, but those who read it have every right to respond as they have. This is the nature of writing.

I do find her somewhat sick, but probably just more of a fool than anything else. This is not a story I would write, but it's not something I would believe or think or fantasize about, either, so maybe that's the difference.

Anyway, freedom of speech and freedom of expression do not change morality, or and being a writer is no more a license to commit wrong than anyone else has. Being a writer is not special, and comes with no "get out of responsibility free" cards.

I fully support her right to think as she wishes, and to write whatever she wishes. I also support the right of anyone who reads it to think she's a depraved idiot.

I do find the police aspect troubling, but we've had people right here get into serious trouble for writing a story about classroom shootings, and other such things. I suspect a story posted on a blog that's about assassinating Obama might get someone in serious trouble, even though it's fiction.

This is highly troublesome, but personal opinions about us because of what we write are normal, and there's nothing at all wrong with it.


I am not surprised that politicians looking for reasons to be outraged might equate "A piece of fiction about assassinating Margaret Thatcher" with "Fantasizing about assassinating Margaret Thatcher," but it does surprise me that a writer would.

One shudders to think how depraved, sick, and immoral Vladimor Nabokov, George R. R. Martin, Suzanne Collins, and Stephen King must be.

There's also a bit of a difference between speculations about assassinating a sitting President and speculations about assassinating a deceased person. Not that I think the former should be off-limits, but it's understandable that the police might be slightly more concerned about hypothetical threats to someone who's actually alive.

Myrealana
09-22-2014, 09:58 PM
Bad taste? Maybe.
Deraged? No
Dangerous? Certainly not.
Criminal? Clearly not.

ghost
09-22-2014, 10:29 PM
So let me get this straight.
North Korea threatens war and pleads with the UN to stop the release of the Interview because it's about assassinating Kim Jong Un.

No one takes it seriously and thousands mock North Korea. It becomes the hilarious running joke of the week.

http://www.tmz.com/2014/07/11/seth-rogen-james-franco-the-interview-kim-jong-un-complaint-stop-movie-united-nations/

An author writes about *thinking* of assassinating a dead woman and there is suddenly a shit storm?

Leadership aside, this is rather hypocritical.

Buffysquirrel
09-22-2014, 10:35 PM
I am not surprised that politicians looking for reasons to be outraged might equate "A piece of fiction about assassinating Margaret Thatcher" with "Fantasizing about assassinating Margaret Thatcher," but it does surprise me that a writer would.

To be fair, Mantel did indicate that seeing Thatcher unguarded was the inspiration for the story.

Amadan
09-22-2014, 10:46 PM
To be fair, Mantel did indicate that seeing Thatcher unguarded was the inspiration for the story.


Sure, but that doesn't mean she was fantasizing about actually doing it.

Kylabelle
09-22-2014, 11:09 PM
She would have had to fantasize about time-traveling in order to kill someone already dead.

Seriously problematic. Clearly the woman has too much imagination. Dangerous stuff, imagination.

:rolleyes:

Buffysquirrel
09-22-2014, 11:35 PM
Sure, but that doesn't mean she was fantasizing about actually doing it.

Well, no, you're either fantasising about it or planning to do it. If you intend to do it, it's no longer a fantasy.

jjdebenedictis
09-23-2014, 01:29 AM
Well, no, you're either fantasising about it or planning to do it. If you intend to do it, it's no longer a fantasy.Gotta disagree, although it's maybe hair-splitting.

I define fantasizing as thinking about something because it brings me pleasure. Therefore, when my imagination says, "OMG, that window opens too far; a person might trip and fall against it accidentally and be dumped right out the window and down the whole twenty-two stories of the building," I don't call that fantasizing; I call it paranoid dread.

If I saw a politician unguarded, I might think momentarily about how an assassin could have used that moment, but -- given I have zero desire to see anyone hurt -- I'd classify that thought process of mine as "what if" or "catastrophizing" rather than "fantasizing".

Buffysquirrel
09-23-2014, 02:05 AM
If I saw a politician unguarded, I might think momentarily about how an assassin could have used that moment, but -- given I have zero desire to see anyone hurt -- I'd classify that thought process of mine as "what if" or "catastrophizing" rather than "fantasizing".

I think it is quibbling :). I don't see fantasies as intrinsically pleasant. But either way, what-iffing, whatever you wanna call it, is different from planning something you actually intend to carry out.

Ken
09-23-2014, 02:17 AM
Rather alike to Joan Rivers:

Mantel was also last year centre of a controversy, when she described the Duchess of Cambridge as a bland, “machine made” Princess in a London Review of Books lecture.

Maybe Mantel can take Joan's place on the Fashion Police show alongside Kelly Osborne.

Amadan
09-23-2014, 02:41 AM
I agree with jjbenedictis's quibbling, and I don't think it's a quibble - the criticism being leveled at Mantel implies that she was fantasizing about killing Margaret Thatcher in the sense of wishing someone would actually do it. There's a significant difference between a "What if?" speculation and an "If only..." desire.

JustSarah
09-23-2014, 02:48 AM
Oh! So it's a UK thing. Anyone who seriously is that thin skinned, should go read some Alternate History Steampunk. Or go look up the word fiction.

Buffysquirrel
09-23-2014, 03:52 AM
There's a significant difference between a "What if?" speculation and an "If only..." desire.

And the difference is?

jjdebenedictis
09-23-2014, 03:58 AM
I think it is quibbling :). I don't see fantasies as intrinsically pleasant. But either way, what-iffing, whatever you wanna call it, is different from planning something you actually intend to carry out.


I agree with jjbenedictis's quibbling, and I don't think it's a quibble - the criticism being leveled at Mantel implies that she was fantasizing about killing Margaret Thatcher in the sense of wishing someone would actually do it. There's a significant difference between a "What if?" speculation and an "If only..." desire.I'm wondering if this is a matter of the word "fantasize" being used differently by people in different parts of the world? Where I'm from, the connotation of "fantasy" is definitely "something desired", but I can see it meaning only "something imagined" in other parts of the world. And I notice Buffysquirrel is located on the other side of the Atlantic than me...

Amadan
09-23-2014, 04:32 AM
And the difference is?


"What if someone killed Margaret Thatcher?"

"I wish someone would kill Margaret Thatcher."

BenPanced
09-23-2014, 04:41 AM
Hilary Mantel has recalled the day in 1983 when she spotted an unguarded Margaret Thatcher from the window of her Windsor flat and fantasised about killing her.

"Immediately your eye measures the distance," she told the Guardian, her finger and thumb forming a gun. "I thought, if I wasn't me, if I was someone else, she'd be dead."Sounds like it was one day over 30 years ago rather than a lifelong obsession. (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/19/hilary-mantel-fantasised-killing-margaret-thatcher)

ETA: Reading this article again, it sounds like she spent more time writing the story and getting it the way she wanted it than actually planning an assassination.

William Haskins
09-23-2014, 05:09 AM
The thought police would get him just the same. He had committedówould have committed, even if he had never set pen to paperóthe essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.

People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.
- nineteen eighty-four

Buffysquirrel
09-23-2014, 01:47 PM
"What if someone killed Margaret Thatcher?"

"I wish someone would kill Margaret Thatcher."

Both involve conceptualising the idea of killing her; neither involves any intent to kill. I think you are seeing difference where there is none and creating what's merely a semantic argument.

Buffysquirrel
09-23-2014, 01:48 PM
I'm wondering if this is a matter of the word "fantasize" being used differently by people in different parts of the world? Where I'm from, the connotation of "fantasy" is definitely "something desired", but I can see it meaning only "something imagined" in other parts of the world. And I notice Buffysquirrel is located on the other side of the Atlantic than me...

Possibly. Again, a semantic issue.

Lillith1991
09-23-2014, 02:17 PM
Possibly. Again, a semantic issue.

Not likely. I live on the upper east coast of the US and I have a very similar definition of fantasy to yours. Things stop being harmless fantasy to me once someone actually starts planning to carry whatever it is out.

Anyway...has it escaped the notice of the half-wits freaking out about this that the woman is dead? Though considering she's only been in the ground 1.5 years, this could possibly be considered poor taste in when the story was released. But poor taste in ever being written? Hell no!

Kylabelle
09-23-2014, 03:13 PM
I guess I'm not the average person, and neither are my friends or family. At least not in the way this deranged writer went about it.



Anyway...has it escaped the notice of the half-wits freaking out about this that the woman is dead?

Mod request:

Let's cut out the name-calling please. Neither of these statements would have been weaker without the epithets.

Thank you.

Amadan
09-23-2014, 03:56 PM
Both involve conceptualising the idea of killing her; neither involves any intent to kill. I think you are seeing difference where there is none and creating what's merely a semantic argument.

No, it's a logical argument. Neither "What if" nor "I wish" would be any basis for actually charging anyone with anything more than malign sentiment (in the latter case), but to the degree that one cares to understand how other people's minds work and what their motivations are, it's a significant distinction.

Buffysquirrel
09-23-2014, 05:40 PM
No, it's a logical argument. Neither "What if" nor "I wish" would be any basis for actually charging anyone with anything more than malign sentiment (in the latter case), but to the degree that one cares to understand how other people's minds work and what their motivations are, it's a significant distinction.

Or maybe your understanding of how people's minds work isn't the same as mine, because I do not see the distinction, nor do I find any logic in simply restating the same thing using different words. In both cases the concept is formulated; in both cases there's no intention to carry it out.

Amadan
09-23-2014, 05:50 PM
Or maybe your understanding of how people's minds work isn't the same as mine, because I do not see the distinction, nor do I find any logic in simply restating the same thing using different words. In both cases the concept is formulated; in both cases there's no intention to carry it out.


If one does not understand the distinction between desiring something and not desiring it, I don't know what else to say.

shadowwalker
09-23-2014, 06:01 PM
I have to agree with Amadan on this one. "What if" is speculating, and may or may not be explored based on personal feelings toward the person. "I wish", while not a necessarily a declaration of intent or even seriousness, is certainly an expression of personal feelings, of 'want'. One is objective, the other is not.

jjdebenedictis
09-23-2014, 07:53 PM
Or maybe your understanding of how people's minds work isn't the same as mine, because I do not see the distinction, nor do I find any logic in simply restating the same thing using different words. In both cases the concept is formulated; in both cases there's no intention to carry it out.I, too, am finding it just odd that you don't comprehend this difference. Amadan's re-wording was an attempt to help you see the difference, which is a perfectly logical response in a discussion where two people aren't understanding one another well.

Phaeal
09-23-2014, 08:50 PM
And no one is even considering the fact that Meryl Streep played Thatcher. What if Mantel is secretly considering killing MERYL STREEP???

Because slippery slope.

BenPanced
09-23-2014, 09:05 PM
I seem to remember this level of outrage, if not more so since the subject was still alive, from US politicians when somebody released a movie that detailed a supposed assassination of George W. Bush during his presidency.

Lillith1991
09-23-2014, 09:17 PM
I seem to remember this level of outrage, if not more so since the subject was still alive, from US politicians when somebody released a movie that detailed a supposed assassination of George W. Bush during his presidency.

See, that makes complete sense to me. They guy is still alive and was leader of the nation at the time, they have to consider such things as a possible threat against the nation's leader. And to be honest when the person is still alive and in office such things really are tasteless, whether a harmless movie or a published short story.

The thing that gets me about the outrage in this case, is that though you could say the timing is tasteless considering she hasn't been dead even two years. She is still neither living or in office. That to me means that the story existing isn't tasteless like so many on the opposite side claim, just when it was released. And I honestly don't understand why people can't separate the two things. Screaming it's tasteless just because it exists doesn't make sense, at least to me. Saying Mantel should respect that her family is likely still grieving the loss is one thing, saying she should never have written the story is another.

William Haskins
09-23-2014, 09:22 PM
I seem to remember this level of outrage, if not more so since the subject was still alive, from US politicians when somebody released a movie that detailed a supposed assassination of George W. Bush during his presidency.

well, in fairness, that was while he was a sitting president.

even were thatcher still alive, she would be more than 2 decades removed from political office.

eyeblink
09-23-2014, 11:32 PM
well, in fairness, that was while he was a sitting president.

even were thatcher still alive, she would be more than 2 decades removed from political office.

There are a couple of precedents in the SF world regarding Ronald Reagan:

J.G. Ballard's "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan", written when Reagan was Governor of California, part of The Atrocity Exhibition and which caused the US print run to be pulped when one of the publishing executives noticed what was in the book they were about to publish.

Michael Blumlein's short story "Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration", his debut publication, which was published in the UK in Interzone as no market in the US (Blumlein's home country) would publish it.