The legal action Battersby is involved in surrounds the death of his first wife. He writes, "The last three years have seen a procession of delaying tactics, lies, and fallback positions as the defenders of this upstanding member of the medical community have stood by his hard-won honour. I mean, my wife went into hospital to have a baby, and then he killed her. He killed her. And we're still arguing? 3 and a half years later?"
What exactly are the doctor's lawyers trying to prove with his blog?
Battersby writes that, firstly, they are trying to prove "that I have a spectacular writing career that's so successful I was able to leave work, not for the reasons of stress, grief, and the need to look after my baby that I had mentioned, but because my career was so brilliant that I had to take care of it as it leapt towards superstardom. Believe it: these people want me to give them proof of my earnings!" They then go on to suggest "that I no longer care about the death of Sharon, because I don't mention her very often." And finally, he writes that because of "the positivity I do express in the blog, the mention I make of friends and family, the plans I talk about, in fact, everything in this entries that does not paint me as a ruined wreck of a man, prove to these money-grubbing leeches that I deserve no recompense, no compensation, no sense of closure over their client killing someone who was in his care."
Nothing more than cheap tricks by lawyers, really.
The last two accusations are so utterly stupid, I don't even need to push them over to reveal how hollow they are. The first one, however, might require a small tip because there's a chance you don't know who Lee Battersby is, and maybe you're reading this and thinking that authors who write short fiction make chunks of money and float in yatchs with big screen TVs and supermodels. Well, it's not true. Battersby's publication record is primarily with short fiction, with the addition of some reviews and a handful of poems. He hasn't published a novel. Novels, I want you to know, are where the cash is... if you've a strong readership, a proven track record, and publications that aren't limited to Australia. Last time I heard, the cash paid for a first novel of speculative fiction in Australia to an unknown author by a big publisher like Harpercollins was around five grand. It might be more, might be less, I'm not sure, but needless to say, it's not enough to live anywhere on. I mean, you could write novels and still collect the dole, you know? In addition to this, a short fiction sale is substantially less than a novel. In the small press Australian markets, you're lucky if you're reaching past a hundred bucks per slae, and you're lucky if you're reaching more than three hundred people with it.
So, in short, all the accusations against Battersby are stupid and ridiculous and just fucked up. As Battersby writes, "According to them, I am not allowed to live a life. They've lived lives over the last 3 years. My own lawyers have lived their lives. The man who killed Sharon has lived his life. Hell, he's even practiced, and undoubtedly been allowed to deal with other pregnant woman (and doesn't that make your blood a little colder?)."
Pass it round.