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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The SF gatekeepers strike again

Both Sarah Hoyt and I have previously written about the ideological gatekeepers in publishing, a situation that has persisted for at least 20 years and has continually gotten worse over time. The SJWs in science fiction deny it,of course, and they've been able to get away with doing so because most authors are afraid to talk for fear of their careers being destroyed.

But the ability to publish independently is eliminating that fear:
I launched a book this week and I went Indie with it. Indie means I released it on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. I had to. My Publisher, HarperVoyager, refused to publish it because of some of the ideas I wrote about in it. In other words, they were attempting to effectively ban a book because they felt the ideas and concepts I was writing about were dangerous and more importantly, not in keeping with their philosophical ideals. They felt my ideas weren’t socially acceptable and were “guaranteed to lose fifty percent of my audience” as related back to me by my agent. But more importantly… they were "deeply offended"....

apparently advancing the thought that a brand new life form might see us, humanity, as dangerous because we terminate our young, apparently… that’s a ThoughtCrime most heinous over at Harper Collins. Even for one tiny little chapter.

Here’s what happened next. I was not given notes as writers are typically given during the editorial process. I was told by my agent that my editor was upset and “deeply offended” that I had even dared advanced this idea. As though I had no right to have such a thought or even game the idea within a science fiction universe. I was immediately removed from the publication schedule which as far as I know is odd and unprecedented, especially for an author who has had both critical and commercial success. This, being removed from the production schedule, happened before my agent had even communicated the editor’s demand that I immediately change the offending chapter to something more “socially” (read “progressive”) acceptable. That seemed odd. How could they possibly have known that I would or would not change it? It seems reasonable to ask first. And stating that I would lose fifty percent of my readers if I wrote what I wrote, well, they never seem to mind, or worry about losing readers, when other writers publish their progressive-oriented personal agendas on modern morality when they’re on the “right side” of history regarding the anti-religion, gender and sexuality issues.

They don’t worry about those issues because they’re deemed important, especially when they’re ham-handedly jammed into the framework of the story. They must deem it a public service, especially if there is a corresponding Social Justice outcry. It’s for the “greater good” and the critics are just bigots anyways. Isn’t that what they always say? That anyone else who doesn’t think the way they do is just a bigot and a phobic of some kind. What a boorish way to dismiss a counter-viewpoint. Thinking like that made the concentration camps possible. So, maybe they were so upset by what I’d written they forgot to be professional? They merely demanded that I rewrite that chapter not because it was poorly written, or, not supportive of the arc of the novel. No, they demanded it be struck from the record because they hate the idea I’d advanced. They demanded it be deleted without discussion. They felt it was for… the “greater good.” That is censorship, and a violation of everyone’s right to free speech. They demanded it be so or else… I wouldn’t be published.

That’s how they threatened a writer with a signed contract.

I refused.
I am a writer.
No. One. Will Ever. Bully. Me.
Ever.
I've had four - FOUR - book contracts either paid off or canceled myself because a gatekeeper inside the publishing house disliked the ideological content of a book that the editor had wanted to sign. In fairness, this hasn't always been an SJW gatekeeper, as Media Whores was killed by a conservative publishing house after they learned that I was not solely targeting the left-wing media whores, but had written a chapter on Bill O'Reilly.

But in three out of the four cases, it was an SJW playing thought police. Publishing, as an industry, has largely been converged, which is why so much of it is so unreadable these days. They are genuinely less interested in selling books and making money than advancing their social justice cause.

Labels: ,

70 Comments:

Blogger weka February 09, 2016 6:21 PM  

Have these people forgotten that books compete with beer for disposable money?

Blogger #7139 February 09, 2016 6:24 PM  

@1 Apparently they have.

Blogger Ingot9455 February 09, 2016 6:31 PM  

Shades of SOMEWHITHER.

Anonymous NateM February 09, 2016 6:41 PM  

Please tell me Media Whores is back on the schedule now that you've kissed off mainstream publishing for good. With this election, there's all the more reason to jab the "conservative" mainstream media in the eye

Anonymous Boris February 09, 2016 6:44 PM  

Obviously HarperVoyager should be forced to publish this guy's novel because free speech.

Blogger VD February 09, 2016 6:52 PM  

Please tell me Media Whores is back on the schedule now that you've kissed off mainstream publishing for good. With this election, there's all the more reason to jab the "conservative" mainstream media in the eye

You're kidding, right? No, I have no intention of revisiting that. I have far too many irons in the fire at the moment. Also, the media scene has changed dramatically since I wrote the first few chapters.

Blogger Ingot9455 February 09, 2016 7:00 PM  

To paraphrase Churchill on Media Whores; we have already established what they are. The only quibbling from here would be dickering about the price.

Anonymous kfg February 09, 2016 7:03 PM  

"Isn’t that what they always say? That anyone else who doesn’t think the way they do is just a bigot and a phobic of some kind."

You forgot "requires (re)education."

Blogger Krul February 09, 2016 7:18 PM  

Purchased "Ctrl Alt Revolt!" for Kindle after reading Nick Cole's article.

Into chapter 2. So far, it's looks like cool scifi heavily seasoned with funny/poignant (if rather obvious) social commentary. Kind of a Robocop feel, except that unlike the makers of Robocop, Nick Cole appears to know a thing or two about computers.

Good, strong start. We'll see how the rest goes. Also, it's a prequel so it's probably a good starting place if, like me, you haven't heard of Nick Cole until today and want to know if his work is for you.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 09, 2016 7:19 PM  

Obviously HarperVoyager should be forced to publish this guy's novel because free speech.

SJWs always lie.

Anonymous Be Not Afraid February 09, 2016 7:21 PM  

I just bought two of his books. Vox, thank you for passing this on!

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume February 09, 2016 7:29 PM  

I just purchased two books from Nick Cole.

Reading the comments over there, I see the odiously passive aggressive Chris Gerrib (who hangs out at File 770, and who also used to amuse himself attempting to taunt John C. Wright on his blog) felt the urge to make an appearance and employ his usual intellectually dishonest tactics.

SJWs are so predictable.

Blogger Happy Housewife February 09, 2016 7:29 PM  

Bought three of his books because of this. Authors who stand up to bullies must be supported!

Blogger Ken Prescott February 09, 2016 7:30 PM  

@10 When will he double down?

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 09, 2016 7:32 PM  

Knowing Boris, any minute now.

Blogger kh123 February 09, 2016 7:36 PM  

Polar caps are melting so fast, he may not have time to reach the keyboard.

OpenID basementhomebrewer February 09, 2016 7:38 PM  

Obviously HarperVoyager should be forced to publish this guy's novel because free speech.

Or you know they had a contract with him and they are censoring his work because of their own personal politics rather than based on a provable impact to sales. The message in this book is only offensive to ~20% of the population that supports unfettered abortion. That is a far cry from half the population. I would wager that it is also far less than the 80% of the population that is offended by excused pedophilia which is featured in other SciFi books as well as SJW darlings books like Lena Dunham.

When all of your beloved gate keeper publishing houses go out of business do not complain about how unfair the market is to your preferred SJW messaging authors. We will remember your callousness towards authors with whom you disagree.

Blogger Nick S February 09, 2016 7:44 PM  

Went to read the free chapter, but Amazon/Kindle is discriminating against Pale Moon Browser.

Blogger BigFire February 09, 2016 8:07 PM  

re: Nick S

It's $0.99. I buy it just for the hell of it.

Anonymous Noah Nehm February 09, 2016 8:10 PM  

Here's a gedanken experiment: Suppose the robots saw humanity as dangerous because they celebrated diversity, which they saw as an affront to the principle of optimization and standardization. Would a right wing editor become enraged and deeply offended? No. But suggest that abortion isn't an unadulterated good to a Lefty SJW, that's blasphemy.

Again Chesterton: If you want to see what a society views a sacred, look for what it considers to be blasphemy.

BTW, the issue of the gatekeeper is interesting. For years, many Catholic seminaries had SJW gatekeepers, quite often militant nuns (like Sr. Mary Furious at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, as one priest once told me). This was documented in detail in the book "Goodbye Good Men" by Michael Rose. If you supported the progressive agenda: Women Priests, Abortion, Normalization of Homosexuality, etc., you were in. One peep against it, you were out. Even in my own parish there was a retired doctor who was the model of the perfect candidate for being a deacon. He was drummed out for not being "pastoral" enough. I understand that things have gotten better, but for decades it was bad news to be a conservative Catholic trying to study for the priesthood in liberal dioceses.

And for those who think this is just a Catholic issue, my guess is that this goes on at Protestant seminaries as well, particularly for some of the more mainstream denominations.

Anonymous Noah Nehm February 09, 2016 8:29 PM  

Just to be clear: The Sr. Mary Furious story was told to me in the late 90s, so that nun is probably long gone from St. John's Seminary....

Blogger JCclimber February 09, 2016 8:41 PM  

Thanks for bringing this author to my attention.
Bought 3 Kindle books. Too bad 2 of the 3 are published by Harper and therefore they'll get a cut.

Blogger Nick S February 09, 2016 8:55 PM  

re: Nick S

It's $0.99. I buy it just for the hell of it.


Trust me, BigFire, a little glitch with one browser isn't an preventative issue. I only mentioned it because it's very recent milestone release of the browser and many people here converted to it after the Mozilla debacle. Just an interesting curiosity more than anything else. Hell, I'd buy the book just because the guy has a cool name. Amirite?

Blogger bob k. mando February 09, 2016 9:06 PM  

10. Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 09, 2016 7:19 PM


you realize that a 'bosom' includes both of a woman's breasts, right?

i only mention this because it appears that you're running a harem.

you know, what with the multiple bosoms and all.

Anonymous Frank Luke February 09, 2016 9:24 PM  

At this rate, I'm only going to be able to buy Baen, Indy, and Castalia. Of course, considering that I seem to get fewer duds from those groups, it's almost that way already.

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 09, 2016 9:26 PM  

How many decades have we stupidly stood by waiting for there to be bonfires of books so we can point out finger and say "ah, there's the tyranny!".
And the whole time, all they had to do was take over the education system and ensure people either can't read or won't.

And for those holdouts who do read, they took over other institutions to ensure that when they read, it's glorification of degeneracy and SocJus. And here there be a battle.

How soon before Amazon starts policing content.... oh oh..

Blogger M. Bibliophile February 09, 2016 9:36 PM  

Bought it. Based on his description it sounds like a fun read, and I'm always looking for new SF authors.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr February 09, 2016 9:38 PM  

And Castalia House picks up another author...

Anonymous Ahmad ibn Fadhlan February 09, 2016 9:47 PM  

There may be a medical cure...

"Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men"
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046774

Anonymous Godfrey February 09, 2016 9:55 PM  

A desperate act of a dying system.

Keep hammering.

Be Relentless.

It's fun being the rebel. It's pure joy to undermine a corrupt bankrupt oppressive system.

They're the conservatives now.

Destroy their system.

It's easy.

Blogger Krul February 09, 2016 9:55 PM  

@28 - "And Castalia House picks up another author..."

Castalia welcomes the talent the big publishing houses won't touch.

CH is the Hufflepuff of SF/F.

Blogger The Other Robot February 09, 2016 10:24 PM  

Fuck you Harper Voyager. I just purchased the Kindle version and will probably purchase the Dead Tree version.

Anonymous IncoherentM February 09, 2016 10:29 PM  

I bought the SJW censored book along with another title even though I have no idea who the author is. Hopefully the sales will be high enough to get noticed by the former publisher and cause some consternation.

Anonymous Rolf February 09, 2016 11:15 PM  

It's up to:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#639 Paid in Kindle Store
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#5 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Technothrillers

I'm sure at this point he's just all broken up over Harper telling him to piss off. Good on him for walking, and publishing HIS story. Hope he sells a 100k copies over the next few years.

Walkin' tall with a story a conventional publisher doesn't want. The way it has to be some days.

Anonymous Matt February 09, 2016 11:43 PM  

The concept of "aliens might view a species that aborts as dangerous" is a genuinely interesting and unique idea, the kind of thing that SF's supposed to be about. Of course in this day and age it's impossible to be shocked, but it's still remarkable that people who profess themselves fans and caretakers of such a storied and groundbreaking genre would kill an idea like that for purely political reasons.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 09, 2016 11:54 PM  

bob k. mando wrote:10. Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 09, 2016 7:19 PM

you realize that a 'bosom' includes both of a woman's breasts, right?

i only mention this because it appears that you're running a harem.

you know, what with the multiple bosoms and all.



mmmffrmmhuh?

Blogger Dave February 09, 2016 11:59 PM  

@Vox,

Why didn't those same gatekeepers that kept your books from being published disallow the contract offer from the start? How disfunctional are these publishers that one entity signs you to a book contract but another doesn't allow anything to be published. Did they sign you with the intention to convince you to write something that would be acceptable to the gatekeepers?

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 10, 2016 12:06 AM  

Dave wrote:Why didn't those same gatekeepers that kept your books from being published disallow the contract offer from the start?

I am going to assume you're not actually either stupid or disingenuous. If I am justified in doing so, you will find your answer in examining this question that you asked.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty February 10, 2016 12:06 AM  

Hint: the key word is "same".

Blogger Mark Butterworth February 10, 2016 12:32 AM  

Matt wrote:The concept of "aliens might view a species that aborts as dangerous" is a genuinely interesting and unique idea, the kind of thing that SF's supposed to be about.

It is a clever, logical, and plausible premise for a story and doesn't imply any value judgment except on the part of the antagonist AI.

The situation now where a writer can't game any idea he pleases is very sickening.

Think of all the Heinlein, et al, stories that would be verboten now. Think of Dick's, Man in the High Castle. The idea of imagining if Japan and Germany had won the war, how insulting and offensive to all our Veterans. It must be never see the light of day and ink.

Anonymous Rolf February 10, 2016 12:41 AM  

The ilk take a walk to Amazon. JCW's rank and file march. Suddenly:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328 Paid in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#3 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Technothrillers

Yes, this is a totally inconsequential corner of an unimportant tiny and insignificant part of SF-dome.

Blogger Groot February 10, 2016 1:08 AM  

@36. Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty:
"mmmffrmmhuh?"

LOL. They can hold your attention for extended periods of time, can't they? Years and decades even. Epistemologically anchored, as it were.

Blogger Young Heaving [both of a woman's breasts] of Liberty February 10, 2016 1:27 AM  

Just boobs,
You rubes,
Why focus on this?

Why not,
Stand athwart
Limousines leaking piss?

Anonymous Spartacus February 10, 2016 1:35 AM  

Just bought the book on principle.

No enemies on the Right. That includes freethinkers in today's vile Leftiverse.

Join or die.

Anonymous County Limerick February 10, 2016 1:39 AM  

Limousines
and libertines
micturating as they go
a bump may hit
and bounce said tits
sending bosoms to and fro.

Anonymous The Train is Anapestic February 10, 2016 1:44 AM  

Although I suppose they're not in true limerick form.
AABBA and all that..

Blogger roger gibson February 10, 2016 2:00 AM  

This was an excellent read in itself. Thanks.

Blogger Groot February 10, 2016 2:12 AM  

@ Young Heaving [both of a woman's breasts] of Liberty:

Ought you, Matthew,
Dismiss our lust?

Displaced, your wrath, you,
Of our gaze on her bust.

What plaint hath you
to find bliss, as we must?

Blogger Neanderserk February 10, 2016 2:13 AM  

"aliens might view a species that aborts as dangerous"

I think it's dumb. Humans have genocided every tool-using hominid they couldn't interbreed with, are aggressive and expansionary, and obviously untrustworthy negotiation partners. That's why any rational ET would exterminate us without quarter or preamble.

But the book looks really good, and it's free on the lovely lovely Kindle Unlimited. Good drama with realistic AI/ET encounters is hard, for the same reason dramatizing bug windshield impacts is hard.

Blogger tim February 10, 2016 2:24 AM  

Media whores will have no visitation forthcoming it appears.

Internecine sqabbles

Anonymous BoysMom February 10, 2016 2:32 AM  

@Rolf Don't forget Larry Correia's Monster Hunters in your fan list. Saw this on his facebook first. I suppose facebook has some use beyond youth group communications.

Blogger dfordoom February 10, 2016 4:07 AM  

They are genuinely less interested in selling books and making money than advancing their social justice cause.

One of the most dangerous myths is that large corporations only care about profits. They care about influence, and power. They're happy to sacrifice profits in order to increase their influence and their power. It's quite obvious that this is so but the myth is very persistent.

Anonymous Bukulu February 10, 2016 5:06 AM  

Bob K. @ 24,

"i only mention this because it appears that you're running a harem."

And this is a problem why, exactly?

Anonymous Be Not Afraid February 10, 2016 5:36 AM  

I've started reading the AI apocalypse book, and it's good. It's a somewhat satiric view of a very unhappy (very plausible) future where the 1% live in unimaginable luxury and the rest of us subsist on various government handouts (one character lives in the Chelsea building of the Clinton housing project). I have a strange feeling the AI might yet be the hero of the piece. Anyway, it's way underpriced at $.99, give it a go!

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2016 5:43 AM  

> And for those who think this is just a Catholic issue, my guess is that this goes on at Protestant seminaries as well, particularly for some of the more mainstream denominations.

You could say that without fear of serious exaggeration, yes.

Anonymous Quartermaster February 10, 2016 7:54 AM  

I find it amusing that a conservative publisher wouldn't publish a book because you dissed O'Reilly. O'Reilly is no conservative, and that was obvious very quickly after Fox gave him his own program.

@20
Yeppers! Several United Methodist seminaries will put you out. Same with a couple of the Presbyterian seminaries.

@24
It seems you’re jealous he’s running a harem and you aren’t.

Blogger Tim February 10, 2016 8:57 AM  

Shows how far publishing has fallen. I read a short story many years ago, an alien had somehow fallen to earth and was horrified when the human who found her offered her eggs as part of breakfast. The thought she had was something like "They eat unfertilized ovum!" How far a once great field has fallen when there are concepts that cannot be mentioned.

Anonymous joe doakes February 10, 2016 9:16 AM  

The Kindle book is only 99 cents on Amazon. I bought it just to throw a buck in the guy's hat to reward his courage in taking the chance. Thanks for the link, Vox!

Anonymous Rolf February 10, 2016 9:16 AM  

Did Harper ever get him into the top 200 of Amazon overall?
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Cyberpunk
#2 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Technothrillers

Why does a song with words something like 'and the gates came tumblin' down/ spring into my head?

OpenID denektenorsk February 10, 2016 9:26 AM  

I find the premise of abortion being aberrant to an alien culture to be a fasinating idea and to my knowledge it is unique. If humans will do that to their offspring imagine what they will do to us.

If explored it might actually change someones mind against the narrative. We can't have that, now can we?

Keep in mind I'm one of the people the publisher is offended on behalf of. I support abortion in certain circumstances. As someone who believes in personal responsibility getting drunk, pregnant and regretting it after the fact doesn't cut it. Rape? Yes. Gang rape by Orcs. Definitely yes. Congenital deformity? Yes. Scream eugenics all you like.

Anonymous Rolf February 10, 2016 9:33 AM  

@61 - its not that much different from the Spartans discarding newborns that were deformed or defective in some perceived way. A bit more intelligent in terms of increasing the survival rate of the mom, as childbirth is hard. But it's certainly a lot less common than AI / genetic engineering / FTL / etc.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau February 10, 2016 10:29 AM  

The Hags get upset at a Doritoes Super Bowl Commercial. I can see one being all upset over a couple of paragraphs of fiction. They have been very touchy since the O'Keefe Planned Parenthood videos surfaced.

Anonymous Mr. Rational February 10, 2016 10:56 AM  

@60 @61 Careful about that.  Historical literacy and sensible positions take you firmly outside the Pro-Life camp!

Anonymous Mr. Rational February 10, 2016 10:59 AM  

@62 I watched that commercial and couldn't figure out what the fuss was about.  People are reading things into it that just aren't there.  Kid inherited dad's Doritos addiction... too funny.

Anyone who's offended is at least as crazy as the leftards being "triggered" by "microaggressions".  At least.

Anonymous Dave Gerrold's Cabana Boy February 10, 2016 12:09 PM  

"Keep in mind I'm one of the people the publisher is offended on behalf of. I support abortion in certain circumstances".

Question: why would you be offended that someone has a different opinion on the subject than you? Or in this case, describes a fiction where someone is horrified by something you find acceptable. Why should that necessarily offend you...assuming that you are comfortable in your position that is?

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd February 10, 2016 1:42 PM  

@61 I support the death penalty for rapists, but not for their unborn children.

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2016 11:36 PM  

@66 That merely perpetuates rape-genes, the foundation of ACTUAL rape culture

Blogger bob k. mando February 11, 2016 12:53 AM  

Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty
mmmffrmmhuh?



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP8zXJ_xsEc&feature=youtu.be&t=15s


Young Heaving [both of a woman's breasts] of Liberty February 10, 2016 1:27 AM
Why not,
Stand athwart
Limousines leaking piss?



i have never seen a limousine leaking piss that i must needs stand athwart it.

are piss leaking limos a major problem in Gay Ba ... er, ahem, San Fran?



Bukulu February 10, 2016 5:06 AM
And this is a problem why, exactly?



this is a problem, Turd Burglar, because you haven't installed your humor module yet.

Blogger Tim February 11, 2016 8:00 AM  

This book is 99 cents to buy, or free for we KU users. I am 3/4 of the way through it, and it is in the top 1% of the books on KU. Buy it, or if you are KU, download and read it (the way I understand the KU program, he will probably get a bigger cut if you read in on KU). Well worth the read, and after I finish this one, I will go give those asses at Harper some money, because this guy is a solid writer.

Blogger BigFire February 11, 2016 12:48 PM  

Even as we speak, this book is #155 on Amazon Kindle paid chart. That's of ALL Amazon Kindle books.

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