CTRL ALT Revolt!
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 6, 2016)
Kindle: 831 KB
Publisher: Nick Cole; 1st edition (February 7, 2016)
Available on Amazon
Can You Read What Never Gets Published?
I heard about this from one of my favorite blogs. The author, Nick Cole, writes science fiction books for Harper Collins. His editor suggested he write another dystopian novel since his previous ones had done well. When he submitted his latest manuscript,about AI (Thinking Machines) versus humans, his editor basically freaked out. Told him that his book was deeply offensive, guaranteed to lose at least 50% of his audience, and refused to publish it. They didn't ask him to revise it, they basically just blacklisted his book.
What had he written about that was so horrible, vile, and disgusting that HarperCollins refused to touch it? Well, the author needed a reason for the AI's to revolt against humans. He makes up a one chapter reason, that AIs, which see everything on the internet, including streaming shows, observe that in the most popular reality show, the reality starlet gets an abortion because it would be inconvenient to her lifestyle. The AIs then predict that they will at some point be deemed a threat to humanity, and therefore deduce that humanity will move to terminate them. At that point they decide to preemptively terminate humans to protect themselves.
In the author's own words:
Now if you’re thinking my novel is about the Pro Choice/ Pro Life debate, hold your horses. It’s not. I merely needed a reason, a one chapter reason, to justify the things my antagonist is about to do to the world without just making him a one-note 80’s action flick villain as voiced by John Lithgow. I wanted this villain to be Alan Rickman-deep. One chapter. That’s all. The rest of the book is about the robots’ assault on a Game Development Complex that holds a dirty little secret to wiping out humanity.
But 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.
I titled this post "Another Banned Book" but technically, of course it's not been banned. The author self-published instead. What this is is a clear case of censorship. And what is so awful about it is that it's not unusual. The majority of publishing houses do this - they go to great pains to publish only what they approve of politically. Of course as private enterprises they have every right to do that; for example there are Christian publishing houses that will only publish Christian-related works. But to my mind there is a huge difference in having clear editorial guidelines that writers and readers are aware of versus what this is. And up until the rise of self-publishing there was little writers to do but follow the unspoken rules - write only what is politically approved of or never get published.
That's the whole reason for this blog, by the way, to help self-published writers who don't have a chance of passing the political purity tests of the big publishers.
Reviewed by VM on February 17, 2016