by Juliette Akinyi Ochieng | February 9th, 2016
From sci-fi author Nick Cole, via his fellow sci-fi scribe John C. Wright:
Banned by the Publisher
Or, Thank God for Jeff Bezos
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.”
A little backstory. A few years back I wrote a novel called Soda Pop Soldier. It was the last obligated novel under my first contract. The novel was a critical hit (Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly) and it resonated with my post-apocalyptic readership from my breakout Amazon best seller, The Old Man and the Wasteland, and it picked up a new audience in the cyberpunk and gamer crowd. The novel is about a future dystopia where people play video games for a living. It’s basically Call of Duty meets Ready Player One and a lot of people really enjoyed it. When it came time to write another book for Harper Collins I was encouraged by my editor to dip once more into the Dystopian Gamer milieu and tell another story inside the Soda Pop Soldier universe. We agreed on a prequel that told the story of how that future became the way it is in Soda Pop Soldier.
And that involved talking about Artificial Intelligence because in the dystopian gaming future, the planet had almost been destroyed by a robot revolution sourced by Artificial Intelligence.
And here’s where things went horribly wrong, according to my editor at Harper Collins. While casting about for a “why” for self-aware Thinking Machines to revolt from their human progenitors, I developed a reason for them to do such.
Link added in text. Read on and find out what Harper Collins fears. Hint: intelligence.
Side note: in Tale of the Tigers, my first publisher didn’t like a line of dialogue I put in the mouth of one of my characters, but he had no choice; I was paying to be published. The conversation’s topic? Islam.
I’m hoping that my trip to Kenya lays the foundation for one of my future books, as well. Click to assist.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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