A Modern Day Fahrenheit 451

Classic dystopians have been seeing a revival lately. Oh, not the kind where people are interested in that sort of literature. No, it’s a revival in that they are being used as instruction manuals for modern day living. Or at least in some circles anyway.

Sept 24-30th is Banned Book week, which brings to light the practice of having books removed from mainly school libraries. When bookstores, public libraries, publishers don’t stock or publish a book, the book isn’t “banned”. But when a parent objects to soft porn being one of the few options that their child has for say doing a book report…it’s a ban. Go figure.

Honestly, I think places where children are captive audiences should have higher standards than Amazon.com or the public library.

Of course, this is coming from someone who was reading adult historical romance by the time I was in junior high. There were teachers very concerned that I was allowed to read such books, but had no power to do anything about it, since the books didn’t come from the school library. I either got them from the public library or bought them myself. And they were never read for the purposes of book reports.

But, I digress.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Product by Marina Fontaine feel like fitting books for this week. Thankfully, neither are likely to come true, at least in the form of government censorship anyway.

The modern day censorship as we’re starting to see is coming via social media bans and mob attacks. It’s rather pointless today to go around burning books since ebooks don’t burn very well.

 

While technically, there is nothing illegal about a company giving a platform for some and not others, it is concerning. It’s certainly in their best interest to ban someone who makes viable threats against other persons or someone conducting illegal activity using their services.

But, that’s not what is happening. The companies have decided to use their platforms to control the speech of those using the service. It wouldn’t be a problem if there were a diverse array of platforms to use and one could easily move to another platform.

However, there are limited platforms and they all seem to lean one direction. Those with icky opinions are quickly being shunned from all of the major platforms.

For example:

Facebook for some time now been heavy handed with opinions and ideas that are not PC. People on the “wrong” side (libertarian, conservative, right wing) have had their accounts revoked, posts removed, put in Facebook jail for the same offenses that those on the liberal side get no punishment for at all.

Twitter has been banning and shadow banning speakers with opinions they don’t like based on very vague conduct standards, while letting those they agree with harrass and threaten others all they like.

Google and Youtube have gotten into this game as well with banning and/or blacklisting speech they don’t like.

I suspect this will get worse as more sites jump on the bandwagon to signal how “diverse” and “tolerant” they are of their own opinions.

Yes, I can hear you, person without any skin in the game. If they didn’t say offensive stuff there wouldn’t be a problem. Offensive stuff shouldn’t be tolerated. 

These platforms are very much like the public square. People gather there and talk, argue, and debate. In the US anyway, anyone can go to the public square and spout off their crazy ideas (as long as it’s within legal limits) without concern for getting kicked out of the square. They might get others taking issue with their ideas, but the opportunity to change another’s mind is still available.

When companies who create an environment very much like a public square start censoring people they disagree with, it creates an environment very much like one where government is doing the censoring. Without access to the public square, speech is stifled.

 

There is hope, though.

New “public squares” such as Gab and MeWe are cropping up for those who have been kicked out or want to leave the censored platforms.

Publishers like Superversive Press, Silver Empire and Castalia House are opening up the doors to books that present stories that used to be mainstream, but are now unwanted by the Big 5 because they don’t promote society destroying ideas.

It’s going to take a while to get the infrastructure in place, but it will get there. The recent attacks on speech by corporate giants have been a wakeup call to many that there need to be places for all voices, not just the select few.

 

 

 

 

One Page Podcast: The Product by Marina Fontaine

 

The Product will change your life. It will give you joy and confidence, make you more aware of the world around you. You will find new friends. You might even fall in love.

Few people know its name. Fewer still dare say it. It is, after all, illegal. Users are jailed. Dealers meet an ugly death. Yet the temptation is irresistible.

Kevin is a dealer. And he is about to get caught.

Dragon Award winner and author of CTRL-ALT-Revolt Nick Cole says “Fontaine expertly paints a loveless future where what’s human and what’s real is dangerous and highly illegal. Taut, passionate andcompelling, this vignette of a dark future reminds us that we are still human, no matter what laws are passed. A fearless warning for these fear-filled times.”

Get The Product by Marina Fontaine on Amazon.com.

Coming out in audiobook…sometime.

Trumptopia Has Come To Superversive Press

You may have heard about an anthology, titled Trumptopia, being put together by a small publisher in Europe. The stories were to be about a utopian future thanks to our current President, Donald Trump. The stories were to be positive stories.

I was fortunate enough to have one of my stories, which involves a class trip to the Trump Memorial Library in the future, accepted. I’m not a big fan of Trump, however I can write a darn good story and the editor is a friend who I wanted to help out.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, Kathy Griffin’s severed head scandal happens just as the publisher releases the cover for this “positive” anthology. Want to guess what was on the cover? Yup, severed heads in jars.

That caused a bit of an uproar by several of the authors who thought it was a bad idea, myself included. We privately took our objections to the editor who took them to the publisher. I offered to both the authors and the editor to draft a new cover so that the project could move forward. In the mean time, the project was cancelled by the publisher.

In whiplash fashion, Superversive Press picked up the project. But, what to do about the cover?

Here is my draft cover. What do you think? Would you buy a Trump utopian anthology with tales of a fantastical future with this cover? Do you love it? Hate it? Confused by the Russian words? Upset there are no dragons or bikini clad women?

Please put your thoughts in the comments.

 

Signal Boost: Launch of Astounding Frontiers! New Pulp Magazine

Astounding Frontiers
Give us ten minutes and we’ll give you a world!

Astounding Frontiers is a new pulp magazine from the minds  here at Superversive Press that will transport you to far off worlds of adventure! 

In our inaugural issue we have stories and serials from Dragon Award winners and nominees and many other great authors. 

We have stories from Dragon Award Nominee Declan Finn, Patrick S. Baker, Lou Antonelli, Erin Lale and astrophysicist Sarah Salviander. 

We have the first installments of three serials. Nowither, the follow up to John C. Wrights Dragon award winning Somewhither, Galactic Outlaws, from Dragon Award winner Nick Cole and Jason Anaspach and a rollicking adventure from Ben Wheeler called In the Seraglio of the Sheik of Mars .

Please join us in travelling to Astounding Frontiers!

Find on Amazon

Visit the website

Do You See the Crystal Spire?

With the imminent release on Thursday 15th June by Superversive Press of Jon del Arroz’ second novel For Steam and Country, I have dared to produce a promotional video to capture its epicness, with some capable help from Sean McCleery and Shawn King.

Do You See the Crystal Spire?

Do you see the Crystal Spire
That adorns Rislandia?
You’ll want to join the Crystal Knights
To guard her land, her sea, her air.

When the beating of your heart
Echoes the thundering of the guns,
Then you’ll be sure to play your part
When the battle comes.

The invading Wyranth soldiers’ eyes
Emit an eerie glow;
The ground is shaken by a force
Whose source you’d like to know;
So now climb up this rope,
Renew your old hope as we go!

Do you hear the turbines roar
As we soar into the sky?
This great airship offers more
Than just a simple earthbound life.

When the fire within your heart
Mirrors the glorious setting sun,
Then you’ll be sure to play your part
When adventure comes.

 

The book is currently available for preorder at the bitly shortlink given in the video, but Jon would prefer people to buy on the release date itself so as to maximise the Amazon ranking on day 1, meaning the book becomes more visible within Amazon’s maze of recommendation algorithms.

The Product by Marina Fontaine, the first release from Superversive Press

I am pleased to announce the first release from Superversive Press, the novella The Product by Marina Fontaine. You can get it in Ebook and Paperback from Amazon.

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The Product will change your life. It will give you joy and confidence, make you more aware of the world around you. You will find new friends. You might even fall in love.

Few people know its name. Fewer still dare say it. It is, after all, illegal. Users are jailed. Dealers meet an ugly death. Yet the temptation is irresistible.

Kevin is a dealer. And he is about to get caught.