Posted in Books, Censorship

Through the Orwellian looking glass

Amélie Wen Zhao’s Blood Heir, the first book in a dark fantasy YA trilogy, was set to release in June, after being hailed as one of this summer’s most highly-anticipated books. There were a lot of 5-star reviews by ARC readers. Ms. Zhao signed a three-book deal with Delacorte, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in January 2018, to an advance of at least $500,000. Most authors can only dream of such luck.

But on 30 January 2019, she kowtowed to an SJW lynch mob, the vast majority of whom had never read the ARC, and asked Delacorte to not publish her book. Shockingly, Delacorte agreed instead of asking for their advance back and yanking her contract.

Translation: “Thank you for stopping the beatings, Big Brother!”

I can just imagine the Woke Stasi cyberbullies who held this struggle session euphorically exclaiming, “Oh, YES! We got what we wanted yet again because we threw enough of a tantrum!” Running high-fives. “Team SJW for the win! Let’s find another target to mercilessly bully into submitting!”

WTF is “the book community”? Book bloggers, vloggers, and reviewers aren’t monolithic, even ones who only do certain genres or age categories. Some fantasy book bloggers might prefer urban fantasy to high, epic fantasy, while some contemporary YA reviewers might focus on books with dark themes or set in other countries.

I like how this member of the Woke Stasi is promoting her own book in her screen name. Many people rightly called out the lynch mob, though other SJWs wrote awful comments like these. “Ooh, I’m sitting here crying ugly tears of joy because of your beautiful, humble apology! I know you’ll do better next time!”

It turns out Ms. Zhao is an SJW herself, and so felt compelled to get back in the group’s good graces during the struggle session. She didn’t want to be an outcast and potentially ruin her career. Even if I hadn’t found out she’s an SJW, the inclusion of her freaking pronouns in her Twitter bio makes it obvious.

Although at least she only has pronouns. A lot of these snowflakes check the whole nine yards of Tumblr idiocy.

     

 

If you don’t accept material reality (in this case, the existence of biological sex and sexual dimorphism in mammals), you’re NOT a real Socialist! The core principles of Socialism are based on material reality.

Earth to SJW snowflakes: When you enter the REAL world, devoid as it is of its million and one trigger warnings and safe spaces for everything, no one will give a damn about this Tumblr nonsense. Try to announce at a job interview, “I’m an asexual polysexual polyamorous skoliosexual lithromantic non-binary demiboy transgirl wolf otherkin cloudgender, and my pronouns are she/he/they/zir.” Normal people will write you off as a right loon!

On with the rant. These SJWs’ beef with Blood Heir is that it involves slavery in a fantasy world based on Russia and China. It was described as Anastasiya meets Six of Crows:

They’re pissed because the only disabled person (someone who walks with a cane) is a villain, and a bronze-skinned character (whom they read as Black) dies. They chose to read the book as based on American slavery, because we all know no other country ever had slaves, and slavery has only involved people from Africa! Ms. Zhao’s inspiration was contemporary slavery and indentured servitude in China (you know, her native land).

They also think it’s plagiarism to use a well-known line from LOTR, “don’t go where I can’t follow.” Seriously? Ms. Zhao didn’t rip off an entire passage, and plenty of writers pay homage to lines from songs, poems, movies, and books.

The one criticism I do agree with is the gendering of Ana’s surname. Russian women’s names always end in A (e.g., Malenkova, Lebedeva, Tolstaya, Belskaya, Shulgina). Someone should’ve caught that!

I agree it’s important to represent diversity in literature, but not every fictional world is suited for a damn Rainbow Tribe of tokens. Why would, e.g., a fantasy based on Medieval Europe or a historical about Heian Japan be crawling with diverse characters?

I shudder to imagine what kinds of books Woko Haram sees fit for publication. Their list of Newspeak and problematic topics/words grows by the second.

More on this outrageous development:

“How a Twitter Mob Derailed an Immigrant Female Author’s Budding Career,” Jesse Singal, Tablet, 31 January 2019

“An Author Canceled Her Own YA Novel Over Accusations of Racism. But Is It Really Anti-Black?,” Aja Hoggatt, Slate, 31 January 2019

“YA Author Pulls Her Debut After Pre-Publication Accusations of Racism,” Alexandra Alter, The New York Times, 31 January 2019

“When Social Media Goes After Your Book, What’s the Right Response?,” Keira Drake and Jonah Winter, The New York Times, 6 February 2019

“The Latest Twitter Pile On Forces a Rising Star to Self-Cancel,” Kat Rosenfield, Vulture, 31 January 2019

“Young Adult Author Cancels Own Novel After Race Controversy,” Alison Flood, The Guardian, 1 February 2019

“Amélie Zhao Learns to Love Big Brother,” Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, 30 January 2019

Author:

I started reading at three (my first book was Grimm's Fairy Tales, the uncensored adult version), started writing at four, started writing book-length things at eleven, and have been a writer ever since. I predominantly write historical fiction family sagas/series. I primarily write about young people, since I was a young person myself when I became a serious writer and didn't know how to write about adults as main characters. I only write in a contemporary setting if the books naturally go into the modern era over the course of the decades-long stories being told over many books. I've always been drawn to books, films, music, fashions, et al, from bygone eras, and have never really been too much into modern things. If something or someone has appeal for all time, it'll still be there to be discovered after the initial to-do has died down. For example, my second-favorite writer enjoyed a huge burst of popularity in the Sixties and Seventies, but he wrote his books from 1904-43, and his books still resonate today, even after he's no longer such a fad. Quality lasts for all time.

7 thoughts on “Through the Orwellian looking glass

  1. A depressing outcome for readers and writers. What next? Book-burning?

    On a more personal note, I’m a WASP hetero male trying to write a book with a female queer protagonist so I’m heading for the pillory or worse – even if I am trying to use diversity readers. Probably doesn’t help that I’m making my protagonist a Welsh copper with a deaf sister since I’m boringly English and unprofessional. Okay, I’m disabled, with Quaker abolitionist ancestors and Latin and Scottish blood.

    Like

    1. Good luck Roland.

      Ana Mardoll has just made a list of sensitivity/diversity readers who would love to read your book. Look for “Freelancers Found”.

      There is another cool book by Emma Viskic which is about a Deaf detective – Resurrection Bay.

      Liked by 1 person

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