Earlier today I heard about how yet another book will not be published because of pressure from a minority among book readers. This time it was the book A Place For Wolves by Kosoko Jackson that was pulled mere days before it would have been released. Apparently it was after the wish of the author after a massive backlash from the Goodread bullies and activists on Twitter.
Let me first be clear that it is an author and publisher’s right to pull books from publishing if they so desire and it isn’t the first time an author has tried to get a book he or she has written pulled. That is not what makes this chilling at all.
What is chilling is that Kosoko Jackson was seen as one of the good ones by these activists and he even participated in mobs against other authors that have transgressed against the far left morals, something that Jesse Singal covered very well in this article for Reason.
What this means is that there is no path to redemption for anyone that transgress against the mob currently plaguing not just the YA author community, but the entirety of the author community. I have many times said in my long Twitter rants that authoritarians are no friends of creative people. They will turn on you the second that you break their morals.
They may make great bedfellows for a cause or two, but they will strike when they see something that does follow their view of an ideal world. They are no lovers of art, literature or films. They are only lovers of what they seem fit to exist in this world. They may seem like they love you, but that is only as long as you stay on their side.
Now I do not know whether or not the book that Jackson had written was good or not, that is really beside the point. What matters in this case is that he tried to follow their rules and write what he felt was in his heart, while also dancing by their tune and it didn’t work. They still found something to crucify him for.
The fact that he himself participated in these crusades of morality in the past does not make me any less sympathetic, and this is also true of most author friends I have spoken to.Most of them just find the whole thing incredibly tragic and find no joy in someone being the target of this kind of behavior.
And I agree. I cannot be mad at him, even if I feel like this is the world he asked for. This is just tragic. There are no other words for it. I know that might seem hyperbolic considering how many tragedies there are in the world, but as a fellow author I know what it takes to write something, to pour your heart and soul into an idea and then breathe into life. It isn’t easy and I love all my characters and my stories, no matter how flawed they may be.
So I know. I can empathize with having created something you find pride and love in, but then to have someone deny you it to come to life through other people reading it. Because that is my view on my stories. They are only alive if other people read them. So for a mob like that to kill off something that could have been alive in the heads of thousands of people is a tragedy to me.
It makes me sad to see people who I used to regard as being on the same side as me trying to tear someone’s work of love apart like it was nothing. It makes me worried for the creators of the future as they will have far too many limitations on them.
I know this may not be read by anyone outside of my little circle of author friends, but I make a plea to all authors, wannabe-author and storytellers:
Please do not bend to these authoritarians anymore. Make a stand here and now. Say no more will you tell me what I can or cannot write.
Thank you for your time