I found a concerning editorial on the web the other day. It's about a book written by John Dale called Army of the Pure. It was actually commissioned by publisher Scholastic Australia to encourage young kids to read and has been described as "almost flawless". Pretty good so far? I think so.
So reading further I learn the book is about a "group of kids in a soccer club who stumble upon a terrorist plot to blow up the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney's south, and are chased by an extremist group who also happen to be Arabic-speaking." Hey, this sounds like something I might like to read, could be a pretty good yarn.
So why is it concerning?
The problem is if I did want to buy it, no book stores - according to the article - are stocking the title, deciding instead to self censor on the basis of what is referred to as the "Muslim issue".
If I may use the vernacular: what a crock of shit!
Lets ignore the Muslim tag for the moment, hell lets use "the M word" instead, what about any book that has Nazi Germans as the antagonist? Better pull all them from the shelves lest someones feelings get hurt. Mario Puzo has a lot to answer for as well then, all of his Godfather books, well that is just blatant Italian stereotyping isn't it? Yank them from the shelves before someone reads another copy. Mathew Reilly's book "Temple", well hell, EVERYONE is the bad guy in that book, Germans, Americans, British. Take that book of the shelves right now, wouldn't want to get them in a huff, specially the US, they got the bomb don't you know...
As a hopeful author, and I mean really hopeful, is this the sort of treatment I might expect when I'm trying to get a book published? Do I risk my book of FICTION being taken too seriously and that on the remote chance someones feelings get hurt my book won't see the light of day on shelves? What if a Native American features in my story, or an Australian Aboriginal, or *GASP* a Caucasian westerner!!! No wait, I've got a better idea. I work in information technology, I think I will make it my personal crusade to get out there and burn any book that calls someone in IT a "geek", I'll be protecting all IT workers around the globe. Did I say Crusade? Hurry up and rip apart those medieval books too then, nasty lot those Knights and their quests.
Am I sounding ridiculous? Well I bloody hope so. If book stores want to drive would be Authors to POD publishing then keep up the good work, because if this is where it starts, where does it end? BTW I want The Simpson's removed from the air due to taking the piss out of Aussies in one episode. Our PM doesn't spend his day drinking beer while floating naked on a farm dam in an inflatable tube. Don't be silly, he's wearing a g-string.
Click this link to read the full article written by Karen Brooks for the Courier Mail