Amazon’s Censorship of Devil Daddy

“Censorship is alive and well over at Amazon Kindle. Last time it was our scholarly edition of the rare 1881 Victorian gay text Sins of the Cities of the Plain, which they banned for several years. Now they’ve banned the ebook of John Blackburn’s 1972 horror novel Devil Daddy, while refusing to explain why. At Amazon, any book can be blocked from sale at some random employee’s whim, with no right of appeal. Please remember that you have a choice of where to shop, and all our ebooks are available on our site, as well as Nook, Kobo and iTunes.

If you can’t zoom in on the screenshot below, here is the email from Amazon:

“As stated in our content guidelines, we reserve the right to determine what content we consider to be appropriate. This content includes both the cover art image and the content within the book. We’re unable to elaborate further on specific details regarding our content guidelines…”

-Valancourt Books, “September 2021 Update, part 2“.

I should have known. But, this is the first time I’ve heard of Amazon censoring books. When the largest retailer of book refuses to carry particular titles, especially ones that are controversial in some way, it cheapens the public discourse. Devil Daddy may not be to the taste of the average American, but the average American’s taste and community standards is a horrible basis for content guidelines.

John Shirley’s Wet Bones & A Song Called Youth

“Working in Hollywood developing the script that would eventually become The Crow, Shirley relapsed into drug addiction. This time he managed to stay off the street but it was hard on his loved ones. Shirley channeled his rage, shame and sorrow at himself and his addiction into nightmare fuel. The result was the novel Wetbones; it feels like the bastard child of Requiem for a Dream, Lovecraft, early David Fincher and Cronenberg films, all while surgically satirizing the Hollywood of the time.

Wetbones is the story of a father looking for his lost drug-addicted daughter who has been kidnapped by a supernatural serial killer. This psychically empowered psychokiller feeds off, and controls, his victim’s addictions. The desire that can never be satisfied is the lurking monster; the inherent desire in us all is the key. We are all one choice away from the control of this monster. It is what makes the novel frightening to the core….

…In the 80s he wrote a Cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth that is now re-issued as a massive complete volume from Dove books. It comprises three novels: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona.

Strangely, I’ve never heard of John Shirley, but I think A Song Called Youth needs to be put near the top of my reading list.

WoW Gamer House as Metaphor for U.S. COVID-19 Response

“There’s six guys who live in this flat and all they do all day is play WoW and watch movies. Waking up at 2pm every day and there’s always just someone asleep on the bed near all the multimonitor computer setups. There’s always music playing and it feels like a recovery day every day, padding around blearily in pyjamas or underwear. Old hoodies from defunct school teams. They’ve got this system where they’re selling their excess computing power to companies and hosting all this warez, and they’re stealing the internet from the business next door anyway and getting welfare on top of all that. They’re self sufficient and never go outdoors except to buy more fast food, and even then only in the dark. But then one of them wakes up dead some heavy afternoon. He’s just dead and they don’t know why but maybe the floor covered in fast food wrappings is a clue. They don’t want to tell the cops because of the purgatory den they live in and the illegality that supports it, and as far as they know he never had any actual parents. So it’s trouble. It’s taking a long trip out to the forest and thinking about how stars are so far away for the first time in a long time. It’s sweating in the cold air and digging a hole all night with your brand new shovels to leave him alone in. And it’s a long few days cracking all his passwords to keep his identity and associated payments persisting. Until the rhythm of waking up every day at 2pm to play WoW for nine hours and half watch a movie on your other monitor takes over again. It’s the same as it ever was except now there’s a room no one ever goes in.”

—grimelords, “There’s six guys who live in this flat…” tumblr.com. April 26, 2014.

h/t Garbage Day. Missed a day, so I thought I’d backfill it with this piece of modern horror. If you’re finding it anyway, well, sorry about that.

Clark Ashton Smith

“While Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Joyce, Stein, H. D., and Stevens explored new ways to map human experience and interior-reflection, Smith abandoned any belief that human dreams, history, and character concealed any deep meaning at all. Instead he boldly marched off into his fantastic, improbable visions of a far-future earth populated by dueling necromancers, kings crowned with the feathers of exotic birds, islands of party-hearty torturers, invisible cities populated by invisible monsters, and remote civilizations crumbling into golden dust, presided over by immortal demons, monsters, and errant space-explorers. In fact, Smith’s imagination often journeyed so far beyond the acceptable boundaries of both realism and fantasy that only the most dedicated readers could pay it the attention it deserved…

…Smith’s prose requires patience, care, and a good sense of humor. As you continue to read, the sound of his words and sentences grows persuasive and hypnotic, pulsing with strangeness. His stories refuse to operate as parables, or to present essential truths; they only want to make sense as stories to those readers brave and irresponsible enough to venture into them.”

—Scott Bradfield, “The Bard of Auburn: Getting Weird in the Long Valley.” LARB. March 3, 2018.

The SCP Foundation

“Operating clandestine and worldwide, the Foundation operates beyond jurisdiction, empowered and entrusted by every major national government with the task of containing anomalous objects, entities, and phenomena. These anomalies pose a significant threat to global security by threatening either physical or psychological harm.

The Foundation operates to maintain normalcy, so that the worldwide civilian population can live and go on with their daily lives without fear, mistrust, or doubt in their personal beliefs, and to maintain human independence from extraterrestrial, extradimensional, and other extranormal influence.

Our mission is three-fold: [Secure, Contain, Protect].”

About The SCP Foundation. http://www.scp-wiki.net.

Wikipedia might be the better source in this instance:

“The SCP Foundation is a fictional organization that is the subject of a web-based collaborative writing project of the same name. The stories generated by the project describe the exploits of the Foundation, supposedly responsible for containing individuals, entities, locations, and objects that violate natural law (referred to as SCPs). The main written works on the SCP Foundation website are articles written in the style of structured internal documentation about the contained SCPs. The website also contains thousands of “Foundation Tales”, short stories set within the universe of the SCP Foundation…

…The SCP Foundation series has received praise for its ability to convey horror through its scientific and academic writing style, as well as for its high quality standards.”

SCP Foundation,” in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia; available from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCP_Foundation; Internet; retrieved 19 December 2017.

Finally, some “fake news” that is at least interesting and differently horrible.