Well, seems that it deals with a fictionized version of one of the wives of Mohammed. Yes, *that* Mohammed.
The funny thing is that it wasn’t a Muslim group who started the bonfires – it was actually a university Professor. Denise Spellberg, University of Texas was sent an ARC (advance review copy) and immediately took it upon herself to sound the bells and start beating the drums by not only contacting the publisher back but also sending the info to altmuslim.com who then took hold of the cause celebre with gusto. She actually referred to the book as “soft-core pornography”.
Random House, in a fit of brainless jello-bones, has terminated the contract with the author and now yanked all their review copies back, if they can.
Now, I worked at Penguin Books Canada way back in the day just before Rushdie released his “Satanic Verses” – and although I left the editorial department before that happened I remember being terrified of something happening to my friends and collegues still working at Penguin. You never know when someone is going to go off the deep end and use the written word as an excuse to kill someone – and the time that it took for the fatwa to be lifted off of him demonstrates how silly the world can and has gotten.
But this… this just takes my breath away. And not in a good, Tony Stark/Pepper Potts love story sort of way.
When Dan Brown published The Da Vinci Code there was a lot of upset Christians – mostly because the way it was written many saw it as a documentary on the Catholic Church. Heck, there are still people wandering around the Louvre in Paris looking for clues to the Holy Grail. But for all their complaints (and many were pretty valid, IMO) none ever came to the point of suggesting that the book be withdrawn from publication and terror threats made against the author.
And now this happens.
At this point we might as all well give up on writing anything at all that isn’t bland and boring and politically correct because we’re not going to let the public decide with their buying dollars whether it’s worth reading or not – we’ll let the publishers and the terrorists decide.