Diversity of thought is now being treated more like a hidden addiction to drugs or alcohol. You might drink yourself to sleep, but as long as you get to work on time, and don’t make too much noise, you’re generally left alone. When that secret vice finally seeps into the public, it’s open season on your character and life choices. You’re forever tainted. At least with an alcohol or drug addiction, someone may offer to help you get treatment.
Author Nick Cole briefly wrote about abortion in his new book “CTRL ALT Revolt,” a prequel to “Soda Pop Soldier.” Harper Collins, Nick’s now former publisher, is treating him like one of those secret addicts, but they’re not offering him any kind of treatment. Nick’s crime? Writing about abortion.
Most of Nick’s writing is set in a dystopian future, or a post apocalyptic future. “CTRL ALT Revolt” tells the story of a robot revolt, that’s intent on eliminating humans. Artificial Intelligence going after the human race isn’t a new idea, and Nick recognized a big hole in some of the more notable human v. robot stories; why does artificial intelligence see humans as a threat?
The simple answer is humans can pull the plug on Skynet once we catch on to the end game. Nick wanted a better explanation. He wanted a more substantial motive that supported the robots’ actions.
Here’s how Nick explains it on his website NickColeBooks.com:
These Thinking Machines are watching every show streaming on the internet. One of those shows is a trainwreck of reality television at its worst called WeddingStar. It’s a crass and gaudy romp about BrideZillas of a future obsessed with material hedonism. In one key episode, or what they used to call “a very special episode” back in the eighties, the star, Cavanaugh, becomes pregnant after a Vegas hook up. Remember: this is the most watched show on the planet in my future dystopia. Cavanaugh decides to terminate her unplanned pregnancy so that her life, and impending marriage to the other star, Destry, a startup millionaire and Ralph Lauren model, isn’t ruined by this inconvenient event.
You can read the entire explanation at NickColeBooks.com.
Nick is clear that this isn’t a political position on abortion. It’s a motive for fictional characters. When this particular chapter made its way to Harper Collins, Nick was informed by his agent that his young editor was “deeply offended” by the idea of the Thinking Robots as he calls them, being threatened by some human’s cavalier attitude towards new life.
Harper Collins gave Nick a choice; change that specific chapter, or the deal is off. Luckily, Nick Cole isn’t a pushover, and Amazon welcomed the book with open arms.
Of all the fiction genres, Sci-Fi/Fantasy is one of the last corners of the literary world you might expect to see this type of censorship. It’s clear that It’s no longer enough for our words to be politically correct. Thought Police are now patrolling for Thought Crimes.
I’m happy to see authors like Nick stand up for imagination and free speech. I’m worried that the young editor at Harper Collins, that was so offended by Nick’s line of thinking, is convinced she did the right thing, and her superiors are too afraid to challenge her feelings. When did we stop challenging ideas?
If one chapter of a book was enough to kill Nick Cole’s contract, what other ideas are big publishers censoring?
Listen to the entire interview with author Nick Cole: