It turns out that due to…

It turns out that due to some nudity in the gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations Jack Kotz did for The Stars Change, several online booksellers won't carry the book.

I started writing erotica in 1992, and my first book, Torn Shapes of Desire, was published in part because the publisher, Dale Larson, wanted to resist the Communications Decency Act which was up before Congress then, which would have made sex on the internet illegal. Twenty-some years later, we're still fighting the same damn fight.

Our options are to a) not sell through those booksellers, b) delete the two relevant illustrations (out of a dozen or so) from that edition, or c) crop them so the offending bits aren't visible.

Cecilia Tan has left the decision up to me; I'm going to go with option b, which means that unless you are a Kickstarter supporter of the book (and thus have gotten / will get your original copies directly from me), or happen to purchase from a bookseller who is okay with nudity, that you may receive a censored copy of the book.

All booksellers currently selling the book, as of today at least, are selling the full version. That may not continue to be the case, even for those booksellers, though -- some may simply not have noticed the nudity yet, and may choose to censor it in the future.

Let me take this moment to thank my publishers, past and present, who fight the good fight on a daily basis. And also to remind readers that they are the ones with the real power here. If you demand the books, they booksellers will sell them. When I first started writing erotica, you couldn't find it in bookstores, aside from perhaps a battered copy of Anais Nin or Henry Miller. You had to go to skanky adult stores to purchase it. Now, you can buy as much erotica as you want, in the comfort of your own home. You can read 50 Shades on the train to work. The world has changed, and will change -- but only as long as we keep demanding that it change.

I still remember the dinner party conversation I had -- I was at a writers' meeting in Philadelphia, in the early 90s -- when a complete stranger, a journalist, told me that I must be a nymphomaniac, because I wrote erotica.

3 thoughts on “It turns out that due to…”

  1. Can you replace the deleted illustrations with a page saying “there was an illustration on this page, but it was deleted because didn’t think you would want to see it, and refused to sell you my book unless I deleted it”?

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I’m not sure how Cecilia wants to handle it; I think that might cause more trouble for her and risk more of her books being censored? I don’t know. 🙁

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