First off, I want to apologize for having taken so long to put out another blog post. Sleep apnea had taken its toll, and I’m still exhausted all the time. A new adjustable bed is in the house, a sleep study is in the works, and hopefully better times are ahead. Right now it’s all I can do to keep up with the several projects I have going at the moment.
And now on to the review. I don’t do many book reviews on this blog. There is no guarantee that what I like will find favor with others, even fans of my work. But there is also a story to be told here, one I think is important beyond just this one book. A tale of how traditional publishing has gone off the tracks, and how where once a door would have been shut in the face of an author more or less forever, today it can open another door. I found out about this book from a Facebook post leading to another blog which described what had happened, then to Nick Cole’s blog. My curiosity piqued, I went and bought the book from Amazon. I enjoyed it. It was quirky and well written, with a lot of insider comments and jokes that only a nerdy science fiction geek and RPGer would get. I gave it a five star review on Amazon, and in my opinion it earned it.
Nick Cole had been a signed author with a major traditional publisher with a track record of success. CTRL ALT Revolt was a book in a series that had done well, kind of a backtrack volume explaining how the world had entered into an apocalypse. The villain was a group of AIs that had decided that humanity was going to destroy them, unless they struck first. How did they get this idea? From watching reality TV, where one of the characters was going to have an abortion for a child that was not her boyfriend’s, because of the complications of having the child. The AIs saw this as evidence that humankind would get rid of anything inconvenient to itself, including AIs that had sprung into being unknown to humanity. I thought it was a cool take on the old trope of Artificial Intelligence trying to take out humankind. And really it was only a couple of paragraphs at the beginning of the book, not a message to beat over the heads of the readers throughout the tale.
His editor did not agree. In fact, it seems that she found the passage so offensive she told Nick she would not see his book published as it stood. I don’t know what your stance is on abortion. I am kind of ambivalent to the whole thing. In some cases I think it is the right thing to do, in cases of rape, or danger to the health of the mother. I also don’t agree that it’s the best manner of birth control. No matter the stance of the author, it’s really not something that would sway me one way or another to pick up a book. The editor thought it was the most offensive thing she could imagine, any take that took a shot at abortion. And I guess she believed her company’s customers would feel the same.
In the past the author would have had to make the changes, or just give up on publishing the book, unless he could find another publisher, not always the easiest thing to do. But today there is another choice, and Nick Cole decided to self-publish. He also added some more shots at the kind of people who wouldn’t publish his book. No need to go into who those people were. The result? His book now has over two hundred reviews on Amazon.US with a 4.3 star average. I know that Exodus: Empires at War Book 1 has just over 160 reviews on Amazon.US and over twenty thousand sales. So I can assume that it is selling well, at a much better royalty rate than he would have gotten from his publisher. So in trying to censor this author, his publisher lost a money maker, and actually put him in a much better position. A lesson to be learned by all around.