Burning Books

Snurched from the LiveJournal of Keith R.A. DeCandido, who snicked it from Neil Gaiman’s blog.

Christian group sues for right to burn gay teen novel

Rather than get into a big lather over the symbolism of book-burning, I’ll simply say that while I object to the group’s decision to sue for the right to burn a book from a public library, I would whole-heartedly support their right to buy as many copies of the book as possible and burn those.

Basically, I see it as the difference between destroying public property (a library book) and applying for a fire permit to burn one’s own property.

In fact, I support their right so fervently that I’d like to invite the suit’s plaintiffs, the Christian Civil Liberties Union, to place a massive bulk order for my upcoming original novel, The Calling, which I’m sure will have something in it to offend them. Bad language and violence for certain; perhaps heresy or blasphemy will get their dander up.

To produce a really bright, tall bonfire that will make a statement, I think they should preorder 10,416 copies of my book, and then hold a press conference before they burn them in front of TV news crews and other members of the press.

C’mon, guys. I’m begging you. Please purchase and burn 10,416 copies of my novel. That kind of publicity will really teach me a lesson.

Bulk orders (which are eligible for discount prices) of The Calling can be placed by calling Simon & Schuster’s special sales division at 1-800-456-6798, or via e-mail to business@simonandschuster.com — remember to request it using its ISBN-13 Number: 978-1416579922.

2 Responses to “Burning Books”

  1. Millie

    Hi there, I like your (startrek so far) books. I’ll buy “the calling” from amazon as soon as it is available. (i’m french so we’ll get it a little later don’t know why but even in english the books are on sales only a few weeks later than in the US i guess it’s normal)
    So i have a couple of things to say. First i thought your answer to the “burning” books was rather funny… Also i expect you to WANT you readers to actually read the books not burn them. (but hey everybody’s got a living to make isn’t it?)
    I was also disapointed about your view on the last movie. Well for a writter don’t you think it was more like a parody rather than a real movie ? (don’t people outside books even bother to write something decent?)
    i’m sorry if that was out of topic.
    Again i can’t wait for your next work…
    And sorry for my english, i’m french so…
    Thierry from Paris (France)

  2. David Mack


    Yes, you are correct in that I would prefer people read my books rather than burn them. I should make it clear that I find the idea of burning books to be deplorable; of course, I also find the idea of white supremacists marching in a Jewish neighborhood deplorable, and I feel the same way about people who preach hatred or bigotry.

    However, if citizens want to express their opinion by burning books, I would defend their right to do so under the terms of the First Amendment, or, outside of the United States, on the principle of freedom of speech. All I’d ask is that they pay for the books they burn. Once they pay for a copy of a book, as far as I’m concerned, it is theirs to do with as they wish. My objection to the plaintiffs’ request in the West Bend, Wis., case was that they wanted the right to destroy a book from the library, which is by definition public property.

    With regard to your feelings about the recent Star Trek film, all I can say is this: I understand that there are problems with its plot, that its science is badly flawed, and that in places even its Star Trek technobabble was messed up. But it was also a lot of fun; it was very well-paced; it was the best-looking and best-sounding Star Trek film made so far; and its characters felt true to the essence of who I believed them to be. Though its story did not always work on a logical level, I felt that at several key moments it was very effective emotionally.

    I think one should also consider that the movie was made during the Writers Guild strike, and as such many problems in its script could not be fixed during production. I’d like to hope the next Star Trek film will be developed with a greater attention to such details.

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