I just found out that WH Smith has taken down their website while they remove all self published ebooks from their site. Apparently, they get some of their ebooks from Kobo, one of their partners, and some self published authors have been ignoring the ‘decency’ rules by using these platforms to publish content containing rape, incest and bestiality.
You can read a BBC report about it here.
On one hand, I can see their point. Does incest, rape and bestiality really make a good work of fiction? Why in the world anyone would want to write a book about bestiality, is totally beyond me but, it takes all sorts to make a world I guess. I wouldn’t want to read such stuff, especially as I was a child victim of incest myself, but does that mean no one should be allowed to?
On the other hand, is this just another example of the nanny state gone mad? Rape and incest happen, every day, all over the world and stopping people from including it in works of fiction, might be construed as censorship on steroids. There are ways to infer rape and incest in a storyline, without giving readers a gut-wrenching blow by blow account, and in so doing, keep the story within bounds without taking the realism out of it.
WH Smith is a Newsagent, and they sell newspapers and magazines, including ‘top shelf’ men’s smut rags. Surely, if they want to remove all ‘dirty stuff’ they should stop selling these too? And, furthermore, I’ll bet fifty quid of anyone’s money that there are numerous traditionally published titles that also feature rape and incest. Possibly not bestiality though, do people really write about that? Seriously? Anyway, are they going to remove the trad pubbed smut too? They damn well better, or there will be a riot.