I did some digging and found out that failing publisher Tor Books went crying to Amazon to censor the competition.
The alleged reason? That the title, author, and cover of The Corroding Empire might allegedly mislead customers seeking to buy The Collapsing Empire from Tor.
Here are both books' covers side-by-side.
This is what used to be called "parody" before the Left turned into control freaks with zero sense of humor. The only way you'd mistake one of those books for the other is if you couldn't read. In which case, you're probably not buying books in the first place.
The "misleading cover" complaint is a fig leaf meant to cover Tor's attempted sabotage of their competition. Compare the books' preorder rankings for proof.
Tor Books knows that The Corroding Empire isn't a counterfeit meant to ride on the coattails of their success. It's a parody in the venerable literary tradition of calling out emperors with no clothes. It also stands as a solid sci-fi novel in its own right, and even surpasses the subject of its lampooning, as these excerpts show.
The fact is that The Corroding Empire has been outselling Tor's offering since the former became available for preorder. Since they can't compete in the open market, Tor Books has appealed to Amazon to hobble the competition.
This isn't the first time that Amazon has censored a parody book at Tor's behest.
Here's what really has Tor's panties in a bunch:
Big New York publishers are being eaten alive by small publishers like Castalia House. Censoring a superior book that pokes fun at Tor's declining quality will not save them from this death spiral. Having Amazon pull The Corroding Empire is the desperate, spiteful lashing out of a mortally wounded predator that preyed on readers and authors alike. Now the reckoning is here.
Legacy publishers still try to blacklist authors and dictate readers' tastes. Their power to play gatekeeper and taste-maker is gone, Sadly, they don't know how to do anything else. Stooping to heavy-handed censorship only makes them look weak and petty and hastens their demise.
Full disclosure: I recently sold the audio rights to my award-winning Soul Cycle series to Castalia House. They will also be publishing my next novel, which will be the first in a new space opera series.
That doesn't mean I won't take Castalia House to task if they ever turn censorious like Tor has. Amazon has been my business partner far longer than CH, but I'm calling out Amazon's caving to censors right now, and I've never hesitated to do so before.
That said, Castalia House's track record for supporting free expression trounces the Big Five publishers'. For that reason, among many others, CH will overtake Tor as the #1 publisher of science fiction and fantasy. I have no doubt that the David in this David vs. Goliath battle will land on his feet.
UPDATE: While I was writing this post, Vox Day unveiled the new cover for CH's censored book.
Let that sink in: they got a new cover done in less than a day. The updated book should be back in the Kindle store tonight.
This is why the small, fast mammals are taking down the dinosaurs.
While you're waiting for Corrosion to go live, you can pick up the Campbell-nominated and Dragon Award-winning Soul Cycle right now.
UPDATE: new information has come to light as the situation has developed lessening the likelihood that Tor Books, John Scalzi, or Amazon are directly responsible for Corrosion's delay and identifying the main culprit as a rogue employee at KDP quality control.
There is ZERO question about the "rogue employee" at this point; the fourth time he took the book down, even the skeptics inside Amazon knew there was no possible justification for it.Corrosion, The Corroding Empire Book 1 is available now in the Kindle Store.