The Conscientious Bookseller

This is not, of course, how most booksellers censor books. While a big, controversial work might garner an actual statement and press release, the most frequent tool used is not amplification, but silencing.

After all, when you say something ought to be banned, you give people the possibility of response. When you quietly try to ignore something’s existence, you have a good chance of slipping it past the public. Plus, you have the added benefit that, if peoples’ opinions change, you don’t need to announce that you’ve removed something from limbo; you can just put it on up.


CATCH-22, by Joseph Heller: “We have determined that this book, while apparently being ridiculous if you take it at face value, might have significant and disturbing meanings if you care enough to examine it.

This could cause unpleasant sensations in those whose belief systems are, themselves, rigid and unable to accept criticism, or the idea that they might be perpetuating the very horrors they seek to avoid.

We have thusly determined that it is inappropriate to sell this book to anyone who would want to read it.

It is therefore our policy that only those who do not wish to buy this book are permitted to buy this book.”

CANDIDE: “Initially, we thought this book was a great, ripping yarn with an excellent moral.

Then, someone told us that when Monsieur Voltaire referred to “The best of all possible worlds”, he was lying.

We can’t have people going about believing that the world is imperfect. No, we need people to believe that the world is either completely flawless, or else a total and utter disaster. Only by creating a clash between a pretend perfection and a pretend dystopia can we truly build the sort of apocalyptic misery which will lead us into a glorious lack-of-future.

We’ll spare you this book. That’s the best-of-all-possible outcomes.

Trust us.

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED: Fortunately, these novels are much more obscure than they once were. So there’s much less demand for even the first book, much less “The Mouse On Wall Street”, or “The Mouse That Saved The West”.

Still, it’s important to include it here. The very first book suggested that World War III was not, in fact, inevitable, and nuclear weapons might not destroy the Earth.

Also, if people read it, they might be reminded that people once thought the end of the world was eminent because of a particular set of problems, and those problems were, not utterly obliterated, but at least solved sufficiently that the threat, and the fear, were vastly reduced.

We can’t let people remember that.

How else would we frighten people into doing what we want?



~Jeff Mach


My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction.. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.