Read on the Smashwords blog that PayPal is forcing the removal of erotica ebooks from the marketplace with themes of bestiality, incest and rape. Although I didn’t receive a notice to remove my short story ebook, “The Unfaithful Camera,” I did send off an email to the Smashwords support team to find out if I should remove it on my own.
My short story is about a little boy who comes home angry because his father didn’t pick him up from school, finds his father and 16-year-old sister doing the “bouncy-bounce” in bed, and uses the camera on his sister’s cellphone to send a video to his mother to prove that he wasn’t lying about what he saw in the past. While the theme of incest is prevalent in the story, the focus is on the little boy reacting to an unfair family situation. The description for the “bouncy-bounce” scene is mild and a little more explicit than the incest stories in the Bible.
Among all my short story ebooks published to date, this is perhaps my most “controversial” ebook. Most readers don’t read it because of the implied incest theme in the ebook description. The few who have read it sympathized with the little boy’s family dilemma, which probably isn’t that uncommon these days. This is the only ebook I have on Smashwords that has a rating (three stars, “cute short story”). Readers may soon no longer have a choice on whether or not to read my borderline incest short story ebook. If censorship in Corporate America taught us anything, the axe wielded with a heavy hand leaves nothing untouched.
Updated 03/04/2012 — My borderline incest short story ebook is staying on Smashwords for the time being since the incest content is “incidental” to the main storyline. This may change if PayPal decides to impose a broader ban against bestiality, incest and rape, forcing Smashwords and other ebook retailers to pull such ebooks from the virtual shelves. If a broader ban goes into effect, this short story is history, and, ironically, I might have to find a print publisher for a science fiction short story that I’m writing about a human police officer investigating sex trafficking on a feline-humanoid planet where sexual behavior between the two species is regarded as bestiality. Print publications have stronger First Amendment protections than ebook publications against censorship.
Updated 03/17/2012 — PayPal got out of the business of censoring legal fiction for ebooks. Readers will decide the fate of my borderline incest short story and not the credit card processing companies. For now, that is. And this will not the last battle over ebook content.