21 Mar 2017

Amazon Bans Scalzi Parody

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John Scalzi’s latest, The Collapsing Empire, released today by Tor Books, apparently has some resemblances to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

Scalzi and the publishers of Tor books are both prominent on the Social Justice Warrior side in the current and ongoing political conflicts within the Sci Fi-Fantasy community.

Consequently, Vox Day’s Castalia House released yesterday a parody, titled “The Corroding Empire,” purportedly written by one Johan Kalsi, described by Vox Day as, “Finland’s hottest science fiction author. An accomplished geneticist as well as a 6’3″ ex-Finnish Marine.”

The cover of “The Corroding Empire,” as you can see above, has a recognizable resemblance to the cover of “The Collapsing Empire,” and features the imaginary plug line: “Kalzi rips off Asimov even better than Scalzi rips off Heinlein!”

All this seems rather funny, but Tor Books was not amused and (who knew that such a minor publisher had that kind of power?) promptly prevailed on the great and powerful Amazon to remove the parody.

SuperversiveSF.com reports:

Tor Books author John Scalzi announced a book, which he turned in late, titled The Collapsing Empire.

Castalia House quickly and effectively put out a parody book titled The Corroding Empire by Johan Kalsi, which beat out Scalzi’s actual work in pre-orders for several days.

The parody, The Corroding Empire released today, to much fanfare (I’ve read a little myself, it is good science fiction work).

Tor sent Amazon an ultimatum telling them to take it down.

Amazon complied and sent Castalia House a notification that they were taking it down because they were pretending to be John Scalzi.

Castalia House had their book removed, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Wow! Amazon sucks with a leftwing conformist vacuum about as powerful as that of Mozilla, Target, Starbuck’s, ESPN, &c.

Vox Day apparently foresaw the possibility of censorship, and cleverly had ready an alternative cover, title, and auctorial pseudonym: “Harry Seldon” referencing Hari Seldon, the mathematician hero of Asimov’s “Foundation.” (see below). But… you won’t find “Corrosion” on offer at Amazon this morning either.

Here’s where both titles were pre-release yesterday on Amazon’s bestseller list:

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

7 Feedbacks on "Amazon Bans Scalzi Parody"

Anthony M

A small correction: The website is SUPERversive SF, not subversive; we are dedicated to building up, so to speak, rather than subversion.

But thank you for linking.


Hopefully Scalzi recycles Asimov better than he recycled H. Beam Piper.

Anonymous Commentator

If only amazon had been so fast to act against pro-pedophilia literature.



Wouldn’t that fall under fair use, parody, or something similar?


My apologies. My presbyopia strikes again.


Interesting, I can still download my kindle copy, so Amazon didn’t remove it from their systems, they just stopped selling it.

And I bet it would fall under parody but that doesn’t mean that Amazon must sell it. Fair use only applies to copyright, not to Tor’s threats to Amazon or other booksellers.


Actually there is something they can do about it.

Sue Tor.

Tor most likely sent a DMCA request, which is the procedure for getting things removed under a claim of copyright. If it’s a parody, Tor made a false claim under the DMCA.

But the DMCA creates a right of action against anyone who files a notice against material they don’t own, or which falls under fair use / parody. Castalia House could get their actual damages PLUS their attorney fees under the statute (meaning it won’t cost them anything to sue if they win).

Tor is in a bad place on this one and subject to a lot of legal risk.


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