I’ve spent this whole week talking about Banned Books of the Past and Present. But now I want to take some time to think about
Future Banned Books
I would absolutely love to think that at some point we’ll overcome this ridiculous idea that we should challenge or ban books and do away with it all together. But, humans as a whole aren’t the brightest of creatures. So, we know that isn’t going to happen any time soon. So, this post is going to be all about the reasons we might ban books in the future. Credit for this topic goes to Melanie Bernard who gave me the idea when I was banging my head against a wall.
Our reasons for challenging or banning books tend to evolve as we evolve, though admittedly some traits stay the same. Social media has blossomed over the last ten years. This gives us a tendency towards ever-increasing transparency and exposure to other lifestyles and types of families. There is a progression towards acceptance of other lifestyles/races/genders (Ye Olde Trump-et be d*mned). These issues are always going to be talked about in books. Are they going to be perceived differently?
The ever-boundary pushing technological advancements that bring us both closer together and further apart are sure to play a role in future fiction works. Are people one day going to find themselves speaking out against books that talk about humans and people who are partly made of robotic parts getting together?
What about Artificial Intelligence? As we move ever closer to a self-aware Artificial Intelligence being created, it’s going to become an issue that humanity takes sides on. Are we going to see a movement towards banned books in the future that involve AI?
What about religion? This has been a hot button for many books being challenged or banned. Are banned future books going to include those with strong religious/anti-religious themes? More and more people are coming forward and openly identifying as atheist and/or agnostic. We’re banding together to create a force for good at the same time. Slowly, surely, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that atheists and agnostics are unique because we’re good because we choose to be good. We don’t kill in the name of some ‘god’. Atheists don’t try to force people to believe that our X is better than their X. Good deeds are done because this life is all we have, and people’s memories of us are our afterlife. We need to make those memories good. We’re decent and helpful towards our fellow humans we want to be. That’s it.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, there is an increasing trend towards diversity in our literature. Authors are getting bashed and mocked and such because they choose not to include diverse characters in their works. People who are close minded are finding themselves on the receiving end of the finger-pointing and scorn because of their unwillingness to be open. Could we see a pendulum swing to where books may be banned because they feature characters who are NOT open-minded? Do you think there might ever be a point where heterosexuality, m/f marriages, and being white are looked upon in books with disdain?
So, why do you think we’ll ban books in the future?
Talk to me!
You’ve given us many things to think about in terms of future book banning.
I find it particularly interesting to think that a book might be challenged for being too religious or too white, especially since the picture most of us have a book challenger is someone who is both religious and white. So this turns things upside down.
I was wondering if we might see challenges to books that have guns or other weapons featured prominently but not presented in a negative light. For example, a teenage kid who is outdoorsy and hunts deer. Or a high fantasy book with a hero and a big sword on the cover.
I do agree about the alternative lifestyles, too. In fact, this is probably coming sooner rather than later as more books for elementary students are being written about transgender individuals, for example.
That’s a good point. Those types of covers very well could be censored for violent weapons depiction!
Yes to the transgender books. I think we are going to see more and more books like this whether bigots like it or not.
Wow. Books being banned for weapons. -.- As a hunter myself, I find that to be completely absurd, but I understand where the idea would come from. There are already plenty of people who think that weapons are bad despite the importance of them and not just for protection. My gun puts food on my table. It’s the only thing I use it for, and for someone to tell me that it’s wrong to have a gun because guns are bad feels like someone is telling me it’s wrong to eat. Yet, the people who ban books are generally not the majority and are generally not the understanding type. So, I could see this happening and that bothers me. Needless to say, if it does happen, I will have some strong words about it.
Oh! Thank you for the credit, Lilyn. That wasn’t necessary, but much appreciated. ^.^ And I think you did a great job fleshing this out yourself.
In response to your questions, I think we are going to see a huge surge in differing viewpoints in AI. This will no doubt filter into literature as popular items usually do, but I’m afraid of the lack of knowledge that will be filtered into the literature as well. I fear that not all the facts will get into the literature and banning will be based on that fact. Of course, there will be the radicals who will want to ban any books to do with AI because they believe it to be inherently and irrevocably wrong no matter what the facts say. (I personally think it’s not a good idea, because self-learning AI would figure out that humans are a plague upon themselves and the plant and would probably try to destroy us… but that’s off topic.)
Ah. Religion. This will always find a way to be banned in books because there are always going to be differing religions. I don’t think we will ever reach a time where everyone will practice the same religion or believe in the same thing. And some people will not want their children exposed to other religions (for whatever reason.) As a result, there will be books that will be frowned upon and banished because they don’t fit someone’s viewpoints. Goodness knows I’ve known my fair share of Evangelicals who didn’t want their kids reading Harry Potter because they feared their kids couldn’t decipher magic from reality and would believe magic was real and what to practice it. -.- That doesn’t say much for their children, though. >.>
The last topic. *sigh* What do I even say about that one? Honestly, I think we’re leaning in this direction already. Now let me get this out before you kill me, but I am not happy about the way in which agents and publishers are currently pushing diversity in literature. Wait! I support diversity in literature. I do. Fully and completely! However, the way it’s being pushed in the literary world is that EVERYONE must write about a non-Caucasian, non-hetero, non-whatever character even if they happen to be Caucasian, hetero, etc. That’s wrong. Why? Because nine times out of ten they’re gonna screw it up. And how is that going to reflect on POC? Badly. I think writers need to write what they know and rather than demanding characters of color/religion/etc, we need to find writers of those races/religions/etc because they are the only ones who can truly do them justice. Does this make sense or do you still want to kill me?
P.s. Love this discussion! I had a lot more to say than I thought. :p
Hmmm, I wonder if anyone ever banned Tanith Lee’s “The Silver Metal Lover” (1981)?
I dunno, but now I have to go look it up. *wanders off to Goodreads*
Considering the word “erotic” is right there in the Goodreads description, I’d vote “yes”. Even if they never read further than the Goodreads description.
Erotic robots, yeah, problem. Though I was just explaining to some friends that our breadmaker sounds like the mating of a robot with a walrus.
Incidentally, I’m going to have to check off the boxes to notify me of follow-ups in future, as I haven’t been getting any for comments I left on your blog since I came back from France. So if you’re replied to some of my comments in the last week and I haven’t responded, it’s because I didn’t see the reply.
I had some crappy issues with site but they should be fixed now I think
I always try to reply 🙂