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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Who’d have thought a horror writer could be so easily frightened?

Sadly, my most prominent fan, Stephen King, who for over a decade had provided ecstatic blurbs for all my novels … in the process becoming one of my closest friends, simply turned his back, explaining that he, America’s most popular writer, the writer to whom Siege was dedicated, did not wish to risk standing up to the raging mob.

So wrote Hesh Kestin, whose 2019 novel, ‘The Siege of Tel Aviv’, blurbed by Stephen King, was canceled after a “raging mob” (a.k.a a handful of anonymous complaints from 13 twitter accounts of people who could not have seen the advance reader copies) made the publisher pulp its own book, despite several glowing reviews from the few who got to see it “including one from a Palestinian-American novelist and one from a prominent British Muslim media personality”. (One of several cases covered in ‘Washington Examiner’ article Publishers against the People of the Book, h/t instapundit.)

To me, reading about literati Jews discovering that their liberal friends, uh, aren’t had a rather 1930’s feel to it. My second-ever Samizdata post was about this – except that it was an analogy (an experience of a German Jewish couple in 1930 compared to an experience of the un-politically-correct – and un-Jewish – Sarah Hoyt in 2017). I can’t say I’m surprised that now it’s an echo not an analogy. People who call you racist for saying “all lives matter” were never going to have a problem with calling you Nazi for not purging Jewish writers.

To the accusations against him, Kestin objects

There are at least four heroic Arab/Muslim characters in Siege, while the Israeli establishment is painted as naively complicit in its own destruction.

but the part I put in bold showed me only too clearly why that did not save the book from modern US liberal wrath!

21 comments to Who’d have thought a horror writer could be so easily frightened?

  • flying saucer

    This book does not seems to be “banned” or “censored” at all.


    So what is it about?


    “Iran leads five armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist.”

    Feel the Red Dawn vibe, where mighty Russian-Cuban-Mexican-Nicaraguan alliance overruns America – only this book feels even less realistic.

    It might have place in 1961, but in 2021, when all Israel’s neigbours are in ruins or desperately trying to ally with Israel, and Israel gets everything it wants, it looks like one big and unfunny joke.

    Hard pass.

  • bobby b

    I used to enjoy a good S King book as a great time-filler on cold nights by the fire. Then I realized what a pusillanimous progressive putz he really was, and couldn’t muster any more enthusiasm for him.

    Fortunately, the cancellation of The Siege of Tel Aviv was a temporary thing, as someone else was quick to jump on the opportunity to publish it. But I’m sure the small staff of Dzanc Books was quite self-satisfied at their own brave principles.

    Or perhaps they were merely too timid to take a chance.

  • bobby b

    “It might have place in 1961, but in 2021, when all Israel’s neigbours are in ruins or desperately trying to ally with Israel, and Israel gets everything it wants, it looks like one big and unfunny joke.”

    We might wish that they were in ruins, but Iran’s nuke scientists would probably disagree.

  • staghounds

    Let me make sure I understand this:

    Palestinian irredentists don’t like a novel in which Palestinian irredentists conquer Israel?

  • Paul Marks

    flying saucer – the Islamic Republic of Iran is no joke (and it is backed by the People’s Republic of China and by Russia).

    Sadly the IRI most likely will destroy Israel – the majority of American Jews voted for Mr Biden (that was not election fraud – had only Jews voted Mr Biden would have won fair-and-square), they may have signed the death warrant for Israel.

    As for Stephen King – a leftist (i.e. someone who chooses the left hand path – that leads to a very bad place), he is no good.

    bobby b – yes, on all points.

    staghounds – you are trying to understand leftists. In this case they, in American universities and so on, chant “Palestine will be free, for the river to the sea” – but when reminded that this means murdering six million Jews (which they know perfectly well), they pretend to be offended (froth at the mouth, try and kill the person speaking to them, the usual Progressive stuff).

  • bobby b

    I remember watching a huge angry man raising a scary knife and charging a cop in Minneapolis one night.

    The cop exercised great restraint and only Tazed him. I would have shot him.

    As the guy lay there twitching, he was screaming that he was the victim of police brutality and that he would kill the cop.

    A great analogy, I thought, to Israel and surrounding spots. If I were that cop, I would not choose to live next door to that guy. And, in today’s society, that would be an unacceptable sentiment. Stephen King et al. would cancel him for it.

  • staghounds

    I think their non-massacre plan is that the newly conquered Israelis will all go to the U. S.

  • I think their non-massacre plan is that the newly conquered Israelis will all go to the U. S. (staghounds, December 10, 2021 at 3:16 am

    I don’t. Import several million survivors of invasion, dispossession and (for sure, a bit of) massacre, who all recall that Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and hindered Iran, whereas Biden facilitated Iran? They don’t sound like the kind of immigrants the Democrats are looking for.

  • flying saucer (December 9, 2021 at 6:04 pm), if you read the article I link to, you will encounter the sentence:

    Kestin notes that none of the 13 had advance reader copies, and he doubts any of them read it after Kestin later self-published it.

    You will also encounter the experiences of other Jewish authors who write on other subjects or who were driven out of literati organisations. I mentioned the Kestin case because my post was focussed on the informative behaviour of Stephen King, not because Kestin’s subject matter was the only kind canceled. For example,

    Alina Adams, a New York-based, New York Times bestselling writer of romance, mystery, and historical fiction, observed, “With Jews, you know what you’ll get when you pick up a book. … If it’s not The Nanny, it should be Tevye the Milkman.” Perhaps that explains why Adams has faced resistance to some of her Jewish characters: “I write Soviet Jews, and I write immigrant Jews, not typical American Jews.”

    No prizes for guessing why today’s PC are not eager for reminders of Soviet Jewish experience, and even less eager to think of Jews as immigrants.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Well I bought it with that recommendation.

    Moreover I think that @flying saucer guy is, at the very least, naïve if he thinks there’s no difference between self-publishing and having a mainstream publisher promote your book.

  • bobby b

    “Moreover I think that @flying saucer guy is, at the very least, naïve if he thinks there’s no difference between self-publishing and having a mainstream publisher promote your book.”

    I bought it some time ago after a similar discussion somewhere else, and remember thinking that, oh, good, another publisher had picked it up. It wasn’t until this discussion today that I realized that the new imprint was his own. Which is actually a good thing, as it means much more of the purchase price went directly to the author.

  • Paul Marks

    staghounds “I think their non massacre plan is for the newly conquered Israelis would all go to the USA”

    The Jews of Israel would already be dead staghounds – but let us assume they were NOT dead. The central principle of leftist is equality, egalitarianism (“equity” as Mr Biden inaccurately prefers to call it), Jews arriving destitute in New York and Chicago (and so on) would be equal with the local inner city dwellers at first – but they would not STAY equal, they would quickly become less poor than their neighbours.

    Now the left would face a choice….

    Option A – Admit that humans beings are NOT equal, that some people are more intelligent and more hard working than other people. And that some CULTURES are objectively superior to other cultures.


    Option B – Kill the Jews.

    It is quite clear from listening to modern American leftists that they would pick Option B.

    “But Paul some of these American leftists are Jewish – or at least from Jewish families”.

    That is one of the great ironies of the last couple of centuries – some Jews (or people from Jewish families) supporting the egalitarianism that must end with the Jews being robbed and murdered.

    For example see the Jewish support for the “Black Panthers” in the 1960s – whose principle target was Jewish merchants.

    The brother of Thomas Sowell went out into the streets in the 1960s riots begging people not to burn the very business enterprises they themselves depended on – they just laughed at him (he was lucky not to be murdered – as Captain David Dorn, and so many others, were murdered during the recent George Floyd riots).

    As Thomas Sowell and the late Walter Williams pointed out so many times – black people had a much better life in northern America inner cities 60 or 70 years ago than they do now. There were far more shops and places of employment – now there are only a few shops (run by very hard men – whose first concern is certainly NOT customer service) and essentially no places of employment.

    But to admit this in the schools and universities (and the media – television and Hollywood) would be out of the question – as it would be against “the narrative” that people such as Mr Biden and K. Harris (indeed the entire left) is committed to.

    Hispanic immigrants (including the vast numbers of illegal immigrants) are also being taught that their poverty is due to “racism” – which is “oppression”, and that they must destroy “white supremacy”. That anyone with a better life than them is their enemy – and is responsible for their suffering.

    Wealthy secular Jews in cities such as Los Angeles actually tend to support this message – they endorse it in the education system and the media. Yet they will be the victims of it – they will be robbed and they will be murdered, in the name of “Social Justice”.

    And “the masses”? After the orgy of Social Justice looting – they will be poorer than they were before.

    The interesting thing about the despised (indeed passionately hated) “Red Necks” of the United States is that they were also often poor, very poor. But they did not measure the worth of a man by his material wealth (they were not materialistic – in that sense), and they did NOT hate people just for having more stuff than them – they rejected “Social Justice”.

    But the educated elite of the United States are passionate about “Social Justice” – they hate anyone (such as “Red Necks”) who does not follow their religion of Social Justice. And Social Justice always ends up producing ashes and dried blood, dried human blood.

  • Paul Marks

    Why are some of the Cuban and some other immigrants of Florida different in their politics?

    It is nothing to do with biological “race” – it is because they know where “Social Justice” leads. They understand that “Social Justice” is injustice (is robbery), they understand that “Social Justice” is evil.

  • Paul Marks

    “The Palestinians are poor, the Jews are rich – therefore the Jews must be oppressing the Palestinians”.

    Some Muslims are most certainly NOT poor – and some Jews ARE poor. But let us assume (for the sake of argument) that all Muslims are poor and all Jews are rich, that would NOT prove any “oppression” – to claim that inequality means “oppression” is the Social Justice madness (madness and evil) that has gripped Western culture from Harvard to Hollywood.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thanks to Niall for linking to his own 2nd post on this forum. The dichotomy between people who put experience over theory vs people who do the opposite, while not the only dichotomy in politics, is an important dichotomy.

    (I favor experience, but am only a moderate conservative, in that i think that theory also has its place.)

  • Snorri Godhi

    As for Stephen King, i started reading Christine, but soon realized that it’s not “my cup of tea”.

    I enjoyed a few movies based on his novels, however (just checked IMDb: The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, The Dead Zone … even The Running Man!).

  • Snorri Godhi


    If I were that cop, I would not choose to live next door to that guy.

    And yet, you do choose to live “next door” to that guy 🙂

    But then, you are not a cop.

  • APL

    “Who’d have thought a horror writer could be so easily frightened?”

    The woman who wrote that tat ‘Harry Potter’, has more backbone than Stephen King!

  • Paul Marks

    I still get over the idea that someone thinks that Iran is in ruins – or Egypt is.

    Stephen King – he does not know people very well. I remember him saying to students that they should study hard – or they would get stuck in the army.

    It was very revealing comment – Mr King thinks that people join the army because they can not get another job. Mr King really is that much of a scumbag.

  • I remember [Stephen King] saying to students that they should study hard – or they would get stuck in the army. (Paul Marks, December 12, 2021 at 5:26 pm)

    That idea is not original to Stephen King.

    “There is no need for your son to go into the army. He is really quite intelligent.” (headmaster of Winchester to the father of the future General Wavell, circa 1900)

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Niall – the idea that the military does not require intelligence, or studying (not the same thing). It requires both.

    The degree of ignorance that such remarks indicate is staggering.