Chronology of Algora Publishing’s comments on gay, racial, and gender issues in the page proofs of “Arms Deals” by Caleb S. Rossiter

Background: Algora has published three of my books, a foreign policy non-fiction in 2010, a school and poverty non-fiction in 2015, and a political novel about the 1970’s Weathermen in 2019. In 2019 Algora and I signed a contract for a successor novel, “Arms Deals,” featuring the same lead character. When the novel was in page proofs in November Algora raised objections to some content. I considered the objections to be racist, sexist, and homophonic, and refused to alter the content. Algora then refused to move forward with the book, so I asked for, and received, cancellation of the contact. 

Nov. 23 (from Editor 1)

Only one question, editorially speaking. 

With one major theme of “exposing “ how Washington and the arms industry and certain aspects of diplomacy work, and a second major theme introducing how things work in another world most readers have not experienced (east of the river); and standing up to stereotypes on race, male vs. female roles, etc., to be honest — by the time you introduce a couple of entirely gratuitous references to a gay relationship, it strikes a reader as a mechanical model of virtue signalling, checking off boxes as to how many ‘woke’ cliches you can weave in. 

It exists, and it can be studied and analyzed, but we actually have a policy of not supporting gay and lesbian issues, as we find that antithetical to nature. - We have published one of the best academic histories on the evolution of homosexual life in Europe (trans. from French, Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title), but that’s as far as we wish to go on that topic.

Nov. 27 (from Editor 1)

That’s about it, other than the point I mentioned yesterday. We would ask you to edit out that minor aside, for two reasons. Accepting people as they are is one thing; promoting and encouraging trends that don’t help the social fabric is another. And, while I personally enjoyed reading “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and various other examples of “improving” literature at a certain age, this much of a PC agenda really comes across as heavy-handed, or perhaps just comical - right down to the de rigueur poking fun at white men.

Nov. 27 (reply by Caleb Rossiter upon reading these two emails)

I will give your surprising statement about gay and lesbian issues some thought. But I certainly hope not to be "standing up to stereotypes" (just describing what I've seen east of the river) or to be "woke," whatever that means to various people. I just had a gay character, Mar'Shae, whose back-story in Weatherman was that being gay helped her avoid what her peers had  (babies at 14) so she could escape to the Army. And it seemed that she could use a little life to go with her work...Interestingly, for all the anti-gay male rhetoric that swirled around in the schools I taught at, lesbian relationships were accepted.
Nov. 27 (from Editor 2)

Further to (Editor 1’s) previous messages, we’ve been discussing your book with the publisher, who is concerned about your heroine. Essentially, it gets down to the question of what are your goals with the book, how many birds you can kill with one stone, and also, who you have in mind as an audience.

You note in your tipsheet that you see it as a “foreign policy morality play hidden inside a legal thriller.” Nothing in your “About the Book” suggests that you also want to use it as part of strong drive for affirmative action. On the one hand, you seem to want readers to take parts of the book somewhat seriously, yet your dramatic and narrative details convert it into pure fantasy.

For one thing, you surely are familiar with recent research on IQ distribution, etc. While we have all known some relatively high-performing Blacks, your own experience surely shows that the general trend does not suggest that one could reasonably expect a Black woman (or even a White woman), to be a hotshot analyst. Fiction is fiction, but the number and size of improbabilities starts to add up, and can eventually sink your ship. To add the gay/lesbian issue starts to turn it into a kind of SJW cartoon, slipping into that terrain where identity politics distracts people from real issues. And we thought your book was addressing a real issue.

Also, are you targeting “voters” who might care somewhat about policy questions, and embedding the message in an entertaining story so that it’s not limited solely to policy wonks? or do you think Blacks, in particular young Black women, will read it and be inspired? It’s not likely to do both at the same time. If the former, casting a Black woman most improbably in the lead role won’t help much.

The topic you set out to address is political, and not about cultural wars and identity politics. And we don’t publish that kind of book, per se. But we are now in a difficult position. What do you think, how can you help revising the characters’ identity?

Sorry to bring you such bad news, but indeed why on earth would a serious, educated White man support the demise of the White man?

Nov. 27 (response by Caleb Rossiter)

Hi -- I assume Algora has been hacked by Russia, because even if people believed such absurd things about blacks and women today they'd never commit them to text. I'll call the office Friday and try to speak to a human and see what's up.  C

Nov.27 (from editor 2)

In addition to Russia 😉, I also invite you to read Ron Unz’s collectin of smart minds on his site, if you are not (I would be surprised) familiar with it.

Dec. 3 (Note from Caleb Rossiter to editor 1, after reviewing page proofs and noting needed changes)

Finally, I think I addressed your concern about a "minor aside" about a gay character in a previous email.

Dec. 4 (from editor 1)

As far as the details below, however, while you’ve made your position pretty clear, you did not actually address the Publisher’s point. On this, I’m afraid that we’re too far apart to bridge the gap by fine-tuning a few details. I’m pretty sure you’re saying that what we thought of as "minor aside" about a gay character is nothing of the sort. In fact it seems to be very important to you and will be an essential facet of your future books. If that’s the case, we are coming to a standstill.

In your milieu, maybe nobody would dare put a different view in writing (so much for democracy and all that; what the French were decrying 15 years ago as “La Pensée unique”), but from here this kind of social warrior stuff is “crazy,” a distraction and a disruption, allowing the concerns of a very small minority to take over the discourse on every topic for everybody. There’s not much point arguing over it. I’m afraid we need to think about going back to strictly nonfiction, here, and parting ways when it comes to your novels [per Agreement clause 2B(c)].

Dec. 4 (Caleb Rossiter asks for a clear cancellation of the contact)

Dec. 5 (Editor 1)

As per our recent discussion, we hereby declare the Agreement to Publish for your work “ARMS DEALS”, signed by Algora Publishing on October 11, 2019, to be null and void, by mutual agreement between the two parties, with no further obligation on either side.

We’ve enjoyed working with you. 

You may not have seen Algora’s Blog, which will give you a better idea of what values we’re promoting:

Now, a statement from the publisher, who (probably unbeknownst to you) comes from Eastern Europe:

“Whatever you folks in the US have done in the past  – killing the natives, slavery of the African blacks, patriarchal/patronizing behavior, American war crimes perpetrated to this day, etc., – you are just a very small fringe of the white race, including large numbers but hardly all of the Spaniards, some Dutch, and mostly – but even then, not all – Anglos. And let’s not forget the largely-Jewish slave traders. The Anglo leadership of the US only represents a small part of the Western fringe of European white civilization. Scandinavians, Germans, Italians, the Balkan peoples, the Slavic Eastern Europeans, none of the vast majority of the white race has any responsibility for the atrocities perpetrated by the AngloZionist West. We have nothing to atone for and nothing to be ashamed of. For the most part, white peoples from the Balkans were actually victims themselves of the Ottomans, of the Magyars, even of the Western Crusaders. As victims, in our long history, we reject, without a blink, the notion that we should join you in your sense of self-conscious guilt.

You also might not be aware that the Eastern Orthodox tradition has as its very central tenet the philosophy of tolerance and forgiveness, as opposed to the intolerant (sometimes sadistic and masochistic) Western white protestant tradition found in much of the European West. It’s a tradition that’s pretty much lost in the minds of the self-centered Westerners.

And of course, as far as your exposure to different views, have you actually talked to a few folks in Poland, white and traditionalist as they (by and large) are? See what they think about your book featuring a lesbian black detective in Washington…  No, neither we nor the Poles have been hacked by the Russians. But some in Washington, DC have been hacked by extraterrestrials.”