Sometimes you just have to laugh, and this story had me in stitches.

Apparently, it’s not OK for prisons to disallow the reading of werewolf erotic fiction, according to this story by Melville House.

This case has been working its way through the California court system for more than two years. To sum it up, inmate Andres Martinez, currently residing in Pelican Bay State Prison, ordered from Amazon a book titled The Silver Crown. It’s about a werewolf hunter who … wait for it … falls in love with a werewolf. Apparently prison guards examined the book and determined it had too much sexual content in it.

All right. From a civil liberties point of view, I’m delighted the court OK’ed the book. It’s hard for me to believe that werewolf erotica was likely to make an inmate misbehave.

But what had me laughing out loud was this quote:

The judgment is worth reading, if only to contend with judges examining the ins and outs of the plot—apparently there are “themes of love, divided loyalty, destiny, transformation, betrayal, and revenge run through the novel”— and assessing Madden’s literary skill—”we too note that Madden’s book employs techniques recognized as literary devices.” They conclude that The Silver Crown has literary value and is unlikely to incite violence.

I skimmed the judgment, and here was my favorite quote:

In particular, petitioner contends that The Silver Crown is no more violent than several other books available in the SHU general library at Pelican Bay, as well as other recognized great works of literature, such as Homer’s Iliad and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Urban fantasy erotica and literature compared in the same sentence. You don’t see that every day! Oh, yeah, not to mention the train wreck of reading the cursory description of the various sexual acts performed in the book. All in appropriate legalese, of course.

Naturally, I had to pop over to Amazon to check out the book in question. One review. Two stars. The gist being that the writing was pretty horrible. There were also typos in both the book description and “About the Author.” I thought about downloading a sample, but I wasn’t sure I really needed to spend any more time with this book.

I couldn’t help thinking about Paul’s recent article about Andrew Franklin laying into self-publishing. I assumed from the Amazon entry that The Silver Crown was self-published. Nope, a small UK publisher handled this one.

This just proves that while there is a lot of self-published drek out there, traditional publishers also know how to pick ’em.

Take a few minutes to peruse the judgment. Just don’t be drinking anything while you do. I don’t want to be responsible for damage to your computer or keyboard. Enjoy!


  1. You linked to the wrong book. It’s this one:

    The novel is published by one of Random House’s imprints.

    The author writes columns for The Guardian. I see that at least one of her novels was reviewed by Dear Author, reasonable favorably. Perhaps, since you haven’t actually read the “The Silver Crown” (neither have I, I’ll admit), it’s a bit too early to jump to conclusions about its literary quality?

    Fascinating court judgment, though. Thanks for mentioning it here.

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