Chinese censors incinerate entire run of a kickstarted Call of Cthulhu RPG sourcebook

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/25/the-sassoon-files.html

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#2

https://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/chinese-government-censors-ruling-lines-through-australian-books-20190222-p50zpn.html

It is not the first time it done something like that.
If I’m not mistaken, China already had some rules, but they were not enforced.

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#3

I’m… unsurprised. I worked on video games that were being released in China, and the censors were weird and arbitrary. I can easily believe that just having some Lovecraftian monsters was what triggered the burning - and that it may have been done not because it was official policy but because someone personally didn’t like it.
The game I worked on got weirdly censored because of its monsters - just having imaginary creatures that had teeth, claws or boney qualities was deemed “offensive to Chinese values.” (Which elements were unacceptable also changed from each interaction with the censors.) The recent case where the young woman’s “goth” makeup (which amounted to little more than heavy eye-shadow) was enough to get some transportation employee to try to ban her as “grotesque” even though that wasn’t policy. Censorship, by its nature, tends to be arbitrary and inconsistent, to have vague bounds (and be forgiving of censors that go out of those bounds).

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#4

giphy

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#5

I’ve worked with content creators that produce their stuff in China to save on costs, and it’s always a bit of a crapshoot as to whether the censors will decide the art or text is offensive and block/destroy/cancel the project.

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#6

It’s about time we stand up to this migration of manufacturing jobs and industry to a country that practices such totalitarian censorship.

/posted from my iphone.

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#7

Good idea.

/posted from my android

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#8

Posted from my difference engine

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#9

I’ve seen a Chinese version of the complete fictions of Lovecraft in a bookstore. Interestingly, it looked a lot like they used Barnes & Nobles’ copy of the complete fictions as their template, although I didn’t have my copy at hand to compare.

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#10

They came for the gamers, again.

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#11

In this case, since it’s an RPG, the illustrations are what I suspect triggered the burning. Though the censors are nothing if not inconsistent.

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#12

The book I saw had illustrations but I don’t remember them well. They may very well have been non-monstrous.

Interestingly, (insert “you keep using that word” gif) the same book store had a guide to Twin Peaks. I think it’s safe to assume that Cooper’s Tibet fixation is glossed over.

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#13

As someone who runs a small, artist-centered offset press and book bindery in the US, and who loves to produce problematic books, posters, protest signs, zines, etc etc etc… this is exactly the dystopia I have been waiting for. So… sorry everyone?

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#14

Tried to stop myself…but couldn’t…

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#15

I just heard about something like this on Defunctland. Disney couldn’t build their haunted house in either Hang Kong or Shanghai Disneyland because there was a prohibition against representing the supernatural.

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#16

People enjoy using the phrase “free speech isn’t free”, without providing hard numbers.

It would appear that the dystopian future will, if nothing else, allow us to calculate a sticker price for free speech, full color free speech, hard vs. softcover free speech and so on by price comparison between printers in different jurisdictions.

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#17

It’s not exactly the supernatural that’s a problem, you can represent magic, but ghosts specifically. Traditionally, ghost stories have been used as vehicles for social criticism.

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#18

From: S.S.B.Glover@bradford.ac.uk (Steve Glover)
[1] Re: Hectograph Formulae?
Organization: University of Bradford, UK
Date: Sat Jan 15 06:56:10 EST 1994

bakula@ducky.ils.nwu.edu wrote:
: Although I’m not much of a 'zinefan, I have done battle with Gestetners,
: old Hart mimeographs, and the like. However, I’ve never actually seen
: the hectograph process in the living gelatin – could someone give us
: the stand-up low-down on how they printed a 'zine before the days of
: electric pencils and cheap xerography?

What do you mean “Before…” We still use a “Turkish Delight” duplicator
for small print run stuff (apa contribs, small con newsletters of the
informal persuasion) and security printing (Postscript output ->
ghostscript -> 9 pin printer -> coloured Banda paper --> unduplicatable
tickets for whisky tastings etc).

Anyway, here’s Jenny’s recipe (as obtained from a friend of a friend of a
‘freedom fighter’ who apparently used to run across the veldt duplicating
leaflets with one hand and scattering them with the other…)

Turkish Delight Duplicator Recipe
© Steve & Jenny Glover, 1993

You will need:

A large roasting tray, big enough for a sheet of paper. This is going to
be the ‘bed’.

Sheets of good quality typing paper (laser printer or photocopying paper
will do quite well) for the master copies

“Spirit Duplicator” carbons (one UK trade name is ‘Banda’). Ordinary
carbon paper will not do. These sheets come in a range of colours, but
purple seems to be traditional. You prepare your master by typing or
printing (with an impact printer, not a laser or inkjet!) so that the carbon
material comes off onto your master sheet.

Preparing the ‘bed’.

[This recipe uses gelatin, which can be produced from non-animal
sources, but which usually isn’t. Somewhere we have an equivalent recipe
that uses carrageenan gel or agar agar, but you will have to work these
ones out for yourself by trial and error, as we’re not so practised with
these ones]

In a large saucepan dissolve 100g gelatin in 375ml water then begin to
warm it gently while adding 385g of sugar. When it has dissolved, add 715g
glycerol and slowly bring the mixture to the boil. Stir gently for one
minute while boiling to avert the wrath of the Foam Ghods.

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it slowly into your tray (care!
this mixture boils at a higher temperature than water – for the purposes
of rug rats and house apes, treat it as molten fat).

Make sure that the tray is on a flat surface where it can be left for a
few hours until the gel sets.

While the gel is cooling, the Foam Ghods can be further appeased by using
tissue paper to remove bubbles, foam and ‘bits’ from the surface.

Using the duplicator.

First, moisten the surface of the bed by swirling cold water across it and
wiping it dry with a fine sponge. There should be no droplets of water
left at this point.

Take your master copy and lay it face down on the gel, smoothing it down
with the back of a spoon (or by hand), taking care to avoid bubbles and
areas that are not in contact with the surface.

Leave it there for a few minutes to allow the ink to transfer into the top
of the gelatin (care: the longer you leave it, the deeper the ink goes, so
the more copies you can make, but if the surface was too wet, you run the
risk of incurring the wrath of the Dhemons of Diffusion).

Remove the master carefully (it may be re-usable, depending on how many
copies you need) – if it tears, never mind, the surface was too dry
anyway.

Take a sheet of ordinary paper and slowly smooth it down over the right
part of the bed. Peel it back, and step back in amazement! It works!!

Repeat 30-50 times, omitting the step back in amazement as the miracle
becomes mundane. If you want more copies clean the surface (see below) and
replace the master.

Cleaning the Surface.

Cover the surface briefly with warm water. This will dissolve the ink
(huzzah!!) but also some of the surface (boo! hiss!) so swirl it away
quickly while using a separate fine sponge (wich will soon become a fine
fhannish shade of purple – and not one you would want to use to do your
sensitive fannish face with) to remove the ink. Wash the surface with COLD
water to help reset the gelatine, dry the surface again, and use a sheet
of white paper to check for any leftover ink on the surface (ink below the
surface isn’t often a problem). be careful not to damage the smoothness of
the surface.

Damage Control

If you do damage the surface, all is not lost. Simply (if you are using a
metal tray only) remelt the surface and let it re-form, obeying the
imprecations and instructions above re: the propitiation of the Foam Ghods.

For serious damage, remove the gel from the tray, and redissolve in a
little boiling water, bring back to boil as above and continue with the
procedure as appropriate.

This file is sort of shareware: if you use this recipe, we’d like to see a
copy of the zine, flyer or artwork you produce. Our address is:

Steve & Jenny Glover
16 Aviary Place
Leeds LS12 2NP
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom

We’re also interested in zines in general – especially SF ones (we edit
MATRIX, the newsletter of the British Science Fiction Association, and
carry a zine review column and free ad service).

If you don’t fancy making this recipe up, but would like to see it in
action, then come along to the Fan Programme at Intersection, the 1995
World SF Convention in Glasgow.

((@@@@@@)) All the Steve Glover
(
@|||@*) Talk (Fan programme, Intersection: 1995 Worldcon)
||| Of the __ (Editor, MATRIX: Newsletter of the bSFa)
\|||// Market (/ )

Fetched out of the bowels of my CyberSquid BBS. Yay for backups of backups of backups…

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#19

I need many copies of that as a sticker

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#20

Make Great Ones Great Again?

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