It had first been released with very little fanfare and to very little interest. Critics and readers agreed that it was a painful read; slow, pedantic and really no more than propaganda.
Sometimes the things that end up have a huge impact come in with a whimper instead of a bang. This book was one of them. Slowly one came to realize that it was everywhere. In every store, on every billboard this book was now being lauded as a book everyone Must read. People scoffed. Late night comics made jokes about it…for a little while.
Then all of a sudden the same comics were giving it ringing endorsements, “The Book is the last book you will ever need to read.” “Your guide to being a true member of our great society: The Book.”. Children in high school were given it as assigned reading. Copies were in every doctor’s and dentist’s waiting rooms. It seemed there was no escaping it…yet still it didn’t seem like a problem per say.
Almost without anyone noticing the libraries were emptied and all the books incinerated except for The Book. Book stores were forced to close as they came in to find their entire inventories destroyed or missing. Now people started to take notice but it was too late and people who spoke out about it soon disappeared as quickly and quietly as the books had.
Most people weren’t that alarmed because they lived in a digital/virtual world anyway. They still had their e-readers and audio books. That is until one day when all of that simply disappeared. Poof, all gone nothing saved not even in the cloud. Now that reading materials of all kinds were virtually extinct the government made the official ban on reading or discussing any book other than The Book. Literature classes were removed from all curriculums. Teachers, professors, and writers were jailed. Online forums for reading and writing were also banned. Those bloggers of fiction and poetry who had made the mistake of clearly identifying themselves were also jailed.
A few true book lovers tried. They took their personal libraries and hid them away. Secret book clubs formed and met. By this time, it really wasn’t surprising when the raids started. The government mandated task force could simply enter your home at will and with force if necessary to enforce the ban. Not only would your books be destroyed, you would be punished, fined and sometimes imprisoned just for owning any other book. But, as the ads reminded, “Your government knows what’s best for you.” Free copies of The Book were handed out and eventually everyone had one because whether you wanted one or not you could also be fined for not having a copy…and you better have read it because you never knew when you would be asked to recite a passage to prove your patriotism.