Sunday, 24 April 2011


I've been attending EasterCon this weekend - it's the big SF convention in the UK (more of it anon) and as I was doing a couple of signings I thought it would be a good idea to put a few posters up around the place advertising my presence and alerting people to the fact that I was giving a poster away free with each book. The poster I chose to do this was the Heydrich one.

When I arrived on Saturday ... no posters. It seemed that one elderly gentlemen had gotten really bent outta shape ('very emotional' or so I was told) about Herr Heydrich being used to promote a book. He said and here I quote 'I didn't fight in the war to see the likes of him being stuck up everywhere'.

Now, I have a big thing about censorship (any censorship) as I think once you muzzle people it's a slippery slope towards muzzling ALL the people but what was so remarkable about this particular incident is that this chap's objections were self-defeating. Presumably he fought in WWII to stop the likes of Heydrich ever coming to power again but to do that people have to remember! Unfortunately I suspect (and here I make a sweeping assumption) that the majority of those under-25 have never heard of Heydrich and his involvement with the Holocaust. Which brings me back to my old hobbyhorse: if kids aren't taught history in school then the chances of them repeating the mistakes of previous generations are multiplied.

So it's left to writers (and film-makers and the rest) to fill the gap.

The Demi-Monde portrays Heydrich (and Beria, Robespierre et al) just as they were: cold-bloodied psychopaths. In no way does it celebrate these monsters, romanticise them or apologise for their actions. Perhaps this elderly gentlemen should have read the book before he made his protest. After all, presumably one of the things he was fighting for was freedom of expression.


  1. OH ROD! I totally worry about this very reaction. My second book features the enigmatic Heydrich as a vampire. I have been through so much mentally agony over this. I almost didn't use him. However, I like you feel that most people my age--41 and younger have no clue about the Blonde Beast. My betas were clueless. I had to show them who he was. So... I left him in because he worked as a vampire and he gave the main character some impetus to question how alike they were. Sorry you had a reaction like that. I personally FREAKIN LOVE that poster because he is such an evil manipulative bastard. Let me know when I can get that sucker in the US. PS interview questions for my blog coming soon.

  2. Hello, do you still have some H. posters to sell? I'd like to get one and am ready to buy it, if you still have some.

  3. Yeah, have some. If you e-mail me your address to I'll pop 'em in the post No charge. best Rod

  4. Just came across your page in a very roundabout way, read the article and would like to offer my 10 cents. You are right about freedom of expression and speech. But using images like these for any purpose other than documentation is open to interpretation as exploitation or celebration, no matter what the actual print of the book may say.
    It's not a question of legal definition. It's a question of taste. To those who actually lived in the same world as Heydrich, his image does not mean the same as it does to us, no matter how well informed we are.

    It's more like a photo of the man who raped and murdered your sister.
    Just imagine that if you will.

  5. And my ten cents ... the problem with sanitising history in order to accommodate people's sensitivities is, I think, a dangerous path to travel. Heydrich, Beria et al were poisonous, deranged monsters and that's how I have portrayed them. Surely it's better they are remembered, than the evil that men are capable of when they are given power is forgotten.

  6. I just ordered first book of Demi-Monde. That's nice of you send copies of the Heydrich poster. I like it for the novelty idea of doing a different spin on the Montgomery Flagg Uncle Sam poster. I'll e-mail you my address, and would appreciate a copy of that poster. Thanks.