The good news is that Steve Elliott, Seattle Weekly's own "Toke Signals" columnist and editor of the marijuana blog Toke of the Town, has a new book! It's called The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the World of Cannabis, and it's coming out Sept. 15.
The bad news is that his book was supposed to come out Aug. 1.
That was, however, until China's totalitarian gatekeepers got wind of what the book was about and refused to allow the binding of the pages at the bindery that had been contracted to do so.
"The book had been scheduled for Aug. 1 availability. Then Aug. 1 came and went and nothing happened," Elliott tells us today. "I asked my publisher in New York [Peter Pauper Press] and they checked into it. Apparently sex and drugs are too controversial for the Chinese government. No word on whether rock and roll is too."
Elliott says that the pages for his book were finished in Hong Kong, then transported to mainland China for binding. Now the pages are back in Hong Kong, where the book bindery being used is enormously backlogged.
Chairman Mao sez "No book for you!"
Meanwhile, folks who pre-ordered Elliott's book may be left wondering whether someone got stoned and forgot about their order. That's not the case.
Suzanne Schwalb, editor at Peter Pauper Press, tells Elliott that a certain other little black book deals with similar Chinese scrutiny.
Bibles are also considered in China to be "sensitive" material, and are treated similarly to my book--and there is a huge demand for printed Bibles, which must also be printed and bound in Hong Kong rather than mainland China.
"So the Good Book might be holding up your Little Black Book," Schwalb tells Elliott.
Elliott says he heard from other writers that Chinese binders and publishers have printed marijuana-themed books before. But he also notes that most of those books were "photo essays" of pot, while the Little Black Book delves also into the political battlefield of cannabis-law reform.
Elliott's publisher never warned him that he might hit a roadblock using the communist country's bindery, since the topics that the Chinese usually take issue with are apparently sexual.
Then again, if you're into cannabis, the photos in Elliott's book might easily be considered pornography.
Whatever the case, Elliott's book is on its way to American shores and worldwide distribution. It'll just be a few weeks.
In the meantime, it's available in e-book form right now here.