Sherry Jones, author of The Jewel Of Medina, the novel cancelled by Ballantine, writes on her blog that "all I did was try to portray A'isha, Muhammad's child bride (believed by most historians to have married Muhammad at age nine and consummated the marriage at age 11) in the context of her times."
As to Professor Spellberg's charge that the novel is "soft porn," Jones replies: "There are no sex scenes in this book. The novel, whose bibliography includes 29 scholarly and religious books, is a work of serious historic fiction detailing the origins of Islam through the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad's youngest wife. It's a book about women's relationships and experiences at a time in history when a religion was being founded in the midst of conflict."
The book's agent, Natasha Kern, says that she will have news of foreign rights sales for the book to announce shortly.
According to GalleyCat, the "terrorist threat" was rather more low key than it sounded -- it was, in fact, a seven-point plan to spam Random House's server, and "hit" the book with an orchestrated blast of e-mailed criticism.
Come to think of it, while lives might not be in danger, it is still pretty drastic. Various Muslim scholars have chimed into the debate claiming they never wanted the book not to be published, so where is the justification for making internet mayhem?