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Old 08-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
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"Racist" novel raising a ruckus

"The new novel Saving The Pearls: Defending Eden sounds like something that someone made up as a prank. Victoria Foyt's self-published novel takes place in a world where, due to global warming, most white people are dead. The world is ruled by black people, called "coals" in the book. The remaining white people, called "pearls," are oppressed by the "coals." But apparently this book is real, and its author chose to promote it with a video showing a white person in blackface. The internet, not surprisingly, was not amused.

All of this would be just another internet firestorm about somebody being an idiot — except that Weird Tales Magazine, one of the most venerable speculative fiction magazines in the world, decided to reprint the first chapter of Saving the Pearls in its next issue. And Weird Tales editor Marvin Kaye, who took over the magazine from the Hugo Award-winning team of Ann VanderMeer and Stephen Segal last year, wrote a blog post defending the book:

Explained Kaye:

This story is a compelling view of a world that didn't listen to the warnings of ecologists, and a world that has developed a reverse racism: blacks dominating and detesting not just whites, but latinos and albinos, the few that still survive of the latter are hunted down and slaughtered... Racism is an atrocity, and that is the backbone of this book. That is very clear to anyone with an appreciation for irony who reads it."

http://io9.com/5936309/weird-tales-m...on+racist-book
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:54 PM   #2
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I can see the objection to black face, but premise of the book itself doesn't sound racist.
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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There was a play on Radio 4, Noughts and Crosses, a few months ago along similar lines. I found it quite creepy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cj1s1
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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Not exactly a novel premise, is it - "Planet of the Apes" did a sort of version a very long time ago !
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:48 PM   #5
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Dear Author didn't think much of the book, and called it "awful". Their reviewer says also that the author has made pretty racist statements.

I tend to trust Dear Author more than I do Marvin Kaye, about whom I know nothing.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:07 PM   #6
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The theme is hardly new.
Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold is generally frowned upon for playing with pretty much the same theme back in 1964:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnham's_Freehold

Role-reversal stories aren't popular even when skillfully written.
Clumsy ones are surefire train wrecks.
Rubberneck at will, then move on..
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
The theme is hardly new.
Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold is generally frowned upon for playing with pretty much the same theme back in 1964:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnham's_Freehold

Role-reversal stories aren't popular even when skillfully written.
Clumsy ones are surefire train wrecks.
Rubberneck at will, then move on..
Idiots abound.
Even in days when Vampires might rule. True Blood among many others.
And of course Zombies!
Someone worries about Blacks being at the top of the food chain??

I think the people protesting aren't Sci Fi people. Just posers.

Mom would have said. "Pay no attention. Don't look at them, and keep walking."
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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Farnham's Freehold, that's the book I was trying to think of, thank you. As I remember white people weren't considered human and were raised, literally, as cattle.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:41 PM   #9
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I'm not opposed to the premise of the book, although I doubt I'd want to read it, and the author does sound like a tool.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:51 PM   #10
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And people have held similar opinions in real life too. Charles Manson had his idea of "Helter Skelter" and a race war etc. I wonder if he read Farnham's Freehold at the time. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that he had.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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I've read that first chapter and I'm shocked you say it's not racist and that if you think it is, you don't get irony. I really don't think you've read it. The narrator dreams about the good old days when her skin colour was the ideal and she would have been on the cover of magazines. That awful "coal" term is used as a slur against the supposedly privileged class.
and that's somehow a bad thing for a book where racism is at the core to have a racist narrator? Narrators are not always the true feelings of the author, wasn't there a 'who done it' book where the narrator did it?

but I'll reserve any strong opinion one way or the other as unlike the person I quoted, I've not read any of the book and probably won't considering the size of my reading list and taste in genres :P I might very well be just as appalled if I actually read it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:15 AM   #12
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The premise is not new in science fiction, but it does come off as offensive in this case because black people are still a minority and discriminated against all over the world. There is still a lot of fear and hatred against black people, you just have to read some of these anti Obama yahoos trolling the net to see that. And so this book is a thinly veiled attempt to say that Obama and his "type" will take over and make white people their slaves. It's anti black, period. Anybody who can't see that that is the true premise of the book is insane.

On the other hand maybe it's time to shine a light on these anti social cockroaches. Unfortunately the more attention they get the more chance they get to spread their negative message across to susceptible idiots.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:18 AM   #13
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Weird Tales will no longer be printing the excerpt apparently: http://io9.com/5936397/weird-tales-b...ffensive-novel

From the publisher:

Quote:
I would like to tell our community that Weird Tales will NOT be running an excerpt from Victoria Foyt's novel in our upcoming issue.

Marvin Kaye is our editor and has full control over fiction published in the magazine and website, and he agrees with me on this.

Marvin was approached by Victoria Foyt, and was asked to review her novel. He was told that she was being slammed online by people who had not read it.

I have not read the novel, but have gone over its online presence today. I have no need to read it. I saw the blackface video and read the excerpts the author and publisher chose to make available. I must conclude that the use of the powerful symbols of white people forced to wear blackface to escape the sun, white women lusting after black "beast men," the "pearls" and "coals," etc., is goddamned ridiculous and offensive. It seems like the work of someone who does not understand the power of what she is playing with.

Marvin says if you read the whole book, she explains her use of this imagery, and it ends up as a plea for tolerance. I say, so what. And that is the position of Weird Tales - and upon reviewing the video and other materials, Marvin is in full agreement.

I deeply apologize to all who were offended by our association with this book. I am offended by it. I fully respect those who have been writing negative things about us today. You are correct.

I have removed Marvin's endorsement because he no longer stands by it. Marvin is traveling and will make his own statement shortly.
[emphasis added]

I have no idea if the book is racist or not, but it seems like (based on the io9 comments) a lot is being made about excerpts without any context. And it's a little sad that: (i) the publisher admitted to a quick knee-jerk reaction to placate the mob without first having read the book; and (ii) they don't seem to care that their may be a deeper context to content that, with only a dullard's surface analysis, appears to be racist.

Last edited by Ninjalawyer; 08-21-2012 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ladyplf View Post
The premise is not new in science fiction, but it does come off as offensive in this case because black people are still a minority and discriminated against all over the world. There is still a lot of fear and hatred against black people, you just have to read some of these anti Obama yahoos trolling the net to see that. And so this book is a thinly veiled attempt to say that Obama and his "type" will take over and make white people their slaves. It's anti black, period. Anybody who can't see that that is the true premise of the book is insane.

On the other hand maybe it's time to shine a light on these anti social cockroaches. Unfortunately the more attention they get the more chance they get to spread their negative message across to susceptible idiots.
Have you read the book?

Do you really think everyone who is anti-Obama is racist?
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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Have you read the book?

Do you really think everyone who is anti-Obama is racist?
I was accused of being a racist in 2008 for pointing out -- to someone who had claimed that every State that had voted for McCain had done so because of racism -- that most of those states hadn't voted for Gore or Kerry either. The irony was I had voted for Obama.

--
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