Save the Pearls Readthrough (The Background)
For background, Save the Pearls would have been just another mediocre vanity-published book of no consequence whatsoever had the author, Victoria Foyt, not succeeded in attracting the attention of Marvin Kaye, editor of esteemed fantasy magazine Weird Tales. He published a highly smug and self-satisfied editorial about how the book was awesome and anyone who thought it was racist was clearly wrong. There was a huge backlash, culminating in the disgusted resignation of WT editor Ann Vandermeer, who had previously been ousted from her senior position by Kaye after he bought the magazine so he could edit it himself.
The racism–and the superior attitude about it–of Kaye’s editorial are, while unacceptable, at least unsurprising from someone with his track record of being unable to identify bigotry. What I and others found more striking was the book’s sheer badness. The writing is appalling, the plot is incoherent, the characters are stereotypes, and the world building is nonsense. To top it off, it’s both sci-fi and a novel, completely inappropriate for a magazine that focuses on horror and fantasy short stories. Racism aside, it should never have passed scrutiny on any level. What was Kaye thinking?
Since, despite promises, Kaye has never actually made a statement about his mistake, we’ll never know. But if senior editors of prominent publications are still this racially tone-deaf, then it’s time for a little brutal honesty. Coming up next: The opening comments.