Earlier today, I made the unpleasant decision to withdraw one of my stories from Weird Tales, due in part to their recent announcement (Link since removed, full text beneath). You can read a much better summation of the situation here, and here. Below is the email I sent. It’s nothing new, I’m just adding my voice to the others.
Update: John Harlacher of Weird Tales has responded to the issue, and I’m quite heartened by his candor. I still won’t be submitting anytime in the future as long as Marvin Kaye is involved.
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that I am withdrawing this submission for consideration. I saved this story for you, one of my most personal works, and one I have a great deal of pride in, because the Weird Tales name held such a complex and intoxicating charm.
I dreamt of having my first sale be to the magazine that introduced the world to HP Lovecraft, RE Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and others. Even though the magazine’s future has been in doubt in the last year, due to a strange change of ownership, and the unfathomable dismissal of Ann VanderMeer and her staff, I still saved my very best for consideration in your pages.
I watched with a creeping dread as your submission window closed and you contacted no one for months on end. Indeed Duotrope’s recent responses show you are now just responding to submissions from nearly a year and a half ago. But I resigned myself to wait, a year and a half if I must, keeping my very best out of possible submission to markets that could have responded to me within a week, and despite the fact that your pay rate is below the professional limit needed for SFWA and HWA membership.
I’m afraid it probably took little to topple my eroded confidence. But today’s announcement that you would be championing and posting a sample from the critically-panned and racist novel “Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden”, and the condescending justification of this choice, was the final straw.
Yes, I’ve read a sample of the book. Beyond the fact that the title is literally “Save the Whites”, I feel confident to judge that I want nothing to do with a publication that champions this sort of blithe unexamined racism. At best, you are attempting to generate a controversy for the sake of sales, at worst, your sociopolitical and artistic filters are fatally flawed. I do not wish to be associated with either.
I will not be submitting work to your magazine until such a time as someone else takes the helm, or you find a way to make right what you have sullied. And frankly, I cannot imagine a way it which you might do that.
The original Weird Tales post has been removed, but here’s a cached version of the endorsement.
A Thoroughly Non-racist Book, by Marvin Kaye
I have been an anthologist and magazine editor for most of my life, and as of last year became copublisher and editor of Weird Tales, America’s oldest fantasy magazine. In the upcoming issue, we are publishing the first chapter of Victoria Foyt’s SF novel, Saving the Pearls: Revealing Eden (the subtitle after the colon is an indication that the story will continue in a subsequent novel).
Weird Tales seldom prints SF, but 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.
It is the same literary technique employed in the off-Broadway musical a few years back, Zanna, Don’t!, set in a world where homosexuality is the norm, and a pair of heterosexual lovers are therefore socially condemned.
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.
I have noted the counterarguments that some Amazon readers have launched against the book and its author, and while I strongly disagree, this is America and they have the right to express their opinion(s).
But I also have been told that they have not stopped there, but also have attacked Amazon readers who describe the book in positive terms. I do not know if this is true, but if it is, it is mean-spirited, espcially if they have not read the entire book before condemning it, a charge that has also been leveled against some of them. Again, I do not know if this is true, or an exaggeration, but if these actions have, in fact, been performed, than I wish those who have done so a blessing and a curse.
The blessing is to wish they acquire sufficient wit, wisdom and depth of literary analysis to understand what they read, and also the compassion not to attack others merely because they hold a different opinion.
The curse is an integral part of the blessing…for if they do acquire those virtues, they will then necessarily look at their own behaviour, and be thoroughly ashamed.