down with “Coals”; save the whites! Victoria Foyt’s REVEALING EDEN pt 1

Standard

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.

It’s not every day I get to review a book whose series title is literally “Save the Whites.”

It’s also not quite every day that I encounter a YA dystopia whose basic premise comes down to “white girls must ‘mate’ with black men by eighteen or they’ll be executed.” Victoria Foyt, incidentally, believes herself to be an enlightened human being who wants everyone to live in a “color-free” world. Oh, if you’re wondering why the girl on the front cover is one half Aryan and the other half black (literally), be puzzled no more: she’s wearing blackface. Yes, that’s a promotional video. I understand there are forty-nine of those on youtube.

When I first read one of those blog entries my initial thought was, “Well, that’s kind of crypto-racist, isn’t it?” On further reading though, it turns out this is just plain ol’ racism with nothing crypto about it. Revealing Eden, you see, is a white supremacist fantasy written by a white person who has the vapors when she contemplates what’d happen if things went upside down and POC get the chance to treat whiteys the way whiteys have been treating everyone else since times immemorial.

The answer, for Foyt anyway, is “Black people will rise up and oppress the shit out of everyone, including other POC, but mostly white people.” (Is this called “Black Peril”?) In interviews and blog posts, Foyt calls the black love interest in her book “beastly” or “bestial” about ten thousand times. He turns into a jaguar-man with hairy arms. The cat eyes against the jungle background on the cover are meant to represent him. Is anyone getting uncomfortable here?

I’d joke about Foyt’s KKK club card, but she considers herself liberal. If there was a dictionary entry for “fauxgressive,” then a link to her blog ought to be it. Foyt, incidentally, self-published this dreck but she’s otherwise a “real author” in the sense that her other work was published by HarperCollins. Inverarity has covered some of it, but I’ve read further–some 100 pages out of 250–so it, I guess, falls to me to venture beyond the first chapter. Fucking fuck.

Had Peach forgotten that Eden’s skin only had a dark coating? Maybe she was passing, after all.

Oh me oh my. I don’t think Foyt’s insight into whitening creams and straightening hair is as deep as she thinks. I’ll pause here and note that Foyt decided to name a “plump” black woman “Peach.”

In that quiet, treasured space, she allowed herself one small but true thought: I hate them.
And yet, if only Eden were one of them, she’d be beautiful and safe.

The “them” that she hates is black people. Remember that the character is a blonde blue-eyed girl and the author is white.

A familiar rush of pleasure, mixed with fear, coursed through her at the sight of the white girl. Images of Pearls in natural coloring were forbidden. If they caught Eden looking, she would be punished.
And yet, she couldn’t resist watching the pale, slim girl bounce a multi-colored ball over to a young man who was also white-skinned. She wore a polka-dot bikini—all that skin exposed! Nearby, other whites lounged on thick towels or cabana chairs, or played cards at tables out in broad daylight!

She’s… literally celebrating a picture of white people. Because it depicts whites. Recall that the series’ title is “Save the Whites.” Now here I’m going to ask: why do these images even survive? For what reason are they kept, if they’re illegal? Why are they accessible to a “lowly” white? Why doesn’t Victoria Foyt have a brain?

Ms. Polka-Dot Bikini was Eden’s kind, right down to her long blond hair and big blue eyes. And yet, according to the antique Beauty Map, she had been prized for her beauty—which meant, if Eden had been born in an earlier time, she too might have been beautiful.
Me? Eden Newman, beautiful? No matter how often she studied the precious map she couldn’t imagine it. She was a lowly Pearl, worth nothing in a world ruled by dark-skinned Coals.

And, again, why is there a “Beauty Map” to chronicle beauty standards throughout the ages? Did the white imperialists make one and hand them to the POC they colonized? Just a hunch: they didn’t. And, again, this obsession with people’s “kind.” This particular passage becomes very specific–blonde and blue-eyed is Eden’s kind. Basically, her “kind” is the Aryan ideal. This is a world where white girls who don’t mate by eighteen (preferably to blacks) are thrown out to cook in “the Heat.”

There’s also the contrast which gets reiterated throughout the text between the slurs “Pearl” and “Coal.” Why would the ruling class give devolved whites a semi-precious gem for a slur? Why does the ruling class in turn get called “Coals”?

That bitch Ashina was now fifteen minutes late and Eden wanted to take her break. She glanced around the lab, hoping for a sign of the haughty Coal.

Eden calls a black woman “bitch” a lot. More about that when I get around to a close textual analysis.

Because of his high intelligence scores, they had overlooked his race and given him the position of lead scientist at Resources for Environmental Adaptation, or REA. [...] With smug satisfaction, she considered the dozens of assistants—gorgeous dark-skinned Coals, every last one of them—who labored in a warren of workstations below the operating theater.

Does this make sense to anyone? Whites are the lowest of the low in this setting. Yet magically her white father’s given a leading position where he supervises a bunch of black scientists. There’s also the implication that a white man stands out as a singular genius so amazing that no black researcher may compare, because otherwise there’s no way in shit he’d have gotten the position. So the smartest person around in this setting? A white man.

She smoothed a hand over her long black hair to reassure herself. Like her skin, the layers of dark coating—Midnight Luster—she’d worn since birth had turned it dry and crackly. A small price to pay for beauty and for protection. She had to cover her white skin or risk antagonizing the Coals.

Annnnd blackface. This is just fucking tiresome, and not really how it works IRL for POC trying to conform to a white supremacist beauty standards. There’s just no subtlety to this, no understanding.

a glance at her nemesis, envious of the beauty’s easy confidence. Voluptuous, with raisin-colored skin, everything about Ashina screamed ruling class.

We’ve got the protagonist, a virginal blonde blue-eyed girl on one hand, pitted against her “nemesis”: a voluptuous, sexually confident black woman whom said Aryan protagonist repeatedly calls “bitch.” Anyone getting uncomfortable? And what the fuck is “raisin-colored skin”? How does that work? Does Foyt think black people are purple? Has she never seen one and just decided they look like this?

How many times had Eden heard it? White people were lazy good-for-nothings with weak genetics.

Uh, but in this setting they are genetically predisposed to weakness since they can’t survive against “the Heat” (never mind that the science of that is shot all to hell), so… what? It’s an objective truth. Whereas, you know, a similar racist statement about black people in our world is not. Unless Foyt thinks it is and therefore analogous.

Eden flinched. One of them was touching her. White-hot light exploded in her head. Before she knew it, she blurted out an incendiary racial slur.
“Get your hands off of me, you damn Coal!”

Wait, what? In this world black people are the epitome of beauty, desirability, and all-around wonderfulness. But instead Eden reacts like a white person living in an apartehid–the moment one of them touches her she freaks the fuck out and screams a racist insult at them, she’s just that disgusted by blackness. Shit like this is why Foyt’s idiotic “BUT I AM CHALLENGING RACISM” has zero credence.

The workers jerked to their feet, the screech of chairs against the floor raking across Eden’s heart. She looked around the room in a panic. Even those whom she thought tolerated her presence hurled racial epithets.
“Earth-damned Pearl!”
“White Death!”
The angry mob lurched towards Eden, just like in her nightmares. The Coals were going to kill her. They would drag her outside and leave her to cook in the sun.

So, we’ve got a scene where a bunch of black people attempt to lynch a white girl, a scene in which moreover is a nightmare come true for her suggesting that she’s been fixating on this a lot. Note, again, that their idea of a slur against white is “Pearls” when it could’ve been any number of actual derogatory words–even “honky” and “whitey” have more power than fucking “Pearls,” which is–you know–a SEMI-PRECIOUS STONE. Your bias is showing, Victoria Foyt. Stop lying; go apply for a KKK club card.

She searched for the right words when Ashina strode up beside her.
“She attacked me, sir,” the bitch said, acting the injured party.
To Eden’s surprise, Bramford questioned the little actress. “Is that so, Ashina?”
A Coal’s word outweighed a Pearl’s. Always. And yet Bramford hesitated.

There we go again with “bitch.” We then learn that, for some reason, girls have to “mate”–that obsession with the word–by eighteen, men by twenty-four. This makes no sense, particularly in light of the world-building sketchiness about how resources are scarce (“oxy pills”, water, etc). Why does the “Uni-Gov” urge people to reproduce? Why are whites even allowed to reproduce? Shouldn’t they have become extinct ages ago? The real reason obviously is that Foyt genuinely cannot imagine a future in which blonde blue-eyed whites are completely gone, since she’s a giant racist, but by internal consistency this is such shit logic.

“Shen,” Bramford called his bodyguard, a mixed Asian, or Amber, as the racist term went.
[...] Only true Coals were allowed to hold security positions. Of course, Bramford could use his clout to bypass such rules. Still, why not pick a Tiger’s Eye, or Latino? They ranked higher in the race wars than Ambers, who stood above Pearls. Was it the touch of Coal in Shen that gave him an edge?

Why is there a “race war”? Why does everyone but black people have a “racist term” attached to them that’s a semi-precious stone? Come to that, how come there are still purebred whites running around–let alone ones with recessive traits like blonde hair and blue eyes?

Eden thought Jamal was special. Unlike most of his kind, he was color-blind.

See this is funny because people who say they are “color-blind” tend to be fauxgressive crypto-racist whites. Jamal turns out to be a high-ranking member of “the dreaded Federation of Free People, a militant organization of Coals that vowed to rid the planet of Pearls.” OHOHO.

The hair on the back of Eden’s neck prickled. Did the nosey bitch suspect her hidden connection to Jamal? Coals often killed Pearls who seduced their kind.

There we go again with–never mind, I give up.

“I see your mate-rate is below average,” she said. “And yet, a few of your kind have offered to pick up your option. Tell me, Eden Newman, why have you refused them?”
[...] Was it the low level of oxy in Eden’s system or her lingering anger over Bramford’s lies that drove her to speak her mind for once in her life?
“Because I don’t want my child to be all Pearl. I’d rather be dead than mate with one of my kind.”

If Eden’s internalized this, then the sentiment she expresses must be fairly common–which, again, prompts one to ask: just how is it possible that purebred whites like Eden are still around? Does there exist some sort of underground movement to keep the Aryan ideal alive?

A Pink Pearl, she was fairer than Eden, and therefore even more susceptible to The Heat. But she’d been lax about coating. Minor rebellions keep the heart alive, she would say.
—Austin is colorblind, Eden. He responds to love and kindness. Remember what Aunt Emily said? ‘That Love is all there is, / Is all we know of Love.’ Promise me you won’t forget. Love is like a gentle wind that will open your heart if you let it.

How have “Pink Pearls” survived, if apparently their red-haired whiteness is even more susceptible to death than the blonde-haired blue-eyed type? How many fucking times “colorblind” will come up in this book (and they’re talking about a dog here, so double the laughter)?

He often skipped meals, which, along with his genetics, made him rail thin. If Eden weren’t careful she’d be just as skinny, and even less desirable.

So, this is Foyt’s ham-fisted, abortive attempt at engaging with today’s beauty ideals–in Eden’s future, the “voluptuous” black woman is the ideal, the one that “screams ruling class.” Except that’s the dystopian part of this awful, terrible dystopia where the uppity black folks have risen up to oppress the whites: like the deal with Eden being oppressed, this is presented as a harrowing condition. The nostalgia Eden expresses towards the holograms of white girls suggests that that is how the world should return to being, by implication if not explicit statement. There’s no attempt to engage with that beyond “the way it is now, for me, is bad and makes it so hard to be a thin blonde blue-eyed girl.” There’s no acknowledgment that in our real world, right now, it’s pretty fucking hard to be a “voluptuous” black woman. There’s no effort at empathy, despite the fact that Eden has access to the “beauty map” that chronicles beauty standards throughout the ages.

Victoria Foyt, your colors are showing through that “midnight luster,” if you know what I mean, and it’s oh so white.

Now, the good stuff, she thought, dialing in a fresh coating of Midnight Luster. Her spirits lifted as her skin and hair darkened to a lustrous shade of black. Water would cause the coating to streak, which was easy enough to avoid in her dry, tunneled world. And in a few days the coat would turn dull and gray—a dead giveaway she was a Pearl.
But for now, she looked beautiful.

[...]

Applying her makeup, Eden expertly shaded her face to appear Coal-like. She refreshed the brown caps in her eyes with darkening drops. Red lipstick, smoothed over the lines to make her lips seem fuller, was the last touch. She let her long black hair dip over one eye and smiled.
“Definitely passing, right?”

So we’ve got a world with limited resources, based underground. How is this stuff being manufactured? How can a “lowly Pearl” like Eden get access to it–shouldn’t it be expensive and viciously sought after by whites? And isn’t this terrible and devoid of nuances? Imagine how much better it’d have been handled if a writer of color wrote it. “Definitely passing, right?” No, Foyt, you aren’t passing for shit except as a giant racist dingbat.

I get it. You don’t think I like your blue eyes, right? You’re wrong about that. Maybe some day you’ll let me see the real you, Eden Newman.

It is so hard to have the bluest eye. I’d like to think Foyt is aware that Toni Morrison’s book exists, but it’s hard to imagine her being aware of anything but how enlightened, progressive and “color-blind” she is.

Never mind, she simply had to reach the regional plaza where her Dark Prince waited.

If dark is the norm–the ruling norm even–why does she call him her “Dark Prince” instead of just her prince? Nobody calls Prince Charming in fairytales “the Aryan Prince.”

Luckily, she found a few inches of space to hold onto the overhead bar in the back section reserved for Pearls.

Oh hoo boy. “See,” Victoria Foyt seems to crow, “I understand racism! Eden Newman is my blonde-haired blue-eyed Rosa Parks! Do you understand racism now? DO YOU????”

She felt a malevolent current coursing through the riders on the transport. Not only from Coal to Pearl, or from Tiger’s Eye to Amber, but within each racial group. The Uni-Gov got it wrong. The monthly Moon Dance usually left a wake of mayhem throughout each zone.

Jesus, is this what she thinks present-day racial relations function? Save us from her writing lengthy essays on horizontal oppression.

Possibly, man’s only hope lay at Eden’s very own doorstep. She recalled the thrill of piecing together the puzzle of her father’s experiment. Each researcher had been given one small part of the process to prevent the very discovery she had made. Eden, being the best interpreter of her father’s notes, had filled in once too often for ill coworkers and the result was inevitable.

Remember, “man’s only hope” is something a white man is cooking up and the best high priestess to interpret this work is his daughter, a white girl. Because everyone else is too dim to appreciate his genius (and indeed no POC is ever as smart as he, white man).

The primary genetic donor was the ultimate jungle predator, a jaguar, Panthera onca. Even better, a melanistic cat with a black coat had been found. Its coloring would not only increase resistance to solar radiation, but also minimize the appearance of camouflage spots, for vanity’s sake. The jaguar’s only natural enemy, the green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, contributed its cold-blooded resistance to heat. The third donor in this potent cocktail was the Harpy Eagle, Harpia
harpyja, the most powerful raptor in the world. It could spot a bug from a hundred yards in the air, and its keen vision had been added to the mix.
Land, water, and air—a brilliant killing machine.
If her father’s work succeeded, a Pearl might be able to withstand solar radiation as well as, or even better than, a Coal. Maybe then Pearls would no longer be treated like garbage. And maybe—did Eden dare think it—even she might be beautiful.

That’s not how it works, you fucking dolt. Today whites are already the numerical minority, and whites are more susceptible to some sickness than others. Guess what though? They still haven’t become the underclass. As has been pointed elsewhere, when “the Meltdown” happened the people with the best access to protection/medical care… would have been white westerners. This scenario assumes power predicates on physical fitness, when that’s never been the case among humans. Next, what the fuck is this? The white man’s genius plan is to mix a bunch of random animal DNA with a human’s to create a super-being, which will somehow save them from being killed by… radiation?

How does that even fucking work? Are these particular animals able to survive in radiation? What the fuck is this shit?

Little Pearly whirly,
lost inside the mines;
tossed from Coal to Coal,
in fear, she whines,
“I’m sorry, Mother,
he said he only wanted
to see my white skin shine.”

We’ve gone from the previous scene where a bunch of black scientists tried to lynch a white girl to a poem about how a bunch of black miners are sexually assaulting a white girl. VICTORIA FOYT, PRESENT YOUR KKK CLUB CARD THIS INSTANT.

Giant smiled, his eyes roving over her body. He leaned over her, and Eden felt sick as his wet mouth landed on her neck. He pulled back, smiling again when a crazed look came into his eyes. She knew that look all too well; every Pearl dreaded it. Her hand flew to the spot on her neck where the seam in her dark coating had cracked open. Mother Earth, her white skin showed.

And now, we have a huge black man–”Giant”!–who literally sexually assaults the Aryan girl. Remember what Foyt said about being “color blind”?

From the corner of her eye she saw the hopeful beauties shift impatiently. [...]
“Thank you for your help, sir,” Eden said, trying to pull away. “You can go now.”
Bramford seemed amused and held her tight. “Are you dismissing me?”
Why did he always make her feel so small?
“I said thanks.”
“You don’t want to dance with me? Is that it?”
She felt tongue-tied with his warm body next to hers. “Those women are waiting for you,” she managed to say.
“Let them wait. Unless you’d rather we stopped?”

So far, every woman in this book except Eden is a “bitch” (Ashina), slow (Peach) or desperate to ensnare a rich man. To be fair, Eden is also desperate to get a black man to “mate” with her–but note how every other woman is presented as vapid, vicious, slutty, or in some way inferior unlike the wonderful, genuine Eden who’s driven to desire “mating” with black men only due to her awful circumstances.

Even here, Bramford had stamped the upholstery with his ego-driven logo. How had he obtained the leather, anyway, when the world treated its scant remaining livestock like gods?

Yeah, how? And we’re back to that point about scarcity. Why are the whites, if they’re so despised, given anything? Remember how in the real world black people were enslaved, raped, and treated as subhuman–and that’s when they were considered free labor? In this world whites literally have no goddamn use and only take up valuable space, oxygen and water. By all rights they should’ve already been wiped out or disallowed to breed. “The image of her dying mother, desperate for a drink of water, burned in her mind,” quoth Eden. Why is any white at all ever given any water whatsoever?

Eden watched as a mob tied the screaming albino to a funeral pyre. It was the only time she’d seen Coals and Pearls united in action. The Cotton’s white skin and hair stood out among his attackers; his pinkish eyes pleaded for help. Strange how she didn’t feel deep hatred for the albino, as she had been taught in school. She might even feel sorry for the poor boy.

Do you see, it is so hard to be pale. The paler, the harder. And… cotton? Shouldn’t a world in which resources are scarce values cotton? Why would you use that as a fucking slur?

The book’s been given a good thrashing on the Racebending tumblr. One Mark has also subjected himself to a reading. Victoria Foyt has desperately tried to fend off all charges of racism on Facebook, though without much success since the comments are 90% people telling her to fuck off to the far end of a cliff. She’s now said that judging a book by its cover is exactly like racism. Stay tuned for part two, whenever I can be arsed to pick up this vapid tripe.

57 thoughts on “down with “Coals”; save the whites! Victoria Foyt’s REVEALING EDEN pt 1

  1. Yeah, I’ve been keep tracking of this and it is horrible. I’m almost positive that, by this point, she’d a) have been sexually used horrifically as all WOC are in these kinds of realities b) not be allowed to learn since ignorance is the tool against what would be considered “sub-human” c) possibly be used as labor d) never, in a million years, *dare* to talk back if “Coals” were that “oppressive”.

    Also, every part of the illness and genetics and science is the worst. These people would manage their populations and would strictly control birthing. And really, why is the world gone to hell and managed poorly in the stewardship of POC. And everyone should fear the light! They live underground in what I can only imagine is artificial lighting all the time. No one can deal with the light.

    What I can’t get over though, is the fact that we apparently a technological leap when POCs were in control and yet that isn’t mentioned. Or made a point of in the book. And why would “Pearls” get technology? And why isn’t this world censored to hell and back if certain images were forbidden or if “Coals” were oppressors of all?

    Everything is the worst about this.

  2. Oh my fucking god. There’s a large black man whose name is “Giant”? Ugh, yeah the fact that Foyt purposely chose to include a scene of a black man attempting to rape the white, virginal protagonist in a book where the racial roles have been supposedly reversed, bothers the shit out of me, but what really pissed me off was the connection between her naming him “Giant” and this right here:

    http://undercoverblackman.blogspot.com/2007/07/attack-of-giant-negroes.html

    I smell an undercover white nationalist troll trying to shit in the already-shitty waters of young adult fantasy. Pure troglodytic, David Duke-worshiping, henchwoman scum. Seriously, how does someone write a book that supposedly unintentionally exemplifies so many racial tropes and razes a site called “savethepearls” that utilizes black face for some shitty world-building trick? I mean, do Foyt and all three of her apologists not realize that no matter how consistent that seemingly cool fantasy idea you have is, and how well it’s implemented in your work, that if it is a flagrant symbol of some sort of prejudice in the real world, your work to blend it into the book means absolutely NOTHING? lol, Not to imply that her handled with any sort of finesse that would indicate actual authorial skill on her part. You cannot simply say “Well, here, blackface is good; it’s not racist like in our world because, here, it’s a symbol of black superiority!!” and expect us to no longer see her writing as a thin veneer that barely hides her own unconscious racism.

    People who subscribe to that argument are totally abusing the idea of suspension-of-disbelief and act as if readers should disregard the inescapable context of real world history that surrounds pretty much everything whenever they read fantasy or science fiction simply because they take place in different worlds.

    Back to my accusations of her being a trollrat. My friend frequents the /pol/ (“politically incorrect”) board on 4chan and if you for some fortunate reason know nothing about it, then just keep in mind that is a tl;dr version of the Stormfront boards (complete with all of the zionist conspiracy threads and all). Well actually, both of us visit pol. I guess we are at the mercy of some masochistic drive or something…or have some ridiculous hope that everyone there is a bored troll satirizing the shit out of White Nationalists. But he was the one who brought it to my attention, after I sent him a link to this book, that there had been threads speaking highly of a book called Revealing Eden. I laughed at first, but then remembered some of the discussions about fantasy that some of the denizens of Stormfront have. Obviously, they support racist or ostensibly racist SFF; and it’s not like there’s a paucity of fantasy books and authors who give them a broad field to chose from.

    It reminded me that books like these are not that subtle in their facilitation of racism. Not to mention Foyt’s risible claims about the future of white people (oh noez in the future black people gona outnumber us and punish us for what we did to them1!!) are also not views that are only espoused by her. They become less funny when you realize that Foyt could actually have a hand in spreading this ignorance, which would be much easier in the YA market…Have you seen all of the reviews before the grand explosion of the shitstorm that are virtually blind to all of the problematic racial issues in this book?

    Victoria Foyt has either been a resident of an area as white and isolated from black people as Antarctica (a viable contributor to her hypothetical ignorance about anything racial) or she is a thinly veiled white nationalist troll. Seems hard to tell, even when you keep in mind how she is trying her damndest to find a way to justify her lack of an apology to her enraged audience.

  3. If someone intentionally set out to write the most terrible book possible about bizarro-world race relations, it would still be miles ahead of this shit. It’s a tiny bit of comfort that apparently no publisher wanted to touch this thing.

    The notice on the author’s wikipedia page made me laugh.

  4. Excellent analysis so far and I know it is such a misogynistic, racist, repulsive pile of garbage to slog through. Keep up the shredding as you can!

  5. As far as trainwrecks go, this is fricking hilarious – at this point, I’m just waiting for Victoria Foyt to pull a Kramer and go on a rant about (insert slur for non-Aryans here). At least no publisher paid money for this racist shit.

    Though when I first heard / read about the premise, I had a flashback to Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series. That’s also a YA Dystopia, but has the advantage of being written by a black woman who a) has lived with racism and b) understands how insidious and institutionally oppressive racism actually is. I thought it was amazing and nuanced, but then again it was ten years ago so I can’t vouch for how well it holds up now.

  6. I uh. Well, you’ve seen enough of my postings to know how I am. I’ll forgive a lot of crap for decent writing, story, and science. Hell, I’ll read John Kratman’s early books as time-wasting pulp even though I loathe his politics. I can at least say, “Interesting premise, but the Russians tried it and it didn’t work worth a damn.”

    This book has nothing redeeming and I can’t even begin to describe the level of facepalm involved with her attempt to label herself as progressive. Please mark this on the calendar as the first time I’ve 100% agreed with one of your posts.

    Save the Pearls sounds like a Bacigalupized version of Heinlein’s “Farnham’s Freehold”. Read that one if you ever want to blow your top about racism and feminism at the same time. It’s worse than anything else he’s ever written by a long shot.

    I hope her career never recovers from this crap.

  7. You know, I’d be really interested to see you contrast this with Noughts and Crosses, another YA novel series with a similar premise. The difference is that they’re written by a black woman, and they aren’t anywhere near as bugfuck insane (as i recall, anyway – it’s been years since I checked ‘em out).

    They’re also some of the angriest books I’ve ever read, and I mean that in a good way.

  8. Uggghhhh I want to stab people the use the term “color blind” to refer to not seeing race. It’s a fucking MEDICAL TERM for people who can see certain spectums of colors. It’s abelist appropriation. I mean as pointed out it’s hilarious when the dog, which is color blind, is said to be color blind… >_< *stabby!*

  9. I’ve seen a few of these kinds of “let’s reverse the discrimination and be all deep and stuff” stories over the years (a flash game came out a while back that did it with homosexuality) and I always wonder what’s going through the author’s head. I think the motivation is to teach people about discrimination by putting them into the shoes of the oppressed group, but it comes across more like they want to write about this stuff but just can’t bring themselves to write a protagonist who isn’t white/straight.

    That’s the more generous interpretation. In this case the story so perfectly hits every single racist fantasy check point- whites are an endangered species, the scary brown people will kill us all when society collapses, black men are sexually aggresive- that it really seems like a white power book in (a very thin) disguise. The only way it could be more ideal Stormfront wank fodder is if there was a secret Jewish conspiracy running the whole thing. Even the way Asian people are ranked just above white people is a reverse of the way some racist groups order their weird little human evolutionary ladders. That can’t be a coincidence.

    As to the books science, if solar radiation was so bad everyone had to live underground having more melanin really wouldn’t help much. It would be like trying to stop a nuclear explosion with a sheet of tin foil instead of a piece of tissue paper

    • Some books should never see the light of day. Some *concepts* should never see the light of day. This is one of them.

      @ronanwills – CJ Cherryh pulls it off in her ‘Pride of Chanur’ series – writing about men who can’t control their agression (and everybody knows that, and thus keeps them out of the way) as well as writing about puny, thin-skinned, weak humans.

      Foyt is no Cherryh. Not even close. I feel sorry for her not having any friends who could have taken her aside to say ‘actually, this sounds like a really bad idea.’

      • Cherryh makes a huge point that the aliens in her books are Not Human. Viewing them as Human despite sharing similar traits with Humans is a Bad Idea and causes disaster (Foreigner series). The Hani are a feline race similar to lions. A big point in the books is that even this stereotype of males being mindlessly violent is wrong, because Pyanfar’s husband (a crew member) ambles through the station harmlessly. The Kif start a fight and use the stereotype to score political points against Pyanfar. Raises the question of if the violence is societal or real, Nature vs nurture.

        Also, compared to the Compact races, a single human is going to be pretty puny after he’s been tortured, killed a friend out of compassion, and watched his wife murdered. Despite all this, the single guy manages to with-hold information from the “bad” guys, promptly give it to the individuals who treat him with dignity, and do his damnedest to become a helpful member of the crew.

        Cherryh’s also highly critical of everyone, irregardless of race/gender/sexual orientation if you read Cyteen. It’s broken down into being all about power and using whatever tools are available to get the power. So yeah, please don’t even mention Cherryh in the same post as Hoyt, especially if you’re getting her explicitly stated base messages wrong.

        • Which part of ‘pulls it off’ did you overlook? If I hadn’t read Cherryh, I would have been sceptical that the kind of reversal @ronanwills describes could be pulled off (and I’m pretty certain there are other writers who _can_ manage it, I’m just not familiar enough with their work).

          And for me as a reader the reversal made me think about the issues a lot more than merely pointing out how stupid the assumptions were or that they were untrue, so I *do* think there’s a place for them.

          A book in which super-intelligent people get to boss black people about is not even coming close.

    • I think what ends up happening is that people have a hard time separating themselves from what they’re writing. Most of these “let’s be deep and flip things around” books are a train wreck. Hell, I like Kim Stanley Robinson and I’m terrified of reading “The Years of Rice and Salt.” Writing a book with a primary character based on your own culture is hard enough. Writing a book where the protagonist is an entirely different and actually existing culture is impossible to do without the author impressing his/her own cultural values onto the character. Liz Williams, Paolo Bacigalupi, John C. Burdett (Moon knows who this is, I threw him in just to get her ranty), and almost anyone who thinks they “get” another culture enough to write as someone in it fall into this fail group.

      Hell, I love Aliette de Bodard’s novels, the detail, the characters, the way everything is researched out, they remind me of updated, fleshed out Ellis Peter’s “Brother Cadfael” novels or Judge Dee stories in a fantastical Mezo-American setting. This is a good thing, because if I found the prose boring I’d say Umberto Eco ;) More importantly, she does everything the authors listed above failed to do: detailed research based upon actual facts not “I backpacked through Thailand for a month so understand them enough to write as one of them.”

      However, at some point, she made the decision to impress partial modern European values on a dead society she had no direct experience with. Can I point out where? Nope! If I can’t point it out, how do I know it happened? She’s a modern European person who can write enjoyable fiction with characters readers can identify with so there’s bound to be cultural contamination in there somewhere. End of story.

      This isn’t a criticism of her books, her values, integrity as an author, or anything. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy her work, respect her as an author, and a historian for the amount of research she did while managing to humanize a society that has been de-humanized by Western culture since first contact. Best of all, she did it in an easily digestible form. To restate, I am not criticizing the best new author I’ve read in quite a while! I don’t think that “cultural contamination” affected the book in any way, either. She’s an example of how to do this sort of cross cultural writing the correct way.

      My point with this is just that it’s hard to break away from who you are at a level as intimate as writing. Novelists have to impart a portion of themselves into the work to give it some sort of soul. If they didn’t, we’d all be reading works resembling scientific journals, and even those boring articles contain humor specific to their field at times.

      “Write what you know”. Even people who write about their own cultures have a hard time being impartial to their culture and tend to focus on either the negatives or the positives, depending on the message they want to get across or their experiences. Tolstoy is a prime example of this, does a good job of expressing the duality of Imperial Russian culture, but had a definite slant in his works.

      Don’t get it twisted around and think I’m defending Hoyt, because I’m not. I’m agreeing with the fact that deep down she’s horribly racist, in denial about her racism, and far from the sharpest tool in the shed if she felt that this book would be accepted by anyone. She’s had to put part of herself into a book that is a ridiculous caricature of racial interaction, tolerance, and any understanding that people of one race can find people of another race physically attractive. Worst of all and entirely unforgivable, she’s made a complete mockery of science fiction’s ability to broaden mental horizons by questioning if all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

      • (ah, crossing comments. How I love thee.)

        I think what ends up happening is that people have a hard time separating themselves from what they’re writing.

        Well, if chemists can never be entirely objective, writers certainly won’t be. But it’s a continuum – it’s difficult to write about how body parts you don’t posess feel, and we all have different experiences, never mind growing up with magic or futuristic technologies. So all writers, unless they want to fail, need to posess this skill to some degree, or you get the Mary Sue self-insertion where white, middle-class people do white, middle-class things.

        Getting into a differet mindset is hard work. Writers who treat other cultures – or history – as a themepark infuriate me. If they can’t be bothered to research the stuff that’s easily available, I won’t trust them on more complex issues. (I also think that writers need to run their concepts past themselves, particularly when touching other cultures and difficult issues: if, say, ‘what am I saying here’ can be answered by ‘white person goes and saves everybody’ then maybe the writer should question their idea a while longer.

  10. I checked out Foyt’s website a few days ago. I watched several of the blackface skits. I wasn’t immediately offended. I was willing, I suppose, to give this girl the benefit of the doubt. I thought that perhaps she’d had good intentions but that said intentions were poorly and thoughtlessly executed…I know. Silly of me. But I was trying to be generous here. The thing is, racism is such a loaded term and I don’t want to get attempts to shrug off political correctness and willingness to have open honest discussions about race mixed-up with actual racism. I suppose that at heart, i am an idealist and optimist.
    That said, I’ve been careful. Unwilling to spend actual money in support of something potentially racist, I only downloaded a sample. I haven’t read it yet though. I wanted to try to give it a fair hearing (reading) in the hopes of making up my own mind.
    So, I thank you for the brutally honest review and especially for posting excerpts from the book for all to see.
    Now, I’m wondering if I should even read the sample I downloaded. I still want to “see for myself” but at the same time I don’t want to be pissed off either. That’s me wanting my cake and also wanting to eat it too.
    I know all about the subtlety of crypt-racists. As a PoC and a Muslim, I’m honed into that type of bigotry far more than I’d like to be but I desperately want to believe that racism of the big, bad, obvious, in your face, type no longer exists. I know, I know, keep dreaming, right?
    I guess I just can’t understand how anyone could be so daft as to believe they could publish such asinine feculence and believe for a second they won’t catch hell because of it. So that has me wondering if she’s an “I’m racist and I know it,” kind of person, or if she’s so stupid she doesn’t even know how deep her racism goes. Not that it matters. Either way, this is a crappy thing to write.
    I guess you can tell by my attempt to intellectualize this that I’m still in disbelief.
    I know, I know, I’ll wake up.

  11. Holy cow. I was vaguely aware these books existed, but I had no idea they were quite so blatant. And you didn’t even mention this bit of unconscious naming:

    Before she knew it, she blurted out an incendiary racial slur.
    “Get your hands off of me, you damn Coal!”

    If Coals call themselves Coal, and they’re at the top of society, why is calling them by their own name a racial slur? Whoops, Ms. Foyt, your slip is showing.

  12. According to her bio, Foyt was born into a wealthy white family in Coral Gables, Florida and grew up there. That’s a town that’s part of the Greater Miami metropolitan area and where I went to high school (public school since I wasn’t rich, not private like Ms. Foyt). In any case as a native of the area I can tell you that the racism of rich white Coral Gables families was notorious. I can’t find out when she was born (she’s obviously one of those people who doesn’t allow people to know how old she is) but she’s at least a decade older than me. Still, that’s no excuse — my parents managed to teach me not to be a racist, but the line for white people is so very thin… I can almost see how she crossed it. What I can’t see is how no one told her “Victoria, this is… not going to work.” I don’t get how insulated she still is, even with the Hollywood mindset (she’s some sort of minor actress married to an indie director who was briefly biggish a couple of decades ago and lives in California). I’ve heard that the Hollywood way is to say nice things to everyone no matter what but just not give any support to the ones you want to fail, but damn, someone should have told her something. Then again, she doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would listen: that combination of stupidity, privilege, and giant ego is impervious to any sort of reasoned argument.

  13. Wow, this book is even worse than I thought. I blogged about the related Goodreads-”bullying” debacle, but I didn’t get much chance to get into the book itself, seeing as I don’t have a copy. Nevertheless, it sounds like the Goodreads commenters who got called out as “bullies” for pointing out the racism in this book had it right.

    She’s now said that judging a book by its cover is exactly like racism.

    Because when you look at a book’s cover and go “hm, no thanks,” you are contributing to a systematic oppression and dehumanization of books the world over. Making an educated guess as to a book’s contents based on its cover art totally condones human rights abuses and keeps a handful of individuals in power based on their skin color.

    / all the sarcasm

    Hm. If “judging books by their covers” = “racism,” what is Matchbook – bikini-based oppression?

  14. Why do you even

    Really, it’s just sooo bad, dissecting it is almost like sticking your nose in a pile of shit to confirm that it stinks.

    Even without the racism, the writing is terrible and the science should make a middle schooler laugh. (Did Victoria Foyt even take a science class in middle school?)

    I really am mildly curious about the author’s intentions, though. Because like everyone else has pointed out, this whole book reads like a white supremacist fable. If we are to take Foyt’s words at face value, she is living in one hell of a bubble to have no idea of what she was doing and how it would be received. But I can’t help wondering if she really is pursuing a deliberately racist agenda and thinking she’s being clever. It’s almost like she wanted to imitate Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream while completely missing that it was a satire.

    • Charitably, I think she hoped controversy would sell the book and make her millions. I think if it were a little less…garbage-y…it might have worked in her favor.

      Part of the reason I say this is when she suddenly jumps the shark and says her book moves dialogue past race and religion to the environment…which is bizarre given how much time she spends on black face and the weird gemstones as racial pejoratives.

  15. I have a white friend who once said to me: “Man, I can’t wait until China takes over the world. That way I get to gripe about the same things you guys do.”

    He was joking, but–

    I don’t think Foyt has a deliberately racist agenda. I just think that she maybe thinks she has reason to envy POCs who are able to criticize the white dominated power structure and be considered morally justified, to the extent that she wants to be able to direct the same type of criticism at POC and also be considered justified. We don’t live in that kind of world, so Foyt made up her own.

    • Envy? I can sort of see it, but she’d have been better to make a case (a genuine one not the straw men we seem to be seeing.)

      Interestingly enough, I’ve been chewing this quote someone brought up in regards to the recent X-men storyline of all things:

      “No one deserves to be subjected to the appalling instruments of cruelty. Nevertheless, even at the cost of misanthropy, one cannot afford to pretend that victimhood improves anyone in any way. If we do not remember that anyone can be a victim…we will unwittingly aid the torturers of tomorrow by overrating the victims of today…”
      -Judith Nisse Shkla

      Do you think she’s hamfistedly trying to express this sentiment?

  16. Oh, man. You and anyone else who reads this book deserve an award for slogging through it. I just can’t even, with those excerpts. Her description of that one “amber” reads like a stereotype checklist, to say nothing of the epic fail she’s done with the “coals.” I haven’t read it yet, and probably not likely to, as I hear the writing itself is just terrible on its own.

  17. ACrackedmoon,

    Thank you for subjecting yourself to this dribble, the comedy you made out of it is priceless.

    So much….I can’t find the right word. Its beyond failure. Failure implies that it had a chance of succeeding which it did not, ever.

    Ugh…I’m tired. Is it that easy to get a YA novel published and lauded?

    Okay. I will purposefully write a crappy racist/sexist poorly written YA novel, and watch the millions rake in.
    *snickers over diabolical plan*

  18. Maybe she is trying to, like, make a really incisive critique of white women’s obsession with tanning – you know, with the sun, and applying stuff to make you brown, and things. It’s so profound.

    hurk

    Quite possibly she is also apparently one of those white people who think that Black people are made from teflon, because Black people are apparently all the same colour or something. Yes, having very dark skin means you may rarely – or even never – get a nasty, blistering, peeling sunburn, but it doesn’t mean your skin is completely impervious to sun damage. For example, here’s a very recent story on how people with dark skin are still at a high risk for skin cancer and should use sun protection: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_127601.html

    Furthermore, I would like to just add that blacking up – more specifically, white women blacking up specifically to represent themselves as Black Africans for the sake of entertainment – is as old as balls. Or at the very least, quite possibly as old as 1605. Anne of Denmark, the consert of James I, took part in The Masque of Blackness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Masque_of_Blackness), where she and her court ladies blacked (or blued, depending on the illustrations you view) themselves up in order to be Daughters of Niger, “of which the people were called Nigritæ, now Negroes; and are the blackest nation of the world.” Although Niger himself says that “in their black, the perfect’st beauty grows;” his daughters still want to go to Britain (Albion!) and be made white by James I. Yeah, I dunno.

    I mean, it’s not like any of us think this person is doing anything new and/or coherent, so I’m probably just belabouring the point here, as ever. But little tidbits like that and history in general can be interesting, and I like to take notice of the full weight and heft of it – quite unlike Ms. Foyt.

  19. Haha, oh wow. It’s even worse than I could have imagined. Of all the ‘racefails’ in the recent history of popular literature, this has to be the most spectacular. (All the more so since it seems that Foyt wasn’t trying to be racist, and in fact genuinely believes she’s written the Great Anti-Racist Novel.)

    I don’t really know what more can be said beyond what everyone’s said already; this book is such an all-round disaster that to pick out any particular point for criticism seems unnecessary. But having said that, there are a couple of points there that struck me as particularly revealing.

    So, this setting is meant to be a dystopian inversion of real-life race relations, right? And because the dominant beauty image of the society is of blackness, the white underclass are repelled by each other and long to ‘mate’ with a black person instead. Except in real life, that parallel just does not work. It’s not the case today, and it *certainly* wasn’t the case in the days of slavery, that most black people are desperate to have sex with a white person. (In reality, many mixed-race children had their origin in the opposite situation, of white men forcing themselves on black women.) But it *has* long been a fear and belief of white people that black men are ‘after their daughters’. Foyt’s idea that the racial underclass are all sexually hungry for the overclass suggests that she holds that belief herself (and the unfortunate scenes of black men preying on the white woman basically confirm it).

    Also, I just think it’s remarkable that her bold solution to the racist system depicted in the book is to use genetic engineering to make the ‘inferior race’ stronger. Not to try to change the structure or values of society, which apparently is destined to remain a perpetual zero-sum racial struggle forever. That is, of course, the logic of racists; but it also seems to me a fine example of how science fiction writers often find it easier to imagine bizarre, fantastical technological developments than radical social changes.

    Maybe I’m overthinking those bits, but the basic point remains that this is a hilariously terrible book.

    • Also, I just think it’s remarkable that her bold solution to the racist system depicted in the book is to use genetic engineering to make the ‘inferior race’ stronger. Not to try to change the structure or values of society, which apparently is destined to remain a perpetual zero-sum racial struggle forever.

      That’s a good point, but I would argue that it’s a wider American – and to a degree, ‘Western’ was of thinking. People are suffering from flooding? Build more dams. ‘Don’t build on floodplains’ comes a long way down the list of considered solutions. Everything has to have a clear-cut, single solution, and extra points if it’s big and difficult technology (cold fusion, anyone?) rather than low-tech and dispersed (if everybody would a) use energy-efficient alternatives *which already exist* and b) refrain from using more than they need (switch off lights when you’re not in the room) we wouldn’t have an energy crisis, at least not of the proportions we do. Getting along with other human beings without despising them sounds like more work than the author is willing to expend.

      Also, the following summary in Debbie Reese’s review (which focuses on the portrayal of Indians) made me worry: Since Bramford isn’t human, Eden thinks she can get the Huaorani to kill him. (And that scene is wrapped in So Much Fail anyway), because… wait a moment. Isn’t Bramford the love interest and the guy who hels her and her father escape, and the person who risks their life so Eden’s father can test his theories? (Eden: the latest installment in a long line of protagonists with brilliant fathers and dead mothers. Sigh.) And she wants him dead?

      And… once you want someone dead and you try to get others to kill them, that pretty much rules out becoming intimate with them, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT?

      Last but not least, and that’s one of the things that makes this a deeply racist book, the ‘solution’ appears to be trying to make the currently oppressed (only not so much, if her father gets a research facility to run) race better so *they* can rule. And then White will be beautiful and Black will be ugly, and the world is right again.

      • It is apparently for books published independently. It requires a payment of US$50 simply to make a nomination, and it appears to be affiliated in part with the US Review, a paid review “service”.

      • I did a little research and breakdown on all of the four “awards” this book won. They’re all promotional tools directed at indie/self-pub writers and give out large numbers of awards/Honorable Mentions (up to nearly 200!) each year in a huge number of categories.

        The full breakdown is at:

        http://scottakennedy.livejournal.com/

        The reviews seem to follow a similar pattern, although the most hilarious one is the author blurb from “Jerrilyn Farmer, Los Angeles Times #1 Bestselling author of 8 award-winning Madeline Bean” which the Sand Dollar press site truncates to “Jerrilyn Farmer, Los Angeles Times” as thought the LA Times had bothered to review this nonsense.

        San Francisco Book Review and Midwest Book Review are all part of the same company that sells geographically named book review (SF, Midwest, Sacramento, Portland, etc.) to indie/self-pub writers. You can pay expedited prices ($125-$299) to get your review faster, buy an author interview at AudibleAuthors.net ($300), and, if the review is unfavorable, have them run an ad for your book instead.

        The truth is, no legimate reviewer or award body has had anything to say about this book; it’s been beneath their radar.

  20. I just… I can’t believe she isn’t trying to be racist here. I just can’t. I think she is probably a racist person trying to ‘spread the word’ about some conspiracy that the horrible PoC people will rule over us white folks if we don’t start popping out more babies (no, seriously, I have had people tell me that I need to get married and have kids because if I don’t then “the mexicans” will take over this country. Wut. Because apparently as a women it is my duty to pop kids out, forget that I don’t even really want to ever be in a long-term romantic entanglement because I am too stubbornly independent).

    Just, even the liberal people who say they are colorblind have more sense then to hit EVERY thing on the bingo card. And the people who defend her book, oh man, it’s just…. If you need to dehumanize and fetishize a person of a different race in order to get THE FEELZ, then something is deeply wrong with you. And I am not expressing myself clearly because there is just so much wrong with all of this and everything that I am focusing on these side notes, because holy heck ‘coals’ and ‘pearls’ and ‘save the pearls’…. It has got to be some kind of manifesto that she thinks she is being clever in hiding. There is no way she can be for real, especially with how she has been handling herself with the criticism.

    I mean, hell. As a privileged white girl I was never that completely blind, even at my height of smug ‘color-blindness’. I have never met someone that offensive, except for those who openly call themselves racist or sexist.

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  22. > Uh, but in this setting they are genetically predisposed to weakness since they can’t survive against “the Heat” (never mind that the science of that is shot all to hell), so… what? It’s an objective truth. Whereas, you know, a similar racist statement about black people in our world is not.

    This. I read a lot of delicious, delicious hate reviews of this book (not touching it firsthand), and it doesn’t seem to deal with cultures and ethnicities at all. So white skin in the book is a hereditary disability, nothing more, nothing less. Why would anyone want to preserve that?

    A humanist society would ensure that the differently abled are provided free sunscreen, allowed to wear veils, and devise a way for whites to have natural-born Black children. In a dystopian society rules by Evil Black People, if whites are useless, they would’ve been sterilized/killed (no sense in wasting precious resources on letting sickly slaves reach adulthood); if whites are uber-competent as the book suggests, they would’ve been forcibly bred. Seeing as Victoria Foyt has everything backwards, I am inclined to suppose she thinks with her ass.

    >> the dreaded Federation of Free People, a militant organization of Coals that vowed to rid the planet of Pearls.
    >> Mother Earth, her white skin showed.

    Funny that Eden should worship “Mother Earth”, because it looks like Mother Earth is doing much better in ridding the planet of Pearls than any militant organization of Coals possibly could.

    >> a jaguar … the green anaconda … the Harpy Eagle

    Holy shit she actually did research. As in, she read recent popsci. These are the top predator animals that preyed on primitive humans and supposedly contributed to the cultural pervasiveness of the *dragon*. Ladies and gentlemen, she really *tried*, and that vomit of a book actually represents Victoria Foyt’s best efforts. Also, dragon fucking.

    > This scenario assumes power predicates on physical fitness, when that’s never been the case among humans.

    Well that’s just not true. Europe-bred germs are what largely conquered the world for the whitey. The scenario isn’t likely to repeat, but it absolutely *did* happen.

    > As has been pointed elsewhere, when “the Meltdown” happened the people with the best access to protection/medical care… would have been white westerners.

    Ecological catastrophe + bad science + racism + persecuted white girl:

    “The rich white elite rules the world, sun-resistant people of color are forced to do heavy labor, most white women are locked up to be continually raped and forced to bear white children as part of the ‘Save the Pearls’ initiative (“for the good of all of humanity”, since only white people are thought to be capable of preserving civilization).

    “A sickly white teenager who miscarried several times in a row (because the patriarchy-run rape camp did not allow her a medically prescribed abortion and her first miscarriage ruined her reproductive function) faces disqualification as breeding stock and subsequent death if she is unable to bear a child to term before she turns 18. She escapes, hides in a labor camp, wears blackface so that white overseers won’t realize she’s white and send her back to be raped, is rescued when the anti-Pearl Resistance fighters (of color) storm the camp and free the slaves.

    “The girl feels useless because she can’t give much to the community, being sickly and uneducated, and envies the competence, technical excellence and camaraderie of the people of color. However, with the support of women of color in particular (who kick all sorts of ass) she is able to partially overcome the trauma and provide some valuable intelligence on the inner workings and defences of the rape camps.

    “Eventually, she volunteers to infiltrate the enemy, posing as a rich white girl who was kidnapped by the resistance and escaped (the elite swallows it hook, line and sinker). She is hailed as a heroic survivor, receives a fuckton of marriage proposals and realizes she can betray the Resistance and enjoy the privileged life. In an epic plot twist that surprises exactly no one, she never does so. The Resistance wins. She’s unable to have biological children but, thanks to her lesbian friend, comes to realize that her contribution to making the world better is as worthy a legacy as any. She plans to get professional training as soon as she recovers and become just as good as the people of color but dies very young (to qualify the book for the Newbery Medal) and is remembered as one of the many heroes of the revolution. The end.”

  23. Ah, but obviously you can read further than Inverarity, as you have a genetic advantage – he is only a lowly ‘pearl’ after all!

    I read somewhere that her reasoning for the names is that in a post-apocalyptic world, coals, which produce energy, would be far more valuable than fragile pearls, which is a luxury item no on has any use for. This could have been clever commentary on white people being lazy and luxurious and blacks being productive and hardworking… if the entire narrative did not make it clear the opposite is true.

  24. Well done! I have the galley on my Kindle but still can’t bring myself to read it, even with the chance for some serious snark-cum-scholarly-commentary. I started an open letter to the author on change.org: https://www.change.org/petitions/victoria-foyt-it-s-not-enough-to-say-you-re-colorblind if you’d like to sign. But I do take issue with your tag “young adult is shit.” This is shit because it’s crappy self-published writing, not because it’s young adult.

    • Of all the YA I’ve read, a vanishing handful is remotely decent. Most of it I’ve found to be unreadable dreck, I’m afraid.

      • I’m getting my master’s in children’s literature, and I promise you, YA is no different than any other category in that what’s popular tends to be dreck, and like all other published stuff it has a white people problem, but there is good stuff. I find your post on YA and getting kids to read really fascinating, but I’m still trying to figure out how best to respond because I have too too much to say.

  25. Transcript of a new interview with Foyt posted today at:

    http://www.jbridgerwriting.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-transcription-of-foyts-interview-with.html

    She continues to hawk her phoney awards (and now says the book has won five, although I can’t find mention of what that fifth award would be) and her bought reviews.

    She attributes all negative press to one (unnamed) person, who got their friends to gang up on her.

    Choice quotes:
    “I think it’s important to realize this is a Trading Places type story. ”
    “It’s a Beauty and the Beast story, except that beauty, the girl, thinks she’s ugly, and she thinks the beast-man is beautiful.”
    “I think it’s a dystopian fantasy. It’s a sci-fi action/adventure. It’s many things”
    “It’s about global warming. It’s about race. It’s about beauty. Again, it’s a Beauty and the Beast story; it’s a post-apocalyptic romance. ”

    What it’s really about is white privilege racism that’s completly blind to its own inanity. What I’d really love to hear is Steve Carell’s character from the Office reading Foyt’s interview responses, because that’s the level of racial sensitivity she’s functioning at.

  26. @saajanpatel:

    “Do you think she’s hamfistedly trying to express this sentiment?”

    If I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, I’d say that it’s possible. But if I wanted to be more brutally honest, I’d guess that it has more to do with the appeal of the underdog in fiction. With racial politics as they currently stand, it would be almost impossible to write a white protagonist as the underdog in a work that deals with racism. Also, Christianity believes that “the meek shall inherit the earth,” and the Puritan work ethic idealized the “self-made man.” Morality as it is expressed in the American narrative leans heavily towards the underdog. It’s easier to default to that structure when telling a story rather than facing the reality of privilege and what it means.

    On the other hand, having her repeatedly call it a “Beauty and the Beast” story is making me wonder what she was really going for. Maybe an inherently racist take on that fairytale was the origin of the idea, which she, oblivious to what made it racist, later tried to justify.

  27. Pingback: Fuck You, Weird Tales | There's A Story In Everything

  28. It doesn’t help that the two most recent books I’ve read have been 50 Shades Darker and the Hunger Games trilogy. Read them back to back, so my mind is just in this space between like really bad writing, characterization and post-apocalyptic-ness. So this book fits just right, and thus I have to read it because an oppurtunity like this will never come back to me again.

    Sigh, I guess for every J. K. Rowling, we have a Myers. For every Suzanne Collins, we’re gifted with a… This. Woman. Whoever wrote this pile of poop. So hopefully she’ll finish her damn books so the circle will continue and we get our next literary star. or else, we’re doomed :(

  29. “The ironing is delicious!”
    ~Bart Simpson
    According to her website she’s been published in “O at Home” magazine. Isn’t that one of Oprah’s?
    Also according to her website, one of her favourite books is “Gone With The Wind.”
    Go figure.

  30. Pingback: Are we making any progress yet? (On Weird Tales, Marvin Kaye, and the whole Save the Pearls debacle). | A Distinguished Bird

  31. Pingback: Foyt’s Revealing Eden: Racist or Bad Writing? Or both? » Khaalidah

  32. Pingback: The Ultimate Literary Fail « BROTHA WOLF

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