Strange & Dark Fantasy Since 1923...

A Message From the Publisher

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.

  1. Heidi Coppola
    Heidi Coppola08-20-2012

    It figures you would buckle under pressure as soon as some push-back came from your potential reading audience. It’s good that you’re listening to the outcry, and, yes, everyone who said this whole thing is sick is correct. However, I wonder why you and Mr. Kaye did not think about any of this *before* posting your full endorsement of the piece-o’-crap in question. Do you have an answer for that? It’s very telling that Mr. Kaye has changed his tune after the publisher and readers came down on him, and it’s also telling that the publisher had to post this to try to tamp the flames after the editor’s idiocy. What a sorry situation Weird Tales is now in. I suspect you won’t be gaining back those faithful readers with your empty rhetoric, and nor should you.

  2. Carrie Cuinn
    Carrie Cuinn08-20-2012

    Are you saying that Mr. Kaye did not read the book, review the associated marketing material, or view any of the negative responses to the book before promoting it on the website and agreeing to publish a portion of its contents?

  3. Nick Mamatas
    Nick Mamatas08-20-2012

    Thanks for your quick action, Mr. Harlacher.

  4. Enrico Accenti
    Enrico Accenti08-20-2012

    Mistakes happen in the editorial world and in endorsements. Hope the next weird tales is great.

  5. Tina C.
    Tina C.08-20-2012

    I’m glad to hear it. Perhaps Mr. Kaye’s future editorial decisions and endorsements require close scrutiny as this one indicates a lack of poor decision making skills. Don’t let poor decision making skills continue to ruin Weird Tales’ long and illustrious history.

  6. John Harlacher
    John Harlacher08-20-2012

    Heidi and Carrie: Marvin changed his mind after I showed him the video and other marketing materials.
    He only read the novel, and did not see how it was presented. I will let him respond further in his own statement.
    I do not know that “caving in to pressure” is a fair assessment. It assumes that am not honest in my statement, and am only saying it to make people like me.
    “Negligence” might be a better insult.

    • Carrie Cuinn
      Carrie Cuinn08-20-2012

      Even reading the whole novel, alone, without viewing the associated marketing materials, is enough to know that it is staggeringly racist (I’ve read it, yes the whole thing, when a friend who bought it to review couldn’t stomache it enough to finish it). It is, also, a terrible read, poorly written, and has no “weird” or “pulp” qualities. Therefore, the question of why he promoted it still stands.

      If you’re saying that the book is “goddamned ridiculous and offensive” and you’re offended to be associated with it, and you can’t abide by promoting that sort of thing, then you need to remove the person who allowed your magazine to promote it in the first place.

      Replace Kaye as editor. Then you’ll have made real change, and offered a sincere apology that your faithful readers can live with.

    • Heidi Coppola
      Heidi Coppola08-20-2012

      John, thanks for the clarification, but perhaps you can illuminate something for me: why didn’t Mr. Kaye investigate the book he was going to endorse in Weird Tales–you know, viewing the marketing materials, etc.–before posting the full endorsement on Weird Tales website. I agree with Carrie. An editor this mind-blowingly incompetent should be replaced right away. Also, it isn’t necessary to view the marketing materials to see that this book is both extremely racist and downright junky. Another point to prove that Mr. Kaye in an incompetent editor, at best.

      And, yes, you have swooped in to save Mr. Kaye’s ass, and to try to minimize the damage to Weird Tales. If there was no outcry of this extent, would you have done so? Or would all be peachy as long as magazine copies were being sold? That’s something I think you need to ask yourself, sir.

    • Sergio Y.
      Sergio Y.08-20-2012

      Not to be vindictive, but Mr. Kaye should allowed to resign… immediately. At the very least he should voluntarily step down and give the reigns to someone who would exercise better judgement.

      • Steven Piziks
        Steven Piziks08-20-2012

        Okay, guys–clearly no action short of a firing squad will satisfy you except a firing squad. He’s retracted, apologized without using the word “if,” and explained. Lay off.

        • Heidi Coppola
          Heidi Coppola08-20-2012

          But Steven, the explanation only further demonstrates the ineptitude of the editor, so it’s only logical that someone who cannot do their job effectively be replaced. Also, just because a person apologizes for something stupid doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to a pardon. Say I slap someone’s in the face (kind of analogous to what Mr. Kaye has done to long-time readers of Weird Tales). I then apologize for being an inconsiderate imp. Should those calling for me to explain myself “lay off”? Heck no! Understandably, folks would want to know why the hell I did that stupid thing, and then they would want me to stand down from whatever position of authority I held (as in Kaye’s position). With poor decisions come consequences, man.

        • Carrie Cuinn
          Carrie Cuinn08-20-2012

          Saying “our editor who owns the company and can’t be fired has agreed to stop promoting a book he doesn’t actually agree is racist, only because you complained” is not a good apology.

        • Tim Lieder
          Tim Lieder08-21-2012

          No. What would please us would be if Marvin Kaye buy up a crappy magazine like Realms of Fantasy and just use his editorial bias to push garbage where it isn’t so heartbreaking. Having read his Vampire Sextette and knowing that he greenlit OSC homophobic Hamlet, we have no faith in him as an editor and find him to be a joke from another era in science fiction – one in which this kind of idiocy was acceptable.

          What would make us happy would be if everyone currently associated with the magazine go away and give Ann Vandermeer complete control without question.

          She was creating an amazing magazine.

          You guys are just pushing crap.

          • JoSelle Vanderhooft
            JoSelle Vanderhooft08-21-2012

            Oh my God. Kaye was responsible for the Hamlet book?! I had no idea. Ew.

          • Billy Webber
            Billy Webber08-21-2012

            How is he responsible for the Hamlet book? Orson Scott Card wrote it and has published it in numerous places. People need to calm down and think.

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-21-2012

            It was first commissioned and accepted by Marvin.

          • Scott Kennedy
            Scott Kennedy08-22-2012

            I agree with Billy that thinking is needed. And while I think that the decision to run Save the Pearls was disastrous, Kaye’s own comments on Hamlet’s Father and how Tor required that novella be included even after Card was a year late in delivering it have been public record for some time. See the comments in the Publisher’s Weekly thread, specifically:
            http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/genreville/?p=1498&cpage=1#comment-110936

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-22-2012

            Scott, I notice you’re being a bit selective here . . . Rose asked: “When Card delivered the manuscript, did you have any opportunity to evaluate it before the book was published? Would it have been possible for you to say “Not this novella, another one” even if it meant another year’s delay?” This was never answered to anyone’s satisfacation. And a professional anthologist ultimately has final say on what goes into a lineup, not the publisher.

          • Scott Kennedy
            Scott Kennedy08-22-2012

            Sean, true, Kaye didn’t answer Rose’s questions, but he did distance himself from Hamlet’s Father from the get go: p.13, Introduction to Ghost Quartet “Tor books made the final selection for this quartet”. http://books.google.com/books?id=LjS7caScFM0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

            So saying he “commissioned it” when Tor had seems a bit off. Just trying to provide facts here, btw.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think running Save the Pearls, firing Ann Vandermeer — these things are disastors — and WT & Kaye deserve every slam they get for these actions.

          • Scott Kennedy
            Scott Kennedy08-22-2012

            Sean, just realized you know a hell of a lot more than I do about: Professional Anthologist having the final say. I respectfully withdraw and concede.

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-22-2012

            It’s not a big deal. I was just trying to clarify the role of an anthologist. It’s not always clear to the public.

    • katz
      katz08-20-2012

      The book (which I’ve read) not only contains blackface and the demeaning “pearls”/”coals” terminology, it has big black guys threatening to rape the white girl, black men described in animalistic terms like “beastly,” black women repeatedly called “bitches,” villains who are all black, mention of how awful and violent rap music is, a stone-cold Asian sidekick with a dragon tattoo, Noble Savage native Americans…you name a racial stereotype, it’s here.

      It’s also extremely poorly written.

      If none of this is apparent to Kaye, then he lacks the discernment to be an editor.

  7. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer08-20-2012

    Well done, Mr. Publisher. A genuine apology instead of a fauxpology.

  8. Antony
    Antony08-20-2012

    So you are saying that Marvin didn’t read the book and yet was confident enough that the material wasn’t racist, without reading it? What part of this is professional?

    If you haven’t read a book you shouldn’t be promoting it in such a way, you’ve just destroyed any credibility this magazine has spent decades building and a retraction that skates thinly on the truth is too little, too late.

    Looking at the post it sure sounds like Marvin had read it, or at least encouraging readers to think he had:

    “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.”

    Very clear to anyone… who reads it. except for Marvin, who hasn’t eh!

  9. Phire
    Phire08-20-2012

    As much as I would like to believe that this was truly editorial laziness and failure to take into consideration the full ramifications of a poorly thought-out endorsement, it’s telling that Kaye original op-ed lambasted and shamed everyone who did speak out against the racism in Foyt’s work, effectively calling them too stupid to appreciate the irony of using blackface to denounce racism (haven’t you heard? It’s not racist if you’re being ~*ironic*~). I appreciate that the piece will no longer be running in WT, but the damage has been done.

  10. John Harlacher
    John Harlacher08-20-2012

    Phrie: I should let Marvin speak for himself, but I feel the need to clarify this, since he is in an airport right now.
    I agree that Marvin was wrong to shame those who were offended by the book. He was truly unaware of how it was marketed. He was grossed out by the blackface video when he saw it today. From talking to him today, his position was

    1)you shouldn’t diss a book you haven’t read
    WRONG, if it is presented the way it was. Why should you read it?

    and
    2) When you read it in it’s entirety, the intent of the book was not racist.
    I haven’t read it entirely, but I know he had troubles with it at first, but thought it wound up well. But it doesn’t matter. He will respond to this later.

    • An Owomoyela
      An Owomoyela08-20-2012

      Unfortunately, the intent of a work, or a word, or an action, does not always determine its effect. Many things are racist, offensive, or ignorant without intending to be. The appropriate response shouldn’t be to present those things as though they didn’t have flaws because they didn’t intend to have flaws, but to point out those flaws and steer the well-intentioned to find better ways of expressing themselves.

      • JW
        JW09-15-2012

        Spoken like a true Liberal who has a closed mind

    • Alex Dally MacFarlane
      Alex Dally MacFarlane08-21-2012

      I know he had troubles with it at first, but thought it wound up well.

      This is very interesting in light of his decision to publish the opening chapter.

    • Julia Sullivan
      Julia Sullivan08-21-2012

      I have read the book in its entirety. It is full of racist tropes, metaphors, and images.

      It does not seem to have been intentionally written to further a racist agenda, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of racist content that justly upsets, irritates, annoys, and offends people.

      Something can have too much racist content to be appropriate, entertaining, or enjoyable material for the pages of WEIRD TALES without its having been written as an intentionally racist screed, or with the purpose of promoting racism. It’s not like the only two settings are “not racist” and “Kleagle”.

  11. John Harlacher
    John Harlacher08-20-2012

    Also, the website was hacked and he didn’t write that.

    No, that’s not true.

    • segaime
      segaime08-20-2012

      Clearly Mr. Kaye mind-swapped with one the Great Race of Yith, and it was they who wrote the article!

      But jokes aside, I think this incident has shown that Mr. Kaye is a poor researcher of the material he chooses to review. Did he really never to think to Google the author or the book? That’s basic stuff you learned to do in grade school.

      Personally, I’d feel better if he stepped down from editing, before he further hurts the magazine. At least this way you can use him as a scapegoat and the Great Race will have a body to run around in.

      • Heidi Coppola
        Heidi Coppola08-20-2012

        I second Segaime’s assessment.

    • Paige Vest
      Paige Vest08-20-2012

      “The website was hacked and he didn’t write that”?

      Are you kidding me? Nothing about this is in the least bit funny and this lame attempt at a joke is pretty goddamned offensive.

      • Mekenzie Larsen
        Mekenzie Larsen08-20-2012

        Seriously. When I saw that earlier, I assumed it was a troll. Guess not? I can’t shake my head enough.

        • Paige Vest
          Paige Vest08-20-2012

          Unless you assume the publisher’s a troll on his own site/post?

          I was honestly stunned (and disgusted, and disappointed) to see him joking around about this. =/

    • JoSelle Vanderhooft
      JoSelle Vanderhooft08-21-2012

      You’re really not doing yourself any favors here. .

  12. Antony
    Antony08-20-2012

    I’m sorry but it is very clearly racist from beginning to end, if you don’t think it is then how about a little experiment.

    Find the biggest african-american you can and then call them a “beastly coal” person – see how they react!

    • JW
      JW09-15-2012

      What a stupid analogy. My god you’re an idiot

  13. Jason Sanford
    Jason Sanford08-20-2012

    John: Just to clarify, does this mean you didn’t know in advance of Kaye’s decision to publish an excerpt from Save the Pearls? And that you were not aware before of the offensive marketing push being made around the novel?

  14. Rose Fox
    Rose Fox08-20-2012

    I’m dismayed that you took down Kaye’s post, thereby deleting the comments that were on it. I think it’s important to keep an archive of such things, so both you and others can learn from your mistakes.

    I’m also dismayed that Kaye is still clearly supporting an unsupportable novel. The problem is really not just with the marketing but, as you noted, with many elements of the book itself.

  15. Karnythia
    Karnythia08-20-2012

    I’m one of the people that reviewed the book after reading it. I have to say that I don’t believe his assertion that the book’s plot & execution are anti-racist. The protagonist is a bigot, many of the characters are racist stereotypes & the hero gets turned into a beast. Literally. It’s not just dog whistle racism (though there is plenty of that), it is flat out racist. Often. To the point that Foyt’s characters acknowledge that terms like Coal are racial slurs before Foyt remembers that this is supposed to be anti-racist. Foyt’s claims aside, it’s a book full of harmful racist imagery being marketed as the exact opposite. Either Kaye really didn’t read the novel, or he has some unexamined issues with race that led to his defense of the book.

  16. Torrain
    Torrain08-20-2012

    Thank you.

    (There was a lot more I was trying to say, and I keep getting it tangled up and unclear. Short version: am glad to see that /Weird Tales/ is no longer publishing any part of that book. Am not calling for the resignation of anyone who, upon realizing that they were endorsing “Save the White People”, withdraws said endorsement and attempts to correct the behaviour. And hope Ann withdraws her resignation.)

    • Clive P.
      Clive P.08-20-2012

      I actually think Ann VanderMeer would do better elsewhere, without this shitstain on her reputation.

      • Torrain
        Torrain08-20-2012

        She already is doing well elsewhere. I was fond of /Weird Tales/ for a while, and very happy when she and Stephen accepted the Hugo for it. If she withdraws her resignation, I’m sure the magazine will benefit from it; if she doesn’t, I will continue to follow her work.

  17. Andrew
    Andrew08-20-2012

    Did Kaye work for the banks before this job?

    Just wondering because he seems inept.

  18. Michael Fosburg
    Michael Fosburg08-20-2012

    That was smart of you.

  19. Amazing
    Amazing08-20-2012

    “I have not read the novel…” Then nothing you say after that means a thing. You revel in your ignorance, and your self-righteousness. The lot of you should be ashamed.

    • Michael Fosburg
      Michael Fosburg08-20-2012

      At this point I think he’s reveling in the fact that this novel is no longer a gigantic, flailing albatross around his magazine’s neck.

      That said, I read the novel. Atrocious writing. Ham-fisted thematic shoehorning. Obtuse racial faux-pas. Few things make me long for returning to the Twilight standard. This novel did.

    • ShoniLane
      ShoniLane08-20-2012

      Don’t assume everyone who has given this trash a negative review hasn’t read it. Try not reveling in your own self-righteousness, there. The book is racist and horribly written, all at once. Also…isn’t this supposed to be sci-fi? Shouldn’t there at least be SOME science?

      • Michael Fosburg
        Michael Fosburg08-20-2012

        It’s set in the future. That’s as hard as the SF gets in this limp noodle.

    • Delux
      Delux08-21-2012

      I’m really supposed to be chagrined by not wanting to read the book that has *this* as a trailer? http://youtu.be/v0AT6qxYBI4

      Um, ok then.

  20. Cory Skerry
    Cory Skerry08-20-2012

    This is a good response. Thank you.

    I wish it changed my mind, but unfortunately, it takes more than an apology–however direct and genuine–to make up for behavior like calling every black reviewer on Amazon lacking in “sufficient wit, wisdom and depth of literary analysis.”

    I’m uninterested in what Mr. Kaye has to say for himself, but I am quite interested in what he does. Actions speak louder and all that.

  21. Clive P.
    Clive P.08-20-2012

    This incident only shows me that your editor has STUNNINGLY poor judgement. And yet, this is the person you chose to run your operations. Frankly, if he’ll put his public, professional endorsement behind this load of shit, I just don’t trust his taste.

    You should have stuck with Ann VanderMeer.

    • Stacia
      Stacia08-20-2012

      I don’t believe this is a case of Kaye simply not doing enough research on the marketing materials or failing to read the book. I believe he and John deliberately chose this book for reasons that one can only speculate on. But it apparently was not a simple mistake; Jeff VanderMeer’s comment below about Ann telling them since June that publishing this was a bad idea tells me they were not clueless or lazy.

      It would be nice to believe they simply made a mistake because they weren’t paying attention, but unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t point to that.

  22. Valentine H.
    Valentine H.08-20-2012

    Kicking yourself pretty hard right now for choosing Marvin Kaye over Ann VanderMeer, aren’t ya?

  23. Marie Brennan
    Marie Brennan08-20-2012

    While I applaud this decision, it doesn’t speak well of Mr. Kaye that he couldn’t be bothered to do the bare minimum of due diligence before accepting Ms. Foyt’s tale of being woefully misunderstood.

  24. A. Nuran
    A. Nuran08-20-2012

    You screwed up and admitted it in a succinct, dignified fashion. Good for you.

  25. Livia Llewellyn
    Livia Llewellyn08-20-2012

    I can’t help but feel that despite the apology, today’s events have indicated the direction I always wondered that Weird Tales might be moving toward: which is an antiquated, constricted and narrow definition of weird fiction that has no place for diverse writers like the ones who commented on the now-deleted post. Only time will tell, of course – but in the meantime, I will continue to keep WT on my “do not submit to” list.

  26. Jeff VanderMeer
    Jeff VanderMeer08-20-2012

    As far back as June Ann was trying to tell John and Marvin that publishing this was a terrible idea. So the lie that neither of them knew what the novel contained would require them to have NOT READ IT for several months. This is total b.s. And anyone who doesn’t see that just wants to smooth things over.

    • John Harlacher
      John Harlacher08-20-2012

      Hi Jeff,

      Marvin read the novel and I did not. His review was based on the novel. That is what have been saying. He did not see any of the reactions or the marketing materials.

      100% true that Ann warned me against it. I had some romantic notion of editorial freedom.

      • Bart Leib
        Bart Leib08-20-2012

        If someone as respected as Ann VanderMeer warns you that it might not be a good idea to publish something because many people consider it racist, don’t you think that it would be in your best interests as a publisher to, you know, read it instead of ignoring her?

        • John Harlacher
          John Harlacher08-20-2012

          Bart wins.

          • Rose Lemberg
            Rose Lemberg08-20-2012

            “Bart wins.”

            Is this an attempt at a joke? If so, this is the second time you’ve made a joke on this thread. I am glad for you that the situation seems humorous to you, but it is not humorous to many of us. What exactly do you think any of us win here, except a much-beloved magazine smeared with shit and rolled in dirt for all to see?

            Nothing.

            You, however, win this stinking mess. I do hope you at least enjoy it.

      • Shannon
        Shannon08-20-2012

        You have total editorial freedom. You can do and say what you want.

        Romantic notions aside, freedom does not protect you from the consequences of that freedom. It’s a heavy responsibility.

        If the consequences are too much to handle, it may be a good time to be quiet or keep your romantic notions to yourself.

        • JW
          JW09-15-2012

          “Romantic notions aside, freedom does not protect you from the consequences of that freedom. It’s a heavy responsibility. ”

          WRONG. This is exactly what freedom of speech is NOT. Lately, everyone in this country tries to organize boycotts, have people fired, etc, when they don’t agree with someones opinion. State your rebuttal, say anything you want, but don’t ever try to cut down someones livelihood because they said something you don’t agree with,. By doing that, you’re saying you don’t want them to have that freedom in the first place.

          Maybe sit down and listen to some Christopher Hitchens and learn what the true meaning of freedom of speech is. Grow up and learn to deal with the fact not everyone agrees with you and you don’t have to throw a bitchfest everything someone doesn’t.

          • JW
            JW09-15-2012

            every time

      • Stacia
        Stacia08-20-2012

        I’m just not buying this story. Right now, it looks like an editor made a deliberate decision to publish part of a racist, poorly-written book while using said book as a cudgel to browbeat people for not understanding irony. Jeff’s information certainly supports that theory.

        We can only guess as to your reasons for publishing it. Cluelessness, I suppose, or to stir up controversy, a desire to move WT in a new and disturbing direction, or possibly neither you nor Marvin saw anything wrong in the book. Who’s to say?

        What is clear is that you’re trying to re-frame this as someone who just made an editorial mistake by not looking at the marketing materials, with some added flippant comments and a few weak jokes to try to spin this as not a big deal. It’s the classic move, trying to create a lesser evil so people can say, “Oh, hey, he wasn’t racist, just bad at his job.” Unfortunately for you, that version doesn’t look like it’s going to take.

      • Rose Fox
        Rose Fox08-21-2012

        Why do you keep talking about the marketing materials, as though that were what this is about? It’s not. It’s about the text of the book–that same text that was going to be excerpted in your magazine.

        Of course you and Mr. Kaye have complete editorial freedom. What everyone is complaining about is the way you were planning to exercise it. The value of editorial freedom is that it allows publishers to promote works they feel deeply and strongly about, and to give a platform to people whose valuable contributions to public discourse would otherwise go unheard. In this case, however, you were promoting an extraordinarily offensive work that calls your taste and judgment into question, and you were going to give a platform to someone who has already been heard quite loudly (including in the Huffington Post) while contributing nothing of value whatsoever.

      • Genevieve Williams
        Genevieve Williams08-21-2012

        So far as I can tell, nobody has actually stopped you from publishing it, so I fail to see how the editorial freedom argument pertains.

        Editorial freedom does not grant immunity from criticism.

        • John Harlacher
          John Harlacher08-21-2012

          Yes, I was unclear here it seems. I am the publisher.

          I had the notion that I should not interfere in the specific fiction choices made by the editor. We would decide the themes of the issues together, I would be responsible for the form (art and layout) of the issue, and he would be responsible for the specific pieces of fiction chosen.

          I did not mean to imply that you had no right to judge these choices (you do), or that my choice to be blind made me immune to such criticism (It doesn’t. That was my decision) I chose to not investigate it thoroughly, thus this is being played out in public instead of behind the scenes, as it normally would be.

          Thank you for caring about Weird Tales.

      • Antony
        Antony08-21-2012

        So what you are saying is that Marvin read the novel and couldn’t work out that it was clearly racist, despite countless readers and the esteemed Vandermeers warnings.

        You are saying it took him to look at some marketing material to work it out?

        This is an editor of a magazine!

        How do you justify the lack of “fit”? There isn’t any weirdness about it and a very faint wiff of scifi – what part of it did you think the loyal readers would be interested in?

      • MadGastronomer
        MadGastronomer08-21-2012

        If he hadn’t seen any of the reaction to it, then why was he talking about the negative Amazon reviews? Those were a reaction to it, and I know some of them were by people who had read and it were tearing it to shreds for its racism.

    • Torrain
      Torrain08-21-2012

      I was unaware, and I am very sorry. I stand informed, corrected, and ashamed.

  27. Ari
    Ari08-20-2012

    Look I’m sorry, but Marvin, you’re a nincompoop. There is no “explanation” of the imagery actually contained within “Revealing Eden” and it’s ridiculous pseudo-claims-to-science-ish-fiction that make the racism NOT a problem. It is quite suitably awful from start to finish, and the marketing of it, such as it is– IS an accurate representation of what is contained between the covers. I will continue to be offended by this weak wishy washy attempt to defend the indefensible so long as you keep arguing that “there really is a point in there if you just give it a chance.”

    The problem IS NOT just that someone made a bad marketing decision and Ms. Foyt seems to lack a proper PR adviser to steer her on how to handle her criticism tactfully. The problem is that even if you striped the book of it’s cover (that she insists is being so harshly judged without reading) and you erased the mess of a website that is SavethePearls.com. You would STILL have a novel centered around white fright about a poor little oppressed white protagonist, who dreams of returning to the past where she was the a member of the dominating class, succeeding over the evil black people and imagery of black men as aggressive beasts and how the white protagonists lusts after him despite his “danger”…. That reads exactly like White Supremacist Fear-Mongering Propaganda. Especially because it’s all propped up on the notion that as soon as white people become a numerical minority on the planet (something that has always been a reality, and it has never stopped oppression and imperialist exploitation from spreading), racist oppression will obviously be reversed!

    And by the by, when was the website hacked and WHAT isn’t true…? And why isn’t that in your post?

    • Ari
      Ari08-20-2012

      Ahem. I can’t edit, but I should have included: I understand that Marvin is indisposed at the moment and I await his full response with a heavy dose of skepticism. Which I am capable of shelving, but I admit the bar is set extremely high.

    • segaime
      segaime08-20-2012

      The site was never hacked, that was just a joke…albeit a bad one. I would’ve preferred it if the editorial staff had been brain-napped by the Great Race of Yith, or they were threatened by strange cultist wearing Egyptian tattoos to post this carp.

      Who else thinks Cthulhu could do a better job running this zine?

    • Tess
      Tess08-20-2012

      Thank you! This apology seems to read that it’s a good book with disgusting promotion. I have read the book, and the book is still racist. The blackface promotional materials are still bad, but that’s only an aspect of why this book is terrible.

      There are numerous reviews on the web explaining why this book is racist. If someone told me that their work was being accused of having racist content but that “it definitely isn’t racist!” I would at least take the time to read some of the controversy before putting my name to it.

      • Julia Sullivan
        Julia Sullivan08-21-2012

        Thank you!

        Once again we’ve fallen into the trap of “if someone is not actively promoting racial discrimination in the real world, it’s wrong to call their work racist.”

        I don’t know what else one calls a book so thoroughly steeped in racist tropes, imagery, and metaphor. If Ms. Foyt really attempted to critique racism by writing a book chock full of racism, she failed in her endeavor.

        People have written really interesting, thought-provoking sff that starts with “what if ‘black’ was the privileged racial designator, and ‘white’ the Other?” as its central question. BLONDE ROOTS by Bernardine Evaristo and IN THE UNITED STATES OF AFRICA by Abdourahman Waberi are two fairly recent books that come to mind. Perhaps Mr. Kaye might want to read one of those to get a point of comparison?

  28. Enrico Accenti
    Enrico Accenti08-20-2012

    Read the first chapter on Amazon. it sucks.

    • Rose Fox
      Rose Fox08-21-2012

      Wait, the entire first chapter is available for free? The same first chapter WT was going to publish, and presumably pay for?

      Yet another way that this was a terrible business decision as well as being morally questionable.

  29. Erik Amundsen
    Erik Amundsen08-20-2012

    Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful you will not be printing the excerpt. I truly am.
    That said, you’re going to have to do better than that to get any support from me.

  30. Ashley Frank
    Ashley Frank08-20-2012

    So far, from what I can tell, John Harlacher and Marvin Kaye are egotistical, big-headed, disingenuous, immature, and idiotic. It sorta feels like Weird Tales, a magazine I once read eagerly upon each issue’s release, has been taken over by a couple of thirteen-year-olds. Why don’t you two just sell the magazine to someone who can at least helm it with respect? Quit disgracing this venerable magazine with your foolishness. Start your own magazine and run it into the ground for Christ’s sake!

  31. Cambo Jones
    Cambo Jones08-20-2012

    I was saddened by the way Ann VanderMeer was pushed out of her award-winning editorial position and had already resolved to leave Weird Tales behind, but this is just too much. It’s truly tragic what this editorial team has done to this magazine.

  32. Samantha Henderson
    Samantha Henderson08-21-2012

    Mr. Harlacher, you were told months ago by the VanderMeers that this was a problematic book, and it took you this long to look at online promotion and excerpts? Even when the first chapter is out there, easily accessible? You decided to just let it ride, even although it’s obviously not a Weird Tales story (in any incarnation), and the only conceivable reason to publish it in a magazine with the history of Weird Tales was out of sympathy for a writer who felt she was getting unfairly beat up on the internet?

    Your apology implies you only just became aware of this situation and is therefore intrinsically dishonest, I’m sorry to say.

  33. Kirk Barrett
    Kirk Barrett08-21-2012

    I haven’t read so much BS-spin since looking over transcripts of political speeches. WT has failed completely and utterly since the new management took over from the editor who brought the publication a Hugo Award. Proves once again that money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy taste, reason, and sensibility.

  34. nitpicker
    nitpicker08-21-2012

    Look, I thought the decision to support the book was asinine and poorly considered and the essay which detailed that support was somewhat offensive in its own right. Having said that, I understand the general contrarian urge editors must–and should–feel when their censorship spidey sense starts tingling. When a strong consensus forms, it is comforting for some to take Haruki Murakami’s famous stance: “Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.” But even Murakami realized that siding with the egg, with the underdog, wasn’t a comment on the correctness of the egg.

    In this case, the wall was right. It stood against a blatantly racist novel, a nominally sci-fi (H.G.) Wellsian tale by way of the Turner Diaries. People were right to be offended by Weird Tales’ support.

    But the truth is: We won. Weird Tales backed off and, while the editor still has some ‘splaining to do–to his audience as well as his editor–there’s no reason to continue berating the magazine at this point. I believe (or, at least, hope) a lesson has been learned here. Let’s move on.

  35. Julien Vallee
    Julien Vallee08-21-2012

    And it’s not like Marvin Kaye ever made incredibly poor editing decisions before… Ever heard of Scott Orson Card’s homophobic (and terribly written too!) rendition of Hamlet? Yep, Marvin Kaye is behind this too.

    Here’s one source: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/genreville/?p=1498

    Stop this extreme right-wing madness, WT.

    • Ron Hogan
      Ron Hogan08-21-2012

      I don’t even think you need to bring “extreme right-wing madness” into the conversation. As you say, Orson Scott Card’s revisionist Hamlet was simply BADLY WRITTEN, and the opening pages I’ve seen of this book (which I investigated if only to see if they could be as tone-deaf as the trailer) are BADLY WRITTEN.

      Marvin Kaye just doesn’t seem like somebody whose editorial judgment is relevant to my interests, which means that WEIRD TALES isn’t relevant to my interests the way it was when Ann was editing it.

  36. Richard Horsman
    Richard Horsman08-21-2012

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do with the apology, but this whole debacle has confirmed for me that I’m not interested in the version of the magazine that you and Marvin want to put together. I’ve contacted Wildside about cancelling the remainder of my subscription.

    • Richard Horsman
      Richard Horsman08-21-2012

      Update: Should have realized this, but if your subscription was originally placed through Wildside you still have to cancel through Nth Dimension, apparently by contacting “weirdtalesbox@gmail.com”.

  37. timwburke
    timwburke08-21-2012

    The tradition-minded WT editor decides to promote an sf novel, which is never been WT’s balliwick.

    The novel is written by the wife of Henry Jaglom, prominent stage and film director and brand-new FB friend of the editor.

    Both the editor and publisher are Actor’s Equity members and have worked with Jaglom.

    What’s this all about?

  38. Joe Bonadonna
    Joe Bonadonna08-21-2012

    I applaud and give a standing ovation to Weird Tales’ for its stance on this matter.

    • Paige Vest
      Paige Vest08-21-2012

      By “stance”, do you mean their ability to change their minds based on the massive criticism they’ve rightly received for their extremely poor judgement?

      I would have applauded their stance if it had been to follow Ann’s advice back in June decide and NOT support this author and her extremely racist story… especially so giddily and cockily. As it is, the back-pedaling and CYA mentality is really not very impressive.

  39. EMoon
    EMoon08-21-2012

    A further issue: race role reversal is not a new thing in the genre. Heinlein did it many decades ago, and it’s inconceivable to me that someone on the publishing end (editor or publisher) would not know that. Not only is this book racist, but it’s not even an original notion. (Heinlein’s version was more thoughtful, and had a less whiny protagonist. And yes, heavily criticized for being racist.)

    • Julia Sullivan
      Julia Sullivan08-21-2012

      NOUGHTS AND CROSSES, by Malorie Blackman, is a best selling YA series in the UK that has done the role-reversal to great effect.

      • Delux
        Delux08-21-2012

        Bernadine Evaristo also did this very well with BLONDE ROOTS, an alternative history of Africans enslaving “Whytes”.

        • Julia Sullivan
          Julia Sullivan08-21-2012

          Yes! I recommended that very book to Mr. Kaye upthread. The difference between Evaristo’s take on global role reversal and Foyt’s recycling of every racist cliche from THE CLANSMAN to GONE WITH THE WIND to MANDINGO should be pretty clear (I think I spotted a couple of echoes of THE LUSTFUL TURK and the Fu Manchu novels in there just for lagniappe).

          • Delux
            Delux08-21-2012

            I’ve noticed relatively little discussion of the competent books following this idea, there’s also LIONS BLOOD by Steven Barnes.

          • Julia Sullivan
            Julia Sullivan08-21-2012

            Really good point, Delux. Of course, Barnes, Evaristo, Waberi, and Blackman are all writers who self-identify as black, who have published critically and commercially successful skiffy allegories of racial politics, which…well, let me say that Ms. Foyt’s mistaken belief that she was doing something original shows just how limited her perspective must be.

  40. Michael Fosburg
    Michael Fosburg08-21-2012

    Well, I’d say this magazine’s reputation has been thoroughly poisoned. A pity. Guess it wasn’t too big to fail after all.

    • Billy Webber
      Billy Webber08-21-2012

      Too big to fail??? A semi-pro fiction magazine? Um, do you realize most of these mags are lucky to break even?

      • Michael Fosburg
        Michael Fosburg08-21-2012

        Most mags, sure. But Weird Tales has (or had) a storied reputation going for it, and nearly a century of momentum driving it. Perhaps that’s why its management acted so recklessly — they were banking on the brand to carry WT through risky/poor publication decisions.

        • Billy Webber
          Billy Webber08-21-2012

          Michael, even at its peak in the ’30s and ’40s, the magazine lost money. Yes, reputation-wise big, but financially no.

  41. Craig D
    Craig D08-21-2012

    What still baffles me about this whole situation is how, or why, an excerpt of this particular book, pushing all its overt racism aside, was even considered for publication at Weird Tales in the first place.

    Forget all the racism (for, as Mein Kampf, Jack London and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory no doubt illustrate, people will read racist writing if there’s some degree of worth, insight or intrigue contained in the work), but the book in question is absolute crap in every way imaginable, yet somehow, out of all the respected, emerging and aspiring authors writing and publishing under the “weird fiction” banner, WT chose to profile this novel above all others, as if there was a severe dearth of outstanding writing worth mentioning.

    I mean, WT is supposed to be one of the most historic, prestigious and acclaimed venues for weird fiction, and this is the kind of writer you choose to profile? If anything, this gave a glimmer of hope to all the hacks out there that they, too, can be featured in a premier magazine. You should’ve shot it down on principle just for the quality of writing, well before the racism became apparent.

    • JW
      JW09-15-2012

      Are you kidding me? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is racist? Someone’s fresh out of college with 4 years of Liberal professors in his ear.

  42. JoSelle Vanderhooft
    JoSelle Vanderhooft08-21-2012

    I agree with a lot of commenters here who are wondering why Weird Tales’ editor planned on running this excerpt in the first place. Completely discounting the egregious racism for a few moments, it has nothing to do with the kind of fiction you’ve traditionally published, is abysmally written, and came complete with a slew of very unfortunate marketing materials. If the author said her book was being unfairly slammed, why wouldn’t Mr. Kaye have tried to investigate all of the reasons for this ‘unfair’ treatment–which would include looking at her website where the videos are posted? It’s not that I don’t want to give you the benefit of the doubt, Mr. Harlacher. But you’re just not giving us any reasons TO give you that benefit.

  43. Enrico Accenti
    Enrico Accenti08-21-2012

    The thing that really bothers me, and no one pointed out, is that WT opens its submissions like five minutes a year. Even with such a limit, the editorial staff decided to publish and push an excerpt that was already published somewhere else removing space that was needed for original stories. In addition, that excerpt really sucks, removing space that was needed to new and good writers. The editorial board should explain WHY pages were going to be dedicated to a non-original, non-pulp, non-weird, non-good writing.
    I hope it was really a huge mistake. Disappointing.

    • Samantha Henderson
      Samantha Henderson08-21-2012

      Not only already published, but the 1st chapter is already easily available online.

  44. Billy Webber
    Billy Webber08-21-2012

    You all realize the more you talk about this horrible, horrible book, the more publicity it gets and the more copies it sells. The book has been increasing in sales ever since people started complaining about it. It’s a stupid book that no one should be talking about.

    • Sean Wallace
      Sean Wallace08-21-2012

      I wouldn’t be worried. It sold only one print copy last week, according to bookscan, and its sales performance to date has been abysmal. I actually think that the bad publicity means that people are less likely to buy a copy, either way.

      • Billy Webber
        Billy Webber08-21-2012

        If that’s true, it will be the first sane news I’ve heard in awhile.

      • JoSelle Vanderhooft
        JoSelle Vanderhooft08-21-2012

        I certainly hope you’re right, Sean. I always worry that any kind of publicity will be enough for people to check out a book How has it been doing in ebooks?

        • Sean Wallace
          Sean Wallace08-22-2012

          I can only guess, but the Amazon ranking isn’t so hot. I find that, usually, ebook sales are a reflection of the print sales. With the latter doing terribly, I’d be surprised if the ebook was performing otherwise.

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-22-2012

            Bookscan just updated, this morning . . . the book sold _zero_ copies last week. :)

    • JW
      JW09-15-2012

      Suppress! Control! It’s sickening how you people are trying to tell others what to do and how to think.

  45. Pandora
    Pandora08-22-2012

    Perhaps WT will speak of legitimate rape next, but then tactically retract that, too.

    Weird Tales died in 1954. This insistence that the current mag using the name is somehow of sacred lineage is misguided. They are no more the original Weird Tales than The new Sharper Image is the original Sharper Image.

    Remember when they changed the logo to that idiotic emoticonish crap? All supplicants duly praised it, despite it appearing dated the second it hit the stands.

    Now… well, they’ve back pedaled to the older logo, taking two or more years to realize it was a narcissitic mistake.

    Keep up the good wyrk!

    ~Semi pro, indeed.~

  46. Wil
    Wil08-22-2012

    Let’s sum up then shall we. Both editor and publisher have known about this book for some time and despite warnings from Anne & Jeff Vandermeer planned to publish an excerpt in the magazine. This is also despite a number of readers expressing their views that it is hateful, raceist and badly written.

    The editor decided to write a glowing article about said book and seemed to completely miss the poor grammar and overt racism. This suggests he either didn’t read the book or is not fit to be an editor of a magazine.

    The husband of the author is both known to the editor and publisher and is someone who they have worked with.

    The book has no relevance to weird fiction and only a passing nod to scifi and yet until this all blew up they had every intention of publishing.

    Have i missed anything? Oh yes the editor has been travelling for about 2 days now…

    • Alex
      Alex08-22-2012

      And one wonders why, after planning to publish the chapter for two months, the editor chose to write about it now.

    • Scott Kennedy
      Scott Kennedy08-22-2012

      Re: “The husband of the author is both known to the editor and publisher and is someone who they have worked with” and an earlier comment saying the same

      It’s frankly unknown whether either Marvin Kaye or John Harlacher have worked with Henry Jaglom, the acclaimed independent filmmaker husband of actress/author Victoria Foyt. What has been pointed out is that, like Foyt and Jaglom, Kaye and Harlacher both also have professional careers in the performing arts, producing, directing and writing films (Harlacher) and plays (Kaye).

      It might be more likely that the decision to run Save the Pearls was an ill-considered effort to come to the defense of a fellow actor (Foyt) rather than a pointed slap in the face to Weird Tales fandom. But again, that is speculation, not fact.

  47. Annexian
    Annexian08-22-2012

    What if history was different and a strange, unique and beautifully master of English author “Clark Ashton Smith” submitted to this magazine nowadays versus decades ago?

    Would you bash and dismiss his work as amateurish and regret ever considering it over, say…

    A scary far future world where there was an island of clearly “Oriental” persons devoted only to torture of those unfortunate to shipwreck there? And another island with a few Necromancers but also tons of cannibal tribes that yes were black men who over time had evolved longer arms and their teeth naturally turned to fangs? Goodness, what kind of “racist” he must be, let’s toss him in the dust bin along with a crazy Texan who writes un thought out mmmabye historical fiction with a sexist barbarian and lots of subtle racist stereotypes. Or that creepy Poe wanna – be who made up his own uncreative stick together an octopus and a dragon thing, then tried to sneak in racist remarks about hillbilly swamp people in the bayou…

  48. Onyx
    Onyx08-22-2012

    Amazing. WT wanted to publish an excerpt from a woman who knows nothing about racism or scifi. Foyt’s promo for her novel as well as later statements further putting her foot in her mouth concerning African Americans not reading the novel (I am and I did. Oh how I wish I could take the time back I spent on her “book”) make me salivate to have a serious sit down talk with her, woman to woman.

    Kaye did a bad thing siding with the novel and Foyt. But you did a good thing correcting his mistake and owning up to it. I’ll be interested to read Marvin Kaye’s follow up statement. While I’ve yet to put up my indepth post on Saving the (freakin’) Pearls, what I initially wrote after reading Foyt’s misguided manuscript can be found on my blog A Critical Review Of The Help

  49. AA
    AA08-22-2012

    How brave…

  50. L. Grabenstetter
    L. Grabenstetter08-22-2012

    I just received a personalized email, purportedly written by Marvin Kaye himself, in response to my request that my WT subscription be well and truly cancelled. I assume this means he’s back from his trip and free to discuss these issues, hopefully on a scale that is larger and more public than my personal inbox.

    When can the SFF community expect his statement?
    I personally suggest it be in the form of an open dialogue.

    • L. Grabenstetter
      L. Grabenstetter08-22-2012

      Ooh, boy. I hear now that many people are getting these emails from Mr. Kaye! That, rather than address the situation in an open dialogue and in public he has decided to target us each individually and in private! That, sir, is a rather slimy tactic.

      Perhaps we should begin posting these emails, in order to bring the conversation into the public where it belongs?

    • Cat Rambo
      Cat Rambo08-22-2012

      It does seem as though Mr. Kaye is back answering e-mails, posting caption contests to Facebook, and writing Amazon reviews at the moment. Will we be seeing a statement from him today as well?

      • Sean Wallace
        Sean Wallace08-22-2012

        I suspect anything related to facebook is probably under the purview of its managing editor, James Aquilone. But I’ve seen reports, yes, that Marvin is emailing authors and subscribers.

        • James Aquilone
          James Aquilone08-22-2012

          Sean, Cat,

          I posted the caption contest. I know we are under the microscope here, but I don’t see the harm in giving away a Bradbury anthology on his birthday. In fact it is my personal book and will be shipped out by me at my cost. Has it really come to us being criticized for giving away a book?

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-22-2012

            I don’t think Cat knew who was posting to facebook or to the website, so that’s not a big deal. I can’t imagine that the caption contest is really what’s upsetting people currently, as much as Marvin’s continued silence, while emailing people and telling them something separate than what you’ve posted, and continuing his support of Victoria Foyt’s book.

          • James Aquilone
            James Aquilone08-22-2012

            Sean, I hoped no one would be upset about the caption contest. I’ve been doing all I can the last few months to gather readers and fans — and it was working pretty well. I just hope people understand that not everyone on the staff agrees or stands by the actions of the last few days. Like everyone else, I’m waiting to see what changes are made.

          • Sean Wallace
            Sean Wallace08-22-2012

            James, you’ve been doing a bang-up job so far, from what I’ve seen, though some people might question the censorship and deletion of facebook posts, and of course the removal of the original post here on this site. But that might not be your fault. I don’t know. It’s a ugly situation.

          • Cat Rambo
            Cat Rambo08-22-2012

            My apologies, James. I think it’s awesome to give books away. I highly approve of it. I do think that Mr. Kaye’s continued silence on the matter is doing Weird Tales a disservice, and since I’m seeing reports elsewhere of his having the time to send out emails, I jumped to conclusions that I shouldn’t have.

  51. Darren Mckeeman
    Darren Mckeeman08-22-2012

    I have to say that after seeing the lies spread (MK is answering email and damn well able to apologize) that I have lost any hope of Weird Tales ever being retreived from the pit it has fallen into. Add to this that MK is the same person who edited OSC’s homophobic rewrite of Hamlet, and I am wondering how badly you wanted to destroy Weird Tales.

    Tell me, exactly how much money does it take for a racist homophobe to buy Weird Tales? I have people beating down my door at my suggestion to start a kickstarter to buy it back and put Ann back in charge. Tell me a figure and I’ll do it.

    • Rose Fox
      Rose Fox08-22-2012

      I support this plan, especially if anti-racist non-homophobes get a discount on the racist homophobe rate.

  52. Croaker1995
    Croaker199508-22-2012

    You guys need to lay off and get back to writing. Weird Tales is the absolute best publication out there and it will NEVER go out of business. Pandora doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Weird Tales has been publishing NON STOP since 1923! PROVING it is the longest running and most cherished horror magazine in the history of publishing. What Weird Tales says, goes! Foytgate was just a miscommunication and all blown out of size by uppity, judgmental writers. Still shaking my head at what Pandora said. Maybe you’re thinking about EERIE, Pandora? Huh? Maybe? It sure as heck isn’t Weird Tales. It’s so OBVIOUS this is the ORIGINAL WEIRD TALES. Duh! Their history is not up for dispute.

    Besides, there were lots of racist elements in HPL’s stuff and I don’t see anyone bashing HIM! I love his stuff. Just layoff. Get back to work. Anyone who cancels their subscription or whatever is just being weak. You have to STICK UP FOR YOUR FAVORITE MAGAZINE. You OWE it to them for all the years of publishing your work and publishing what you like to read. Yeah, right, Cthulhu was racist, too. Saw it on the news. Why is everyone so quick to point the finger at such a fine publication? It’s not as if they actually went ahead and published Vicky’s excerpt. I just don’t see what the fuss is about. People need to be more informed before flying off the handle and over reacting.

    • Wil
      Wil08-22-2012

      Well I am glad you sorted that out then, perhaps you don’t see racism as an issue but many people do. Perhaps you’d care to enlighten us as to how supporting such a novel is simply “miscommunication” and not a glaring error in management.

      Weird tales ended as a magazine the minute Anne resigned, all we see now are ghostly afterimages.

      I would pay good money to support a kickstarter project to resurrect what USED to be the best magazine in the industry.

    • Stevie
      Stevie08-23-2012

      Non stop? really? you haven’t even read the about us page then on this very website. The magazine folded in 1954 and wasn’t really resurrected till the 1980′s so NON STOP is about as far from the truth as save the pearls is good fiction.

  53. Croaker1995
    Croaker199508-22-2012

    Worse case, those few who are offended leave the Weird Tales family. Meh. It’s of little consequence, given how many who will remain in full support. Don’t let the door hit ya!

    (and no offense, but a lot of the troublemakers sound kinda old. Maybe new blood is what is needed for the order of the day. Just saying.)

    • segaime
      segaime08-22-2012

      Yeah, that’s right, only a “few” are offended. Your researching skills must be just as bad as Mr. Kaye’s.

      (Oh, and no offense, but you sound kinda young and ignorant. Maybe some intelligence is needed for the order of the day. Just sayin’.)

  54. timwburke
    timwburke08-22-2012

    Now see, croaker, this is the fuss:

    A publication is only as good as its editor, no matter the magazine’s age and tradition.

    Kind of like how Leno ain’t Johnny Carson, even though they are both “The Tonight Show.”

    This is only *the second issue they produced*.

    In this single kerfuffle, two guys who declared to bring back WT’s past glory managed to:
    attempt to dedicate page space to a genre never found in WT, attempt to promote material beneath WT standards, try to backscratch a friend/spouse who works in the guys’ day job, admit they didn’t review this material they committed to promoting, ignore the advice of an award-winning editor for months, and arguably fumble the fan service during the subsequent uproar.

    Again: This is only *the second issue they produced*.

    If they had a presence in the sff community, more slack might be given to them. But fandom is like theater or any other insular community. Marvin has edited many anthologies, but I know of decades-famous named authors who had never heard of him. The publisher may be a well-meaning fellow, but I draw a complete blank with him.

    The question isn’t “should we support WT?” The question is “are these guys worthy of WT?” Or with them in charge what will be the value of WT?

    • Jeff VanderMeer
      Jeff VanderMeer08-22-2012

      That’s a pretty good summation of the context. Added to: ridiculously short submission windows, jettisoning the online submission portal, dismantling other parts of the prior editorial team’s process that were best practice. And also the whole stupidity pointed out above: that the chapter to be printed was already available for free online. –JeffV

  55. timwburke
    timwburke08-22-2012

    To say nothing of the controversial content of the novel.

  56. Croaker1995
    Croaker199508-23-2012

    I may be young, but I got pulp fiction in my veins. I really believe all this will blow over. I mean, like its been pointed out, this is only the second issue under this spear holder, so what do we know that by the fifth issue he may throw that spear like a gold medalist and hit a bullseye? I dunno. It just feels like we’re throwing them under the bus too SOON. I agree, it was goofy to want to put Vic’s chapter in there. But, hey, it’s NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. As far as other things pointed out, I guess publishers have different ideas on things. At least WT hasn’t SOLD OUT. I just heard Stephen King is having a story appear in Harper’s next month. HARPER’S! WTF is up with that? “Yeah, my horror story got a in Harper’s.” That’s kind of selling out, isn’t it? Where is King’s loyalty to the gener? Maybe if he was sending his stories in to WT, we wouldn’t even be having this debate. Stephen King is so spoiled! Sorry if you guys don’t see why this is all a tempest in a tea pot. Just be thankful WT exists. Magazines are dropping like flies.

    • Stevie
      Stevie08-23-2012

      Croaker, by promoting and defending such a controversial book without any good reason to do so IS selling out. Perhaps you’d care to explain what part of “save the pearls” is a good fit for WT. It’s not part of the weird fiction genre, it’s barely even near science fiction so yes SELL OUT is excatly what the’ve done.

      Everyone makes mistakes but it’s the way they are handling this one that is the very last straw and no we don’t need them, there are plenty of other deserving magazines out there and maybe we should be taking our business to them.

      We are the customer, without us they have no magazine and unless they stand up and offer some real apology and promise to improve in the future I really can’t see them surviving.

    • Julia Sullivan
      Julia Sullivan08-23-2012

      “Vicky”? “Vic”? Either you know Ms. Foyt personally, in which case hello astroturfing, or you’re just someone who makes up nicknames for strangers, in which case cut it out.

      • Croaker1995
        Croaker199508-23-2012

        Sorry, Jule.

  57. Kia Lee
    Kia Lee08-23-2012

    Your wishes will be respected; I believe the publisher will handle that, I regret your decision, and can only say that after reading the book, I found it a powerful attack on racism, just the opposite from the charges leveled at it. However, I only recently saw the marketing of this book, and find it in terrible taste; had I seen it, I would not have read the book. As it is, we have decided not to publish the story.

    Regarding Scott Card’s story, I did not see any homophobia in it, or I would have objected, but for the record, I did not want to buy anything from him; the publisher, Tor Books, made it clear that if I did not include his story, they would not publish the book at all.

    MK

    So…a complete non-apology through email then? Where’s the public statement?

    • L. Grabenstetter
      L. Grabenstetter08-23-2012

      At this point I’m doubting that we’re going to get one. :\
      Would love to be proven wrong, though.

  58. MRK
    MRK08-23-2012

    while I think the decision the no longer publish Foyt’s work was the correct one, I also can’t really attack the initial decision to publish it. It wouldn’t be the first time somebody saw merit in something widely considered to be controversial. I’ll be sticking with Weird Tales and hope things go up from here.

  59. Croaker1995
    Croaker199508-24-2012

    All of you make good points. Even Pandora was right. I didn’t know Weird Tales had ever stopped publishing. I’m new to this writing thing and from my point of view everything seems to be disappearing. I don’t mind kindles and ebooks, but it sure seems sad that we are headed down a paperless world. Magazines and books going straight to digital, but meanwhile, Verizon insists on leaving phonebooks at my parents’ door. I just don’t get it. Also, I have not read the book in question. I can’t say yay or nay. But it SOUNDS like the marketing of it is what is really amping up the argument right out of the gate. I dunno. Maybe if this version of WT does go under, someone can start WEIRD TALES REBORN, or MORE WEIRD TALES or WEIRDER TALES. Something that shows it’s a brand new game. Sorry, Pan, I feel like an idiot now. Well, it doesn’t help me that the logo on this version says “since 1923.” LOL

    I think, in the bigger picture, it’s a good thing at least this thing isn’t going to get showcased in WT.

    • Ari
      Ari08-24-2012

      Except that myself and others have repeatedly pointed out that the marketing materials are NOT the source of the controversy– they’re just icing on a really bad cake. The marketing materials isn’t what was going to get printed into WT, it was actual content from the book. Content from a book, which is horribly written AND racist and offensive. The book fails by literally every possible measure one could look for, whether the writer’s own intent (ending up writing something that sounds like it came from Stormfront when you meant to write an anti-racist novel is about as bad as it gets) or just bad plot conventions or clunky writing or flat, unlikeable characters.

  60. Ari
    Ari08-24-2012

    By the way, could the publisher or editor please unlock one of my earlier comments from a few days ago? It seems to have gotten stuck in moderation…?

    • L. Grabenstetter
      L. Grabenstetter08-24-2012

      Same, here… Unless Weird Tales finds the listing of competing publications offensive, there’s nothing in my held post to set off a moderator. I think they’re just trying to sweep this whole thread under the rug. Notice how it’s suddenly on the second page, despite there being no new blog posts.

  61. Pandora
    Pandora08-24-2012

    Incredible! ~Croaker~ you have ~come~ full circle, and I don’t mean merely bending to the herd’s pressure. I refer to your admitting you don’t know all the facts of a complex issue. Don’t feel like an idiot on my account. If I were to expect more from someone of your tender age (no offense) then ~I~ would be the idiot! I’m sure many of your newfound enemies are even now knee-jerk blogging your demise and decrying your easy forgiveness of the WT editor, proving themselves even MORE immature in this arena.

    I surmise you are only 16 or 17, correct? (When IS your birthday, btw? Exact time and location, for while I don’t believe in astrology, I cannot deny the powers of synchronicity.)

    I AM a purist, Croaker. Many are the times I have been maligned for refusing to bow to any version of WT post its glorious 1953 pulpicide. I routinely enjoyed arguments with George Scithers over his riding the ~coat tales~ of Weird Tales! Crispin Burnham loved to debate me about it as well. I treated both of them rather harshly but held the highest respect for their intellects.

    Your idea of altering the logo with additional wording is not altogether a bad one, for it WOULD serve as an instant demarcation of origin. But I fear the logo is so ingrained in fans that I don’t know if it would ever succeed in resonating with romantic fire so many feel. That was my main problem with the Vandermeerian “emoticonish” or “font soup” morph of the logo a while back. It was severing a thread of romance. While their intentions were good, it was CLEARLY an OBVIOUS mistake. I mean, for GOD’S SAKE, if one is claiming some ersatz bloodline, don’t completely DESTROY the COAT OF ARMS! Am I right? Of course I am.

    I digress.

    Despite my personal preference of the “golden age,” I do acknowledge the hope, the belief, the LOYALTY of authors who, to them, for all practical purposes, Weird Tales NEVER ceased to be an entity. I appreciate and adore the Lovecraft mythos and all it touches, including its fans.

    But to admit that WT survived past 1954? Alas, that gap is too far for even my cerebral boat to jaunt as it is dragged to the bottom of Styxian g(l)ory, forcing me to cavort with the angry skeletons of Baird, Wright, McIlwraith, et al.

    I am not haphazard, Croaker.

    Perhaps, you would do well doing as I usually do… don’t comment at all. Observe.

    Obviously, I’m making a large exception here, but it is in direct response to your activity and for your benefit only.

    I am elated by you enthusiasm. I would not wish you to be discouraged in your writing by an argument, that – let’s call a cuttlefish a cuttlefish – in which you should not be participating. Instead, focus on your craft and if at all possible, hold onto that flame, with statements like this ~~~~~~~> “I may be young, but I got pulp fiction in my veins.”

    Yes! Damn it!

    THAT attitude is all you need for now and you will be ahead of the game, because despite your age you, for some reason, appreciate the colorful and lengthy history of weird literature, even as those around you sit groveling before the latest video game or stroking an iPad. (shudder)

    Also, try to view HPL (or any writer for that matter) within the context of their time. If the “moon is a harsh mistress,” then hindsight must be some kind of backstabbing mother-in-law. (Speaking of “witch,” literally, one of the many reasons for my grand divorce from “he who is wolf-faced.” Read: Momma’s boy eternally strangulating on apron strings. Some “werewolf.”)

    It’s very easy to pass judgment on Twain, or HPL, or hundreds of well known authors who were formed under a different society’s vise. It’s also admirable that HPL in later years was ABLE to rise ABOVE his own prejudices. If anyone wants to judge him, he should be judged by that ability, for it is damned difficult to rise above social programming. He loved his Jewish wife with all of his necromantic heart to name but one achievement that contrasted to earlier behavior.

    Oftentimes, he was simply an aloof, overly sensitive bastard. I could go on, but you can explore all the views and biographies yourself and draw your own conclusions.

    But most importantly, keep writing, because your generation could easily grow up a bunch of “text tards” unable to write a single decent page of prose, let alone a short story. Again, you are ahead of the game here, Croaker, because of your desire to write.

    Don’t take any negative comments in this milieu personally. You came off as flippant, immature, etc. and it was sure to ignite a response. True, while some were ready to lynch you (how ironic) others were just as willing to enlighten you. If you are ever compelled to comment in a heated forum, first do your research. But even then, do you honestly believe Wikipedia will be able to accurately inform you of the current racial sensitivities of strangers on a forum board? Hardly. You would do better to go score some crack in Watts for insight.

    (I do kid here, Croaker.)

    I don’t have a canine in this scuffle, having long ceased writing short fiction and only sell novels, but to be DEADLY HONEST, I do hope WT swallows its tail and enters oblivion, so that those who insist some sort of golem femur baton passing has survived since ’54 will be forced to at last utter, “It is finished.” (until some yahoo starts it up again in 2040. Too far out in the future to still call it “Weird Tales”, some OCD drone chirps? Well that IS very closely the window of time dilation twixt the 1953 ending and the early 1970s reassignment. Welcome to my world.)

    Just hang on, kid. Unfortunately, things are going to become a lot worse in the publishing industry before things anything gets better. You stand at a strange cusp.

    Back into the shadows I fade, dear ~Croaker.~ Despite your immaturity, I find you refreshing and you remind me of myself some fifty plus years ago – though I was measurably more evolved.

    But boys will be boys.

    Inexorably.

    Pandora

    P.S. Copy this letter, print it, and save it. Someday, I t(h)rust you will burn it at my grave in homage. Of course, carrying paper may have become quite illegal at that point in the “sound and the fury” of an ~idiot~ bureaucracy.

    P.P.S.
    >>>>>CRACK!!!!!~~~~~~~~~> WT – Your chickens have come home to ROAST! It appears you’ve ordered the Extra Crispin crust versus the ’23 Original !? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I do amuse myself.

  62. J.R.
    J.R.08-25-2012

    I sincerely enjoyed your post, Pandora. It was, however, a little presumptuous to to unleash such a hound and not to expect it to come back. Well, half-presumptuous: for although you left little to argue, you left a great deal to be commented on.

    You remind me of a terrible old man who has overheard kids at play outside his house, opening the door to yell once or twice, and then slamming it shut thinking all is well. No, I don’t have eggs or toilet paper or whatever the consequences are to such a reaction. I’d leave well enough alone and respect your seclusion except that you’ve mentioned something quite close to my heart.

    The main thrust of this topic seems to have been sped, so I don’t mind asking why you believe that HPL deeply loved Sonia Greene. I have always considered her a tragic figure in the world of Lovecraft, a woman who loved a man that could never love her. I think that HPL did not properly love his wife, not on racial grounds or anything of the sort, but that it was beyond him to truly love anybody in a physical, bodily sense. I imagine him as being severely indifferent to the woman and her feelings, and I imagine it was with relief that he returned to Providence, content to be left well enough alone. Having read his letters and various biographies, I find very little to suggest that Sonia meant very much to him.

    There is, of course, her recollection of HPL saying: “My dear, you’ll never know quite what you mean to me.” My best interpretation of that is that he appreciated her company but knew that he would never be able to show or say what exactly his feelings were (feelings that I cannot believe were ever really that strong).

    I have always felt bad for the way things went between them. SHG made so many gestures on his behalf; HPL very few (and mediocre in scale). Sure, one could say that moving to New York was a huge gesture; but he realized his mistake. He loved Providence more than Sonia. Sonia would have gone back with him but his aunts forbade it and HPL did not care nearly enough to fight for her.

    I don’t speak for arguments sake, good Pandora. I am not an apologist of HPL. What I am is a fan of his work and I deeply admire facets of the man that he was. I’d like to believe that he loved his wife, but I don’t. I’d like to know why you think that he did.

    ***

    I’d like also to say that I agree with you about the previous logo. Emoticon soup was it? I got a real belly laugh out of that. As much as I hated the logo, now that I look back on things, I can’t imagine the classic logo superimposed atop the cover art they had going. Not to besmirch the cover art of the previous issues, but the style was not to my taste; however, the style of the logo seemed to match the style of the covers. I don’t have anything else to say about that.

  63. Croaker1995
    Croaker199508-25-2012

    Pandora, I am 16.

    My birthday is December 6, 1995, at 7:27 PM.

    I was born offshore on Catalina Island – Avalon, CA and lived there 8 years. Mom always says the moon was full and “important,” whatever that means. LOL.

    Is there a way I can contact you direct?

    • Xopher Halftongue
      Xopher Halftongue09-06-2012

      You were born on St. Nicholas’ Day! Well, that means something…not sure what, but it means something!

      Could your mom have said “Portunate” or “Portentious”?

      Congratulations on being able to admit you were wrong due to knowledge you didn’t have, and face that fact. Many a much-older person has twisted around under like circumstances, finding some excuse to believe he (almost always he) was “really” right in some tortuous sense obviously not contained in the original comment. It’s troll behavior, and I’m delighted that you refrained so forthrightly.

  64. Heidi Coppola
    Heidi Coppola08-26-2012

    I guess we’ve been lied to about Mr. Kaye making a statement about this debacle. Suppose he’s still traveling?

    Pretty pathetic that he won’t even make a public statement.

  65. Jessica Salmonson
    Jessica Salmonson08-30-2012

    I can understand why some people commenting here would without sufficient knowledge feel they must question Marvin’s experience as an editor to have found himself supporting a book a lot of people hate sight-unseen, and then having to backtrack. I can only guess the angry charges come from people who have not actually read any of his many Doubleday Book Club anthologies which are well above the average for such work. His experience within, enthusiasm for, and deep knowledge of weird fiction is not questionable. He’s one of the best.

    It certainly is embarrassing to have to backtrack — if committed to an offensive piece of creative writing, the embarrassment is to backtrack, not to have initially committed. If Marv decides ever to explain himself — and I don’t think he needs to actually — I’m sure it’d make good enough sense, just not worth dragging out.

    From what I can judge from afar, Marv has never lost his devotion for new writers (this can be a fault in itself unless you are one), nor his open-mindedness for tough and daring ideas and styles, even while having a distinct leaning toward the traditional. The book in question does not sound like one I’d ever go near but if Marv thought it worked itself out effectively, I would tend to believe that’s likely the case. And I’m an oldster, so I remember when Mandingo-type fetish romance novels were newsstand regulars, racist as all hell but not worthless for publication, and not entirely behind us either.

    I can imagine a frame of mind, reading a modernized revisit of the Mandingo type of racist romanticism, and think, gosh, how daring is that, and only later realize it is perhaps a bit late in literary history to repeat such offenses. Though we live in Republican times and there’s bound to be an audience for psychosocial fantasizing from out of the past.

    J.A.S.

    • katz
      katz09-03-2012

      Marv’s experience is not the question here. He has made an abysmally bad decision and that makes him, ipso facto, a worse editor than the many who have not made such terrible decisions.

      • JW
        JW09-15-2012

        Well spoken for a 10 year old. If you’re not a 10 year old, how embarrassing

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