An eminent US fantasy magazine’s decision to publish an extract from a young adult novel, which features a minority white race called the Pearls that is dominated by the black race of the Coals, has been widely described as racist and attacked by readers, reviewers and authors.
Victoria Foyt’s self-published novel ‘Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls Part One’, which was published by Weird Tales magazine, is set in a dystopian future where solar radiation means the Coals (with dark skin) can survive better than the fair-skinned Pearls.
Pearls cover their white skin with dark make-up, and the black love interest of the 17-year-old white heroine Eden – shown in blackface make-up on the front cover and in promotional videos – is described as a “powerful, beastly man”.
“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!” the Guardian quoted Foyt as writing at one point.
The novel has been the subject of widespread attacks across the internet, with readers criticising it as "incredibly racist to pretty much every reader. especially “readers of colour”, and as a “white supremacist fantasy”.
“The coals/pearls contrast is itself offensive: after all, coal is dirty and cheap, whereas pearls are beautiful and valuable,” one blogger wrote.
Some readers have said they are considering boycotting the magazine.
Foyt, who self-published Revealing Eden but has previously been published by HarperCollins, has defended herself on Facebook and in blog posts, saying that she “abhor[s] racism”, that the book has received many positive reviews, and “if you ask if all these reviewers are white then consider that you have a racist point of view”.