This newspaper clipping is making the rounds:
What appalled me the most when I read this was not its complete sociopolitical wrongheadedness but the giant logic holes. If all whites have been put on reservations, why is Chester’s grandson (who identifies as white) still living in the family home in California? Why can we afford shuttles to the moon but not food for the starving nation? Why is there more food on the moon than on Earth? Why do people on the moon not know who the U.S. president is or what’s happening on Earth? Why would the legalization of plural marriage mean that someone would be forced to marry people he didn’t want to marry? What sort of rotten grandfather would miss not one but all five of his grandson’s weddings? And that’s a classic “as you know, Bob” paragraph of expository dialogue there–cut and reword, please!
I think it’s pretty funny that I can so easily look past the stupendously flawed premise to critique the way it’s developed, but it’s also sobering. I wonder how many other editors and critics out there let content problems slide, or miss them altogether, while hammering on structural matters. That would explain how a lot of problematic books get published, come to think of it. This is a good reminder to those of us who edit and critique SF/F to dig down below comma placement and character development, and make sure the heart of the story is sound.
(While we’re checking our credulity at the door, let’s not forget to verify our sources. This letter does indeed appear to have run in the June 14 edition of The La Jolla Light; you can see the whole paper on Issuu here, and find the letter on page A19. A complete transcript is at the Gawker page linked from the top of this entry.)