Indigenous Science Fiction

December 22, 2022 | Jamie

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January 2 every year is National Science Fiction Day. Science Fiction is “a form of fiction that deals … with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals.” Starting around the time of the Industrial Revolution, some well-known authors in science fiction include H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury.

Indigenous authors write in various genres, including science fiction. Below, I’m sharing just a few Indigenous contributions to science fiction in celebration of National Science Fiction Day! Want to read more Indigenous science fiction books, maybe even watch a film or two? Check out this shared list, which has more items than is listed in this blog post.

Please note that when an author or contributor is Indigenous, their nation will be in brackets next to their name. All summaries, except where noted, are from TPL’s catalogue.

Books

Moon of the Crusted Snow

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (Anishinaabeg)

"A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice. With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again."

The Reckoner Rises Volume 1 Breakdown

The Reckoner Rises. Volume 1, Breakdown by David Robertson (Cree), illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, Andrew Thomas and Donovan Yaciuk

"Cole and Eva arrive in Winnipeg intent on destroying Mihko Laboratories. Their plans change when a new threat surfaces and Cole has terrifying visions. Are these just troubled dreams or are they leading him to a terrifying truth? Will Eva be able to harness her powers to continue the investigation without him?"

Other titles in The Reckoner Rises series are also available to borrow.

Love Beyond Body  Space  and Time

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time : an Indigenous LGBT sci-fi anthology edited by Hope Nicholson

"Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is an anthology of science fiction and urban fantasy stories starring First Nations and Métis characters with a LGBT and two-spirit theme." This title features authors such as Cherie Dimaline (Métis), Nathan Adler (Saulteaux), Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee), Mari Kurisato (Saulteaux), Darcie Little Badger (Lipan Apache) and more!

The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Métis)

"In a future world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's indigenous population - and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow - and dreams - means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a 15-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones, and take refuge from the "recruiters" who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing 'factories.'"

Other titles in The Marrow Thieves series are also available to borrow.

Take Us To Your Chief : And Other Stories

Take Us To Your Chief : And Other Stories by Drew Hayden Taylor (Anishinaabeg)

"A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective."

A Girl Called Echo Volume 1 Pemmican Wars

A Girl Called Echo. Volume 1, Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette (Métis), illustrated by Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk

"Echo Desjardins, a 13 year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her feelings of loneliness while attending a new school and living with a new foster family. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee's history class turns extraordinary and Echo's life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee's lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place--a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie--and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars."

Films

Want to watch some Indigenous Science Fiction films? You can watch some for free on Kanopy, just log in using your library card.

Fille under miscellaneous

File Under Miscellaneous by Jeff Barnaby (Mi'kmaq)

"A short film set in a dystopian future where Natives undergo gruesome surgery to fit into the dominant white culture. Inspired by Pablo Neruda's poem 'Walking Around.'" It is available to watch for free on Kanopy with a TPL library card.

Night Raiders

Night Raiders (DVD) by Danis Goulet (Cree-Métis)

"In the year 2043, in a dystopian future, a military occupation controls disenfranchised cities in post-war North America. Children are considered property of the regime, which trains them to fight. A desperate Cree woman joins an underground band of vigilantes to infiltrate a State children's academy and get her daughter back. A parable about the experience of the Indigenous peoples of North America, this is a female-driven sci-fi drama about resilience, courage and love."

Also available to watch for free on Kanopy with a TPL library card.


Check out these titles and more in our Indigenous Science Fiction list! What is your favourite science fiction story by an Indigenous author? 

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