Take Us to Your Chief, Drew Hayden Taylor (2016)
This is the book of comedic, Indigenous, science fiction short stories I didn’t know I needed! In this collection, Taylor (who was raised in the Curve Lake First Nations (Mississauga Ojibway)) uses the well-known tropes of classic science fiction — first contact, space isolation, artificial intelligence, superheroes, portals — to tell wonderful, highly entertaining, and insightful stories with a characteristically ironic Indigenous twist. I enjoyed all of the stories in the collection, but some highlights for me were “A Culturally Inappropriate Armageddon,” “I Am … Am I,” and “Petropaths.”
I also recently read Taylor’s novel Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (2010), in which a Trickster figure upends life in an Indigenous community, and it was also well worth reading, so I encourage you to pick that one up too!
An interesting cross-cultural parallel for interested parties might be some of Nnedi Okorafor’s Africanfuturist writings (her Binti trilogy of novellas would be a good place to start).
Read this if you’re interested in:
- Golden Age science fiction
- Indigenous literature
- Decolonizing literature
- Own Voices
My Rating, 10/10
- Handbook for an Integrated Life, Sharon Schneider (New Release 2022), 9/10: It may seem impossible to go against the flow of our culture of more, but in this helpful book, the author shares some general principles and concrete ideas for how to live in a way that has greater alignment between values and actions. While the principles and ideas are universal, this will be of particular use for American readers, since many of the specific resources are American in scope. (Sustainability, Values Integration, Ecology, Economics)
- Still Life, Sarah Winman (2021), 6.5/10: This novel, about a group of eclectic English misfit expats living in Italy in the middle decades of the twentieth century, was well-written, but didn’t quite work for me. There were some wonderfully drawn scenes — such as the opening set in the waning days of WWII in Italy and the aftermath of the 1966 flood of the Arno — but, if I’m honest, it didn’t hold my attention in the way I’d have hoped and expected. (20th Century, English Expatriates, Italy, LGBTQ2S+)
- A Little Bit Country, Brian D. Kennedy (2022), 8/10: This is a heart-warming, charming gay YA romance set in a Dollywood-esque theme park. Emmett, an out-and-proud aspiring country singer from suburban Chicago falls for Luke, a closeted aspiring chef overwhelmed by family responsibilities and daunted by the conservative mindset of his town and family. I enjoyed this book, but feel that it tried to do a bit too much. (YA, Romance, LGBTQ2S+, Townies and Outsiders, Coming of Age, Coming Out)
- I Am Ace: Advice on Living Your Best Asexual Life, Cody Daigle-Orians (Advanced Review Copy, scheduled to be released January 2023), 10/10: This book provides an excellent and accessible introduction to asexuality and the asexual spectrum. In addition to those questioning their sexuality, I would highly recommend this book to educators, parents, and anyone who wants a better window into this under-represented and misunderstood group (LGBTQ2S+, Asexuality/A-Spec, Own Voices)
- Chike and the River, Chinua Achebe (1966), 7/10: This is a charming slice-of-life story about a Nigerian boy who moves to a new city and dreams of crossing the river. (Nigeria, Postcolonial Literature, Children’s Literature)
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