Indigenous Speculative Fiction Definitions & Questions

Below are definitions of Indigenous speculative fiction brainstormed at the end of term by students in English 373: Indigenous Speculative Fiction. You can read the syllabus for that class, including the reading list that these definitions are built from, here.

We began the course with this simple definition of sf:

Speculative fiction uses genre conventions (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc) to amplify, examine, and critique contemporary sociopolitical crises.

These are a few of the definition we wrapped up with. 

  1. Indigenous SF is a sub genre of speculative fiction that explores and reimagines Indigenous futurism through technology, the environment, and community. It applies a post colonial lens to contentions social issues and stresses a desire-based framework for Indigenous storytelling.
  2. Indigenous SF is stories that centralize Indigenous peoples’ survivance in the future, by using Indigenous world views to challenge settler colonialism, racism, and environmental violence.
  3. Indigenous SF is a desire-based framework of literature which is concerned with centring Indigenous subjectivity. It envisions and examines non-linear notions of time, deconstructs colonial projects of oppression and works to re-imagine and guarantee Indigenous futurisms.
  4. Indigenous SF is reclaiming the past and redefining the future. It replaces settler colonial linear time structures with circular time and refutes harmful Western tropes in SF.

    We also worked on some questions for further investigation:

    A. What potential does Indigenous sf hold for decolonizing CanLit?

    B. What are the ethical ways to engage with Indigenous SF?

    C. What does Indigenous SF look like that is NOT land-based

    D.) Do we already live in the dystopia? Is the apocalypse a lived experience?

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