American Indian Heritage Month
The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends the following speculative fiction books by writers of First Nations/Native American heritage for American Indian Heritage Month:
- THE WAY OF THORN AND THUNDER trilogy, Daniel Heath Justice
This trilogy speculatively re-imagines the Cherokee history of removal and relocation and redefines European fantastical tropes using Cherokee-centered imagery and worldviews.
- GREEN GRASS, RUNNING WATER Thomas King
One of the best books I’ve ever read: a funny, sad, gorgeous story that ties together a contemporary narrative about Indians living on Canada’s prairies with slightly skewed creation myths and accounts of the historical horrors endured by First Nations people during the continent’s European colonization
- THE BALLAD OF BILLY BADASS AND THE ROSE OF TURKESTAN, William Sanders
A wry love story that also incorporates critiques of nuclear testing and dumping on Native lands.
- EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF FORT SMITH, William Sanders
A collection of short stories from Sanders’ entire career. You can see some of his best here, including the alternate history “The Undiscovered,” in which a shanghaied, shipwrecked Shakespeare is trapped in 16th Century Appalachia and must stage his plays among the Cherokee, and the near-future “When the World is All on Fire” when climate change and toxic waste have caused Indian reservations to become prime property again.
- ALMANAC OF THE DEAD, Leslie Marmon Silko
Silko uses magical realism to chronicle numerous characters’ journeys toward the prophetic, violent end of white dominance in the Americas.
- TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith
A departure from Smith’s previous, realistic Indian YA stories, this YA novel jumps onto the vampire bandwagon, this time in a vampire-themed restaurant in Texas.
- THE BONE WHISTLE, Eva Swan (Erzebet Yellowboy)
The Bone Whistle is about a woman who discovers her true heritage. She is the child of a wanaghi, one of the creatures of Native-American folklore.
- THE NIGHT WANDERER, Drew Hayden Taylor
A gothic young adult vampire story.
- THE LESSER BLESSED, Richard Van Camp
A coming-of-age story of a native Canadian boy obsessed with Iron Maiden. Has elements of magical realism.
- BEARHEART: THE HEIRSHIP CHRONICLES, Gerald Vizenor
Perhaps the first Native American science fiction, this is a journey through a dystopian future United States destroyed by the collapse of the fuel supply.