A Harvest of Native American Fantasy

From: The Great Travelling Round Table of Fantasy Bloggers

green grassWay of Horn and Thunderbilly badass

The month of November is reminiscent of orange-ringed harvest moons, piles of flying leaves and succulent dishes… For some it calls to mind the Norman Rockwell moment frozen in time when Pilgrims and “Indians” sat down to dinner in a picture-perfect afternoon of brotherly love, peace and thanksgiving.

I instead envision Native American writers moving through the stacks of speculative fiction. So I thought it would be particularly apt in November to showcase the harvest of Native American SF/fantasy that I recently became acquainted with: The Ballad of Billy Badass and the Rose of Turkestan, written by Cherokee author William Sanders, Green Grass, Running Water by Cherokee author Albert King, and The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Cherokee author Daniel Heath Justice.

The Ballad of Billy Badass is a literary protest of the crimes against Native American peoples woven into a tale of a battle against preternatural evil. In Green Grass, Running Water fantasy and myth are humorously used to explore the middle ground between the modern and the traditional. And The Way of Thorn and Thunder is a high fantasy journey that address the destruction of Indigenous magic and culture by conquest– a journey which has been described as just as epic as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Thus, Sanders, King and Justice use science fiction and fantasy quite brilliantly to create a dialogue between past and present… sociopolitical dialogue which is perhaps even more effective because it is spoken through the mouths of their characters.

Writing is transformative. We transform the past and present through the power of written words whether through our characters’ raucous laughter, cries of rage, lonely voices in the wilderness, or sobs of melancholy. In doing so we inform the future. This is just as true of science fiction/fantasy authors as of any other genre. As writers, we give birth to ourselves and our experiences–often making statements about the world around us whether we intend to or not. This, I believe, is our greatest harvest. Our gift, our offering to the world.

Unquestionably it is something to be thankful for.

Valjeanne Jeffers is a SF/fantasy writer and a graduate of Spelman College. She is the author of the Immortal series and The Switch II: Clockwork (this volume includes The Switch I and The Switch II). Valjeanne has been published in numerous anthologies including: Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction, Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, and Steamfunk! (in press). She is also co-owner of Q &V Affordable Editing.

Contact Valjeanne Jeffers at these sites: http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com

and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com

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