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Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  242 ratings  ·  46 reviews
In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by au ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by University of Arizona Press
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Dec 05, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: indigenous
AWW YEAH. This will be read after finals.
A quick gripe:
Really, REALLY side-eyeing Charles De Lint's "review" on the back.
"Though I'm not usually a fan of anthologies compiled by race, sex, etc., this book is so good that I'm happy to have these stories collected together however it came about. Don't read this because they're stories by Native American writers. Read them because they're damn good stories by damn good writers."

Did he actually read it? Does he know that "Indigenous" doesn't just m
Jun 14, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: author-of-color
dnf at 170 pgs

i just think this went over my head - the language in the prefaces to each story was VERY academic. the stories i read were all either barely science fiction or nearly incomprehensibly science fiction. it didnt help that the majority of the stories were selections from longer books (rather than short stories) that required a LOT of context to parse

TLDR unfortunately, this collection wasn't for me. someone looking for an academic science fiction anthology might love it though!
Kyle Aisteach
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a fascinating academic text. Dillion does a beautiful job creating a survey of Native American speculative fiction, weaving insightful commentary throughout.

Unfortunately, this book's greatest weakness is as an anthology. Very few of the included works are standalone short stories. The overwhelming majority are excerpts from longer works. And although Dillon did a good job of selecting excerpts that make sense out of context, the book feels like a series of pointers to novels that we sh
Ed Erwin
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sf
Took me ages and I still never finished it. I guess the problem is that it is mostly excerpts from longer works rather than complete stories. Or maybe I've just had too many other things grabbing my attention.

I'm glad to have read the excerpt from "Midnight Robber". I don't think I'll read the rest of that book. The only author here I will likely seek out in future is Sherman Alexie.
Ai Miller
A solid collection and introduction to indigenous sci-fi. It's worth noting that at this stage, this functions maybe more as a kind of potential space for foundations for indigenous sci-fi, rather than necessarily a place to explore new works or authors; there's been a huge amount of work put out after this (especially in the young adult arenas) that might be worth checking out if you're looking to avoid, say, Sherman Alexie's work. Nevertheless, Dillon's analysis and introductions are very soli ...more
Jessica Maginity
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This anthology opened worlds to me. Grace Dillon takes us across a broad landscape of subgenres and perspectives and offers commentary I found enlightening and just thorough enough. She sent me scurrying to add books to my "to read" list every few stories.
Full Stop
Jun 12, 2014 added it
Shelves: summer-2012

Review by Lindsey Catherine Cornum

For the geeky Indian tired of reading and watching science fiction about white heroes conquering red planets, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction is what the recent release of The New Yorker Science Fiction Issue was for other nerdy types—the validation of something that has for too long been ignored. In this case, not just the perennially-overlooked Indigenous voices but the weird Indigenous voi
❄Elsa Frost❄
This is a fantastic idea for an anthology, no doubt about it. It's a collection of Indigenous Science Fiction. This means that it includes Native Americans, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maoris. A great thing, to be certain. I wanted to read not only from the perspectives I'm more familiar with--such as Native American groups from the U.S. and Tainos from the Caribbean--, but also from other Natives of other locations. This offered that variety of perspectives, and I'm gr ...more
Dan Clore
Not just a science fiction anthology on a particular theme, as the editor used her expertise in Science Fiction Studies and Indigenous Nations Studies to take a cross-disciplinary approach that allowed her to put together a selection of first-rate science fiction (or science fictional) short stories and novel excerpts whose theme broadens the scope of the genre.

The authors come from various Indigenous backgrounds (Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal, Maori, sometimes intersecting with Afr
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story

:\ Was really hoping to like this a lot more!!! It is so, so, so off-puttingly disjointedly academic in a weird way; I kept having to reread passages in the intro and intros because I just could not make head nor tail of what was being said. It felt messy, like someone's thesis that could have stood a SIGHT more editing. And, as many other people have stated, don't be fooled: this is not actually a short story anthology; MOST of the entries are excerpts from longer novels, and most of those s
Sérgio Pelado
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Walking the Clouds" provides a quintessential point-of-view to the sci-fi lover, focusing entirely on fiction written by those to whom the Apocalypse has already happened: Indigenous people.

Indigenous North-American, Caribbean and even Maori sci-fi writers reflect, on their futurist tales and novels, on the centuries of oppression at the hands of the self-proclaimed superior civilization, i.e. Euro/Western colonizers, and how Indigenous knowledge has so much to offer to a World which rapidly pl
Emma Gerts
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This was sadly a little middle of the road for me. That's not necessarily because of any weakness of the stories themselves, but more the way this was structured. Because more often than not, these actually weren't short stories, but many of them were excerpts from novels. Which I feel like is not quite the same reading experience as a collection of short stories, and not one I'm specifically fond of. Scenes from a novel are meant to be read as part of a novel, where short stories are designed t ...more
Pat MacEwen
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting introduction to spec fic by indigenous authors, mostly North American but also including Maori, Australian Aboriginal and Caribbean voices. Some of it was enthralling, to me, though I don't normally care that much for the slipstream approach in anybody's fiction. Magic realism sometimes works for me, and sometimes doesn't, which is probably more a reflection on me and my addiction to traditional story structure than the works themselves. I was especially impressed with work by Nal ...more
"I don't read a lot of sci-fi" is a lie I tell people. In reality, I don't read a lot of the typical (white male) sci-fi canon.

This anthology is made up of stories from communities I am not privy to, communities my knowledge of is pretty shallow, even though I live on land that belonged to the Dakota people before it was stolen by white settlers.

So this is a warning for white people: this book will not be kind to us. This is a book about contact and land and scars. Some stories are harder than
Valerie Gazelle
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really excited to get my hands on this book and get a glimpse of speculative fiction and sci fi from a different perspective.

Unfortunately, this anthology mostly includes exceprts from novels and in the end just comes across as disjointed and kind of a chore to slog through. Instead of inspiring one to search further and read the source material, I felt disinterested by the vast majority of the works, and I feel like that may be the antithesis of an anthology
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great collection. Really well organized, with great framing in the introductions to the volume and the individual selections. My one complaint is that it's a little heavy on novel excerpts rather than short stories, and I often felt that I wasn't getting enough context to fully appreciate the excerpts. On the other hand I now have a dozen new novels on my "to read" list.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
There are some incredible stories in this anthology. 'Custer on the Slipstream' and 'Men on the Moon' are two extremely powerful and fascinating examples. Unfortunately, Grace L. Dillon's forewards do little to provide the necessary context for understanding the excerpts from novels. This makes reading the excerpts provided frequently frustrating and confusing.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
I loved this book. Also, some of the stories were excerpts from novels, so it gave me a lot of further reading material to explore! My favorite novel excerpt was from Red Spider, White Web, and my favorite short story was Men on the Moon.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I expected a whole lot more out of this anthology collection of stories.
As soon as I realized it contained mostly excerpts from full books rather than self-contained short stories, my interest in reading it diminished.
It gives an okay idea of the writers that are out there, but I was so lost & disinterested in the included excerpts.
The few stand-alone short stories were great though.
Holly Mcentee
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This was more of an academic textbook than a fun collection of stories to read (many of the stories were excerpts from longer works). Nonetheless I enjoyed sampling authors I'd not read before, and I do appreciate having a look at a non-WASP approach to science fiction.
Michael Kilman
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent text got exploring a unique perspective on the future. It gave me a number of things to think about that I had not considered as either an academic or a sci-fi writer. I highly recommend this book.
Marcia Chapman
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Speculative fiction is an interesting way to address issues of colonialism and the experience of indigenous peoples. As with all collections of short stories some were better than others. My favorite was the one by Nalo Hopkinson but many were good.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: indigenous
A look a indigenous science fiction - with some discussion about what that means - selections from books and stories on this theme. I had actually hoped for a collection of short stories so I was slightly disappointed - although I now have a few more books and authors on my - to read list.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The stories and excerpts are excellent, but the anthology is written as a textbook with lots of introductory material that was of little value to me.
Anne Skelding
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fine collection. I have added many of the novels that were excerpted to my to-read pile.
Katie Anne
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Good start point if you want to discover some indigenous sf authors but the snippets can be confusing and the intros heavy/dry
Jenn Cavanaugh
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
A good cross-section for study, but too many excerpts of longer works to actually get into and enjoy. Now I have to read Refugees, though, and everything by Sherman Alexie.
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very varied book, with a lot of different narrative styles represented in the different stories. The first section focuses on an approach called "slipstream", where lots of different times and places interweave. I have to say it's an approach I didn't really get, but expect that were one fluent in such a tradition they would be interesting. Of the rest of the collection, the ones I particularly enjoyed are as follows.

Flight: this is about a young native person dealing with the trauma o
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
bought this in Minneapolis at Birchbark Books, a wonderful store owned by Louise Erdrich (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe/Chippewa) with a huge section on Native American and Indigenous authors and subjects. a terrific sampler in native SF - as an anthology many of the pieces are intriguing excerpts and some too snippeted to catch ahold of me.
but honestly what was most engaging was just thinking about these authors writing these stories - I'm quite familiar with anti-oppression, postcolonial, and intersectio
Mark Webb
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
My reading of Walking the Clouds was a bit piecemeal, reading most of the essays and some of the accompanying stories. It is not, as I initially thought, an anthology of short stories. Mostly Dillon has selected extracts from longer works that illustrate the points being made in the introductory essays. The focus seems to be more North American, but there are a good scattering of selections from indigenous populations around the world. I haven’t approached it in a comprehensive enough way to wri ...more
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