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Take Us To Your Chief And Other Stories

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A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction--from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor's First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a "good Native" in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.

Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.

160 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2016

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About the author

Drew Hayden Taylor

50 books209 followers
During the last thirty years of his life, Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright (with over 70 productions of his work), a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably, he wrote and directed REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada.

He has traveled to sixteen countries around the world, spreading the gospel of Native literature to the world. Through many of his books, most notably the four volume set of the FUNNY, YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE ONE series, he has tried to educate and inform the world about issues that reflect, celebrate, and interfere in the lives of Canada's First Nations.

Self described as a contemporary story teller in what ever form, last summer saw the production of the third season of MIXED BLESSINGS, a television comedy series he co-created and is the head writer for. This fall, a made-for-tv movie he wrote, based on his Governor General's nominated play was nominated for three Gemini Awards, including Best Movie. Originally it aired on APTN and opened the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and the Dreamspeakers Film Festival in Edmonton.

The last few years has seen him proudly serve as the Writer-In-Residence at the University of Michigan and the University of Western Ontario. In 2007, Annick Press published his first Novel, THE NIGHT WANDERER: A Native Gothic Novel, a teen novel about an Ojibway vampire. Two years ago, his non-fiction book exploring the world of Native sexuality, called ME SEXY, was published by Douglas & McIntyre. It is a follow up to his highly successful book on Native humour, ME FUNNY.

The author of 20 books in total, he is eagerly awaiting the publication of his new novel in February by Random House as "One of the new faces of fiction for 2010", titled MOTORCYCLES AND SWEETGRASS. In January, his new play, DEAD WHITE WRITER ON THE FLOOR, opens at Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay. Currently, he is working on a new play titled CREES IN THE CARRIBEAN, and a collection of essays called POSTCARDS FROM THE FOUR DIRECTIONS. More importantly, he is desperately trying to find the time to do his laundry.

Oddly enough, the thing his mother is most proud of is his ability to make spaghetti from scratch.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,477 reviews603 followers
May 30, 2023
I loved this collection of nine science fiction short stories told from the perspective of Indigenous people. They include common ScFi topics: hostile invaders from outer space, friendly alien visitors, time travel, artificial intelligence, life in a planetary space colony, a dystopian future, all told through the viewpoint and involvement of Indigenous characters. The author displays much wit and wisdom in his writing.

The short story collection is written with a great sense of humour, pathos and social issues. The stories contain a very clever blend of 1950s style ScFi and traditional Indigenous beliefs. Past and present realities of native life are united with current and future technology.

The author, Drew Hayden Taylor is an Objibway from Curve Lake First Nations, Ontario. He has had a lifelong love for ScFi. His goal, as a First Nation writer, is to expand the boundaries of what is considered Indigenous literature. He writes that Indigenous literature usually focuses on historical or victim themes and the resulting post-contact stress disorders.

“ What people in North America have a better understanding of technologically advanced strangers showing up and taking over everything?”

I thoroughly enjoyed these short stories and will be adding his other books to my Want to Read list.
Profile Image for Krista.
1,368 reviews544 followers
February 6, 2017
In both his Foreword and Acknowledgments, author Drew Hayden Taylor enthuses about his lifelong love of science fiction and his long-held desire to curate a collection of sci-fi short stories told from a Native perspective (adding that he decided to write the entire collection himself when an anthology from various Native writers proved impossible), and this enthusiasm for classic sci-fi is evident on every page of TAKE US TO YOUR CHIEF. On the surface, this means that most of these stories rely on familiar tropes, but it's undeniable that the Native lens adds a certain fresh perspective.

How many times has a character in a book or movie, at the moment of impending first contact with an alien race, pray that the aliens will treat Earthlings better than the Europeans treated every people they ever colonized? (How fortunate no one was using this land. You people can go stand over there. And here's some smallpox blankets to keep you warm and thin your numbers.) It's a nice bit of irony, then, to consider what contact with extraterrestrials might mean to Native peoples who have lived through this before. With this particular trope, Taylor spins the idea of first contact in two directions. In A Culturally Inappropriate Armageddon, Part 2, the “ancient” Willie Whitefish shakes his head at those who are throwing welcoming parties as spaceships approach the planet:

On his night table, Willie had piled a collection of books about the colonization of North America – everything from Columbus straight through the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, the Trail of Tears, to the impact of the sale of Alaska on the Inuit and the Aleutians. He had watched documentaries about the Beothuk and the Carib people, nations destroyed because of the arrival of new people with new ways of killing. It was a tough and sordid history of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal conflict. Part of him had become permanently angry the more he read, cursing the fact he'd learned to read. But another part of his soul just shook its head in disbelief at what evil humans do to others, and what others let be done to them. Montezuma and that king of the Incas were way too trusting. They should have known better.

And at the end of the collection, in the titular Take Us to Your Chief, a methane-scented, calamari-armed, slime-beast plays the idea of contact for laughs:

As is protocol, our Grand Council has instructed me to request that you, as leader of this great planet, designate an ambassador to return with us to Kaaw Wiyaa to facilitate a cultural exchange and begin negotiations. As a goodwill gesture, we would be willing to construct sizable stone pyramids, or assist in the erection of enormous stone heads, or create giant stone circular calendars, as per your customs. We humbly await your decision.

Taylor also uses humour deftly in Mr. Gizmo; a story about a Kwakwaka'wakw teenager who is contemplating suicide until the spirits inhabiting the things in his bedroom come to life, as objects traditionally did in his people's stories:

There's been a lot of talk among us lately, about where you young people have been going these days. Years, actually. Yeah, ever since the People of Pallor – that's what we call them – arrived, things have been kind of tough for your people. Actually, all First Nations people. Sort of a hangover of the colonized. We call it PCSD – post-contact stress disorder. But, buddy, enough is enough.

On the one hand, I wondered if that would really have been considered a “science fiction” story if if hadn't been a toy robot that was doing all the talking – are Native spiritual beliefs equivalent to science? – but I was persuaded of that position by the next story, Petropaths; about a troubled young man who learns the secret of time travel from the thousand-year-old rock carvings on a cliff face; what a perfect blend of traditional beliefs and science fiction trope.

In some places, it felt like Hayden went a bit overboard with moralising about the modern Native situation – in Dreams of Doom, a community newspaper reporter discovers a government plot to root out Native activism through bugged dreamcatchers; in Superdisappointed, a Native man develops (government-suppressed) superpowers from the mouldy housing and contaminated water on his Reserve, as though the “Earth is beginning to fight back” – but just because these ideas rankled me doesn't mean they aren't valid Native concerns. I thought that Stars, about three Natives from different periods in time who contemplate the night stars in different-but-the-same ways, was quietly lovely, and I loved the question posed in Lost in Space: if a connection to the physical land is such an important part of Native identity, where does that leave the Native astronaut? And even bigger questions are posed by I Am...Am I, about an emerging AI that begins to identify with Native spirituality, to its own detriment.

In the Acknowledgments, Hayden notes that he wrote these stories very quickly after deciding to just proceed with the project on his own. That may explain why I didn't find the writing to be consistently exceptional throughout, and so far as using the sci-fi genre as a tool for social commentary, I didn't find many new ideas here. In the end, Hayden wanted the world to have a collection of sci-fi stories with a Native outlook, and in that he succeeded. Enjoyment of the actual product may vary.
Profile Image for Aidan.
Author 12 books194 followers
April 7, 2017
Collectively, these stories expose and address the many complicated challenges faced by modern aboriginal communities, and through the unrelenting forward-thinking optimism of science fiction, Taylor looks to the future for answers. Take Us to Your Chief is a unique collection that offers a potent reminder of why science fiction is one of the most critical literary mediums.
Profile Image for Ai Miller.
576 reviews36 followers
February 18, 2019
A solid collection; Taylor manages to hit up many subgenres within sci-fi, and also make First Nations issues clear. The stories kind of all have the same voice (which makes sense, since he's written all of them) but I would say the plots are different enough that they don't all feel the same, necessarily. Some are very funny, and some are deeply moving (the one about the man in space whose grandfather has died in particular jumps out at me) and some are tense. It's a short, solid collection for sure. I also LOVED the note in the acknowledgements re: (not) using Kanien'kehá:ka stories and what that means, and I'd encourage writers to read that and think about it, for sure. If you like sci-fi, and you want a little taste of a bunch of different flavors of sci-fi, this is definitely recommended.
683 reviews10 followers
November 10, 2018
Take Us to Your Chief is a collection of science fiction short stories by Ojibwe novelist and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor. While I don’t see any reason why the thought of an indigenous writer working in the science fiction genre should raise any eyebrows, Taylor felt his choice deserved some explanation, because he says in his Introduction: “Part of my journey in this life both as a First Nations individual and as a writer is to expand the boundaries of what is considered Native literature. I have always believed that literature should reflect all the different aspects and facets of life. There is more to the Indigenous existence than negative social issues and victim narratives. Thomas King has a collection of Aboriginal murder mysteries. Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm has published an assortment of Indigenous erotica, and Daniel Heath Justice has written a trilogy of adventure novels featuring elves and other fantastic characters. Out of sheer interest and a growing sense of excitement, I wanted to go where no other (well, very few) Native writers had gone before. Collectively, we have such broad experiences and diverse interests. Let’s explore that in our literature. Driving home my point, we have many fabulous and incredibly talented writers in our community, but some critics might argue our literary perspective is a little too predictable—of a certain limited perspective. For example, a lot of Indigenous novels and plays tend to walk a narrow path specifically restricted to stories of bygone days. Or angry/dysfunctional aspects of contemporary First Nations life. Or the hangover problems resulting from centuries of colonization. All worthwhile and necessary reflections of Aboriginal life for sure. But I wonder why it can’t be more?”

Whether these story push the envelop of Indigenous writing is not for me to say. What I will say is that I’m very happy Taylor decided to write them, because they are good reading, and provide a different, and welcome, perspective to the sometimes unbearable whiteness of science fiction.

These stories run the gamut of moods, from uplifting to terrifying, as science fiction does. In “A Culturally Inappropriate Apocalypse,” a community radio station on a Kanienké’hà:ka reserve plays a found-by-chance collection of recordings of traditional songs, some so old no one remembers what their purpose was - such as the strange and eerie “Calling Song,” which calls something that was best left forgotten. In “I Am” an artificial intelligence comes to identify with indigenous peoples around the world - and their fates at the hands of white colonialists. In “Dreams of Doom,” a young Ojibway reporter accidentally stumbles on a government plot far worse than assimilation or title extinction. “Petropaths” is a fascinating cautionary tale about exploring powers you do not understand. “Superdisillusioned” tells the story of an Ojibway man mutated by the environmental conditions in his home on the reserve.

But not all is sorrow and loss, although the theme of the traumas of Indigenous people are woven into all of these stories to some degree - as indeed they are inevitably a part of Indigenous life. In “Lost in Space” a part Anishinaabe astronaut finds a way to reconnect with his people despite his being far from Turtle Island. “Mr. Gizmo” addresses the epidemic of suicides among Indigenous youth with a miraculous - and incongruous - spirit intervention. “Stars” links a chain of young men who have looked up at the skies in wonder. In “Take Me to Your Chief,” aliens land on a reserve, only to meet three older men who are known for doing little other than sitting in the porch and enjoying beer in the sunlight - but the encounter works out surprisingly well.

Many of these stories are set in the fictional Ojibway community of Otter Lake, where Taylor has set many of his works of varied genres. For those familiar with his other writings, that will give these stories an extra sense of coming back to someplace familiar, yet altered by the subject matter. I heartily recommend this collection - it’s good science fiction with a strong and much needed injection of Indigenous experience.
Profile Image for Laura.
319 reviews25 followers
April 28, 2022
In the introduction to Take Us To Your Chief and Other Stories, Drew Hayden Taylor writes that "part of [his] journey in this life both as a First Nations individual and as a writer is to expand the boundaries of what is considered native literature. [He has] always believed that literature should reflect all the different aspects and facets of life. There is more to the Indigenous existence than negative social issues and victim narratives." In this collection, he takes on science fiction and many of its familiar storylines -- first contact, artificial intelligence, superheroes, time travel -- all with an Indigenous perspective and predominantly Indigenous characters. The stories range from comedic to intense and everywhere in between. Like any short story collection, a few stories stood out as favourites for me, but overall I found the collection quite even + found something to appreciate in every story. As a sci-fi fan I enjoyed Taylor's unique take on well established themes of the genre -- definitely recommend.
Content warnings: references to genocide, suicidal thoughts, references to systemic racism (incarceration, violence against Indigenous women), police harassment of Indigenous activists
Profile Image for Jessica McKenney.
257 reviews2 followers
August 27, 2019
He should have watched more Star Trek as a kid. Star Wars doesn't really prepare you for a situation like this. This was definitely a Star Trek moment.

This short story collection was so unique: it basically takes classic sci-fi storylines (aliens coming from outer space, superhuman powers, time travel, artificial intelligence, armageddon) and gives them an Aboriginal perspective. I thought many of the stories were excellently interwoven with Aboriginal experiences and cultural practices. While nothing in this collection was completely new and exciting, I do think to present an Aboriginal perspective alongside classic sci-fi stories was an excellent choice especially since there are few Aboriginal writers and books that are in the sci-fi genre.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,331 reviews67 followers
August 5, 2021
I discovered Drew Hayden Taylor irreverent and sarcastic humor two books ago and found it again in this collection of short stories and the foreword note at the start of this book.

"Also, I was conscious of the fact that, technologically speaking, we were at a bit of a disadvantage compared to those who showed up one day for dinner and never left."

The author wanted to explore sci-fi stories and wrote 9 speculative fiction novellas combined with Native literature. My favorite is the one with the toy robot, Mr. Gizmo.
Profile Image for Krista D..
Author 71 books299 followers
April 11, 2022
I think this is a 3.5, but I'm rounding up because the stories I liked, I really liked.

I don't think I've ever read a short story collection where I've liked all of the stories, and this was no different. However, some of them were just so much fun that they overtake the ones that fell flat. I loved Take Us To Your Chief, and the three cousins gave me some nostalgia for my Dad; he would've declined the beer, but he'd have happily sat on that sofa in silence with the others. I loved the AI space ship, too. That was a really sweet one.

CW for suicide, generation abuse
Profile Image for Yvonne Aburrow.
Author 15 books56 followers
July 28, 2019
A perfect combination: Indigenous science fiction short stories. Hilarious, poignant, and brilliant. Some classic sci-fi tropes but in Indigenous contexts, so I never quite knew how the story was going to turn out. Some stories were set in Curve Lake First Nation, where the author lives; others were set elsewhere. There's a Haudenosaunee story, which definitely had an unexpected ending. This was such a good read, and I'll definitely enjoy reading it more than once.

Profile Image for Sienna.
Author 5 books85 followers
March 2, 2020
3.5/5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the sheer anarchic joy of Indigenous science fiction as a genre.

I want so much more of this in my literary diet. As much fun as these stories are, they also made me furious--furious at the treatment of Indigenous people all across Turtle Island and beyond. I think that makes the stories all the more valuable. That anger is important. (But so is the incredible sense of humour that Taylor imparts in every one of his stories.)
Profile Image for Annie.
39 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2022
*Amazing* idea to write Indigenous science fiction! These genres are such a natural collaboration I’m almost surprised it hasn’t been done more often. All the stories in this collection are completely original and unpredictable. My reason for giving only three stars is that the writing itself felt pretty amateurish, which surprised me after I read about the author’s previous accomplishments.
Profile Image for Tiberius  McCoy.
57 reviews
May 29, 2019
I LOVED this book. It was exactly what my little Indigenous Sci-Fi Nerd heart always wanted. I wish I could read each of these short stories as full length novels. I want to see more and more Indig Sci Fi!!
Profile Image for Tina Siegel.
522 reviews8 followers
August 14, 2021
My favourite thing about what I’ve read of Drew Hayden Taylor’s work is that it’s so much FUN. And it feels like he has fun writing it.

Please don’t mistake fun for shallow. Taylor touches on things like addiction and crime, generational trauma, cultural touchstones, and the preservation of language. But he does it - for the most part - with a light, humorous touch. He makes you laugh, which means he also makes you think - you have to understand something before you can laugh at it.

That said, Taylor knows when - and how - to inject some pathos. It’s sparing and effective and rounds out the collection wonderfully.

I just loved it.
Profile Image for Neil.
1,141 reviews8 followers
November 21, 2020
I enjoyed reading this book, overall. It was an interesting collection of sci-fi short stories with a First Nations twist. There is humor, horror, and interesting comments/observations throughout the book. Some of the stories were stronger than others (which makes sense). I think I would have liked to have seen the anthology he would have put together if he had had the money and resources to pay other Indigenous authors for the works they would have submitted.

The two "Armageddon" stories were fun and funny.

"I Am . . . Am I" was a sad story to read.

"Lost in Space" was interesting.

"Dreams of Doom" was meh for me. I could have taken it or left it.

"Mister Gizmo" was a more serious story wrapped in humor.

"Petropaths" was interesting.

"Stars" was an interesting perspective "across time" (and space).

"Superdisappointed" was almost "Superdisappointing," except that the direction the author went was actually interesting when I thought about it.

"Take Us To Your Chief" was okay; another meh for me.

This was a fun "anthology" to read. The author did a nice job, overall, of mixing "sci-fi tropes" with a Native American flavor-filled twist and came up with some interesting stories to read. The forward and afterward were fun to read as well. I am glad that I took a chance on this book (I figured blending Native Americans with Sci-fi: how could one go wrong?). It was a fun, "fast" read (overall).
Profile Image for Alison.
347 reviews5 followers
September 2, 2017
There was probably one extremely excellent, possibly two, good stories in here if Taylor focused his ideas. Even then, it would have required better writing. I so wanted to love this: Aboriginal science fiction is a super idea and some of the ways he fused traditions with different sf ideas was awesome - two or three times I was genuinely impressed. But the stories were generally dull, and the writing unbearably flat, and sophomoric. I'd enjoyed one of his plays years ago, and seeing his name on a featured shelf at the library in California was terrific - but man this was a disappointment.
340 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2018
Science Fiction told from a Native point of view sounds like an oxymoron. But why should it? Just because they didn't get a chance to develop advanced technology before they were invaded? There's far more to good SF than advanced technology. There are ideas. And there's how technology affect people.

All of this is a leadup to saying that I think this collection was a wonderful idea, and I'm sorry that Taylor wasn't able to run with his original idea of making it an anthology. Unfortunately, economic reality put paid to that.

This is a collection of interesting, quirky stories. Some are sad, some are funny, some just are. But, they're all entertaining.
Profile Image for Sherry Ramsey.
Author 66 books125 followers
July 1, 2021
An intricate mix of sly humour and sadness, I enjoyed these stories partially because they helped open a window for me that had previously been closed. I do love to see the many incarnations that science fiction can take, and I'm glad that the author set his hand to these. It's not all fun and games as many stories strike a serious note, and the stories swirl with poignant undercurrents. However, there are not enough intersections where science fiction and indigenous fiction meet and travel together for a time, so I'm very happy to have read this one.
Profile Image for Anne.
957 reviews9 followers
July 13, 2017
I tend to prefer my sci-fi in longer form, but since I also crave sci-fi reads from outside the dominant voice, I thought I'd better give this a whirl. Glad I did because while the stories were, indeed, short, there was much to enjoy. Just enough Indigenous cultural bits were thrown in to spice up the usual sci-fi tropes. I'd say more, but then I'd just spoil all the stories. Instead, I'll just finish with I think I'll have to try some of the author's other works, surely one of those will be longer!
Profile Image for Nancy Clark.
Author 4 books7 followers
October 7, 2017
I picked this book up at the last Brockton Writers Series in Toronto, where author Drew Hayden Taylor spoke, because I thought, of course, indigenous petroglyphs carved into the rocks in the Ontario wilderness are key codes to a time-travelling portal. I mean what else could they be? Seriously, this book of indigneous sci-fi stories is imaginative, and in parts funny and touching. In between the laughs, I fell hard for the lost, troubled teenage boy in "Mr. Gizmo" and my heart raced when reading the political-conspiracy thriller "Dreams of Doom." I will never buy another dream catcher.
Profile Image for Jess.
99 reviews
February 8, 2017
If I rated on if I liked it, it would be 2 or 3 stars but that isn't fair to author as I am not often into sci fi. It had some hidden content coming through his stories that was very intriguing. Interesting to mix social issues with sci-fi. I give it 4 stars as it is definitely worth a read and I am sure if I enjoyed sci fi, I would liked it better too.
Profile Image for Rhoddi.
159 reviews11 followers
November 17, 2017
I really liked Stars and I Am...Am I; two stories that were thought provoking and entertaining and truly drove home the potential creativity of indigenous sci-fi. The rest of the stories were pretty solid, with one or two being a little ho hum. And that cover is killer and made me go out and buy a little robot buddy of my own.
Profile Image for Daniel Kukwa.
4,003 reviews89 followers
September 18, 2021
Delightful, occasionally profound, with moments of cliched cheesiness. This is a very entertaining collection that definitely proves that you can combine indigenous culture and science fiction. This is worth of being required reading in modern Canadian English classes.
Profile Image for Veronica.
20 reviews11 followers
May 16, 2021
I really love so much about this collection. Although I think that the concepts are where the strength lies, I did thoroughly enjoy reading this.
Profile Image for Corinne.
1,053 reviews2 followers
September 3, 2018
This author has a definite love of sci fi and some great ideas, but I'm not always a fan of his writing style.

1. A Culturally Inappropriate Armageddon
The idea of alien fingerprints on an Indigenous language could have potential (if it can avoid being too Stargate), but I didn't particularly like this story. It felt incomplete to me, and a lot of the details didn't end up mattering.
2. I Am...Am I
I really liked this one. The idea that a modern artificially intelligent being would embrace First Nations religions because those religions allow things to have souls is a really interesting one. Would the ending be less melancholy if the scientists/the rest of the world were willing to embrace responsibility for crimes against Indigenous people? I hope so.
3. Lost In Space
I really love the grandfather character in this story, and Mitchell's struggles with being "a good Native person" in space felt real. You can't burn sage in space, you can't beat drums because the machines are sensitive to vibrations, you can't honor the Four Directions when you don't even have an up or down. The sense of closure at the end was well done.
4. Dreams of Doom
Does this guy really hate dream catchers or what? I enjoyed the reporter outwitting the government as they chase her, but the framing of the story was too hokey.
5. Mr. Gizmo
This one did not do it for me. I did find myself curious about the First Nations view of things made by combining other things: does that create multiple consciousnesses? Can things "die"?
6. Petropaths
I liked the idea of the petroglyphs being the key to time travel. I wish it had been told from a point of view other than the grandfather, I didn't warm to him.
7. Stars
Did not like this one. Could not keep my attention. Least favorite of the collection.
8. Superdisappointed
This tongue in cheek account of a superhero's day was smartly done (spoiler: life on the res still sucks even if the chemicals in your ground water have given you pretty cool superpowers).
9. Take Us To Your Chief
This wasn't my favorite story, but it was a good closing story for the collection. I really enjoy the large, slimy alien visitor.
June 9, 2019
I liked this book because it explores and gives the reads some information about Haudenosaunee social life and their culture. The story parallel with the incident of colonization of Aboriginal people by Europeans which gives a chance to readers to look at the concept of colonization from a native perspective which shows the physical and psychological damages to their culture and identity as the aliens come in contact with people living on Earth and invade the Earth . This book describes the range of emotions of fear, anger, and desperate of people living on the Earth that they recognized as “their home”. This book also exposes and address the many complicated challenges faced by modern aboriginal communities, and through the unrelenting forward-thinking optimism of science fiction including artificial intelligence, Taylor looks to the future for answers. I think this book is educational to future generations portraying significance of each culture on its own and that assimilation and pushing a culture to distinction has never been the way for a society to function properly in a long run. It was sad and harsh to read this book because as a Canadian I could feel the pain and horror of Aboriginals when they had to obey and follow Europeans. I think this book mentions the conspiracy theory of big government controlling populations in a malicious manner which parallels to what aliens did to people who lived on Earth. I enjoyed the use of variety type of character in this book because each character had a different perspective and point of view which creates “sides” to this story. I loved the sense of humor of the author in the story by use of irony and other literally devices. In addition, the book was very detailed which gives the strength to the readers to be able to imagine the settings of the story very well .
Profile Image for Matthew Lloyd.
583 reviews17 followers
August 2, 2019
I stumbled across Take Us to Your Chief on my library's science fiction shelves while I was reading Moon of the Crusted Snow and picked it up because I wanted to broaden my concept of what Drew Hayden Taylor called "Native sci-fi" beyond "that famous episode from the original Star Trek series called 'The Paradise Syndrome'" (p. viii) and the couple of recent, lauded books I've read. There's a lot of ideas that I really liked in here, especially as the volume goes on, but the limited variation in Taylor's style even when the tone of the story shifted, the basis in science fiction mostly from before the '60s New Wave, and the fact that I don't find most of his jokes particularly funny meant that I never really got into the volume.

The stories I liked the most were "Lost in Space", which questions how an identity tied to the land survives in space, "Dreams of Doom", the paranoid conspiracy thriller, and the concluding "Take US to Your Chief", which I actually did laugh at a couple of times. There were plenty of good ideas throughout, but some (AI story "I Am... Am I") that suffered from a lack of basis in everything science fiction has done with the concept, while others (superhero story "Superdisappointed") perhaps needed a little more development.

In the Acknowledgements Taylor mentions that the original plan was for a collection of science fiction stories by "Canada's best First Nations writers", but that a lack of funding made that impossible. I think that would be an interesting project, and it's a shame it did not come to pass. Take Us to Your Chief is an interesting substitute, but I would have preferred more variety in style.
Profile Image for NinjaMuse.
356 reviews33 followers
December 10, 2018
In brief: Taylor gives the most classic science fiction tropes—alien invasion, time travel, superheroes, etc.—some much-needed indigenous perspective.

Thoughts: This is another book I really wanted to like but didn’t, and again, that’s largely my own fault because I know I don’t care a whole lot for most short stories. On a technical level, these were okay but nothing special, except for a moment here and there, and from the perspective of someone used to reading SF/F stories, the ones here are kind of bland. Maybe it’s because Taylor’s deliberately using the tropes that everyone knows and are verging on overdone? Or because he seems to be coming from a lit fic background and not an SF/F one?

Anyway, the indigenous stuff: I’ll admit a lot of that was interesting. He’s got some good ideas and some good twists on the tropes. The time travel story especially. The astronaut one. There’s some good humour in the collection too, laughing at White people and this crazy world we all live in, that sort of thing. But it’s only ever moments. Nothing really pops. A lot of the stories feel a bit like Taylor strained to find a First Nations angle, instead of getting inspired with one.

But then, I’m fully aware that I’m probably not the intended audience. Someone who knows literary short story style better might see more in these, and of course, a Native reader will probably connect more strongly, see more jokes, and get more inspired. It’s a worthy starting point for a conversation about indigenous SF and futurism, but … it’s just a starting point.

Warnings: Not in this one.

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