‘If speculative fiction is about dealing with otherness, with difference, then these voices should be an integral and essential part of the body of speculative fiction, not pushed to the margins.’
I was recently in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow for an academic project. Barrow is profoundly different from any place I have been: at 71.3 N latitude, it perches at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. During April, when I visited, the ocean is frozen as far as you can see. The tundra is white and flat, and there is no vegetation. Most of the people who live there are Inupiat Eskimos. It is as far removed as you can imagine from Delhi, where I grew up, or for that matter, Boston, near which city I now reside.
I was wandering through the bright hallways of Ilisagvik college in Barrow, looking for someone with whom I hoped to speak, when I found an efficient young administrative assistant. She assured me she would find the person I was seeking, and took my name down. As is usual in…
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