Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Research Matrix

I've been thinking about nationalities, because, although I was wary of looking for it, there is a distinct Canadian-ness to the Canadian children's sf. It ties in with the different way Canada has dealt with its First Nations people. This isn't a "Canadians were nicer" post, there are areas where they were just as exploitative: but they do seem to have a different understanding of their relationship with indigenous peoples, and if I am to understand the sf I need to do quite a lot of reading on this. I'm coming to love this project: it's perfect for me--lots of alleys and byways and butterfly paths to explore.


Blogger Lazygal said...

Farah, that's an interesting concept. Do you think, then, that European sf (like Verne) is based in part on their colonial past? And that American sf is related to our experiences with our native populations?

6:44 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

I think all of the "meet the alien" and "find new land" sf books are rooted in a culture's experience of colonial and imperialism, but that it is much too easy to assume that all those experiences are the same.

This isn't "our version was kinder than theirs" but there is a distinct different between the French "by the time we've finished you'll all be French" approach and the British "well we want you to take on our values but you'll never really be us". This latter turned up in a British by birth (and to the age of 8) Canadian called Martyn Godfrey, in his book Alien War Games which I don't think I blogged. I was fascinated because it tackled this head on, questioning the project rather than the people involved, whereas in the US books I've read the issue is always presented as nice settlers versus nasty settlers.

I'm currently reading through some of Monica Hughes's work and it has the same thread as Godfrey.

I've got lots more books to go (I found another twenty this morning) but I am going to start thinking about this question, and the distinction you make: economic or political colonialism v. settler colonialism.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be very curious to read your response to The Delikon by H. M. Hoover, a book in which Earth was colonized by aliens but their control is now slipping. Do authors' understandings of colonization appear in their books differently when we're the ones being colonized?

5:13 PM  
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