Tag Archives: colonialism

Language Is…

Language is a technology, a doorway, a weapon, and an agent of change and hope. As it shifts both form and function, the metaphors that describe it change too.

Language is a technology that has shaped our brains. Ted Chiang’s novelette The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling (a Hugo nominee last year) particularly struck me as revolving around the same complex issues — how important language and particularly writing has been to the human psyche. Language changes the way we think — it is a tool that can be both used and misused to great effect.

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Space Opera!

A long, long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away… [cue amazing, soul-electrifying fanfare]

It is a period of civil war.

Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil GALACTIC EMPIRE.

During the battle rebel spies managed to steal the secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the secret plans that can save her people and restore peace to the galaxy…

I think I must have been about ten years old when I first saw those words scroll across a television screen. Oh boy, was it awesome.

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Sandra McDonald on Gender, Colonialism, and Fleet

Sandra McDonald’s story Fleet appeared in the post-colonial anthology We See A Different Frontier (along with my short story Remembering Turinam). My story received an honorable mention in the recently released 31st edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction — Sandra’s went all the way and earned inclusion in its pages.

Congratulations Sandra! And I’m honored to have been included in the same anthology with you.

Recently, The Future Fire interviewed Sandra about gender, colonialism, and the story she wrote for We See a Different Frontier:

How we define, defend and debate gender in the U.S. is fascinating to me, and certainly there are clashes between cultures where gender is rigidly enforced vs where gender variety is protected.  For years now i’ve tried to explore those schisms and honor the men and women who live outside the boxes we try to stuff them in.

You can check out the whole interview on The Future Fire editor’s blog. There’s a smattering of some Buddhist perspective in there too.

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Review and Interview about “Remembering Turinam”

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do anything writing related, including update this blog. But there has been exciting news!

First of all, We See a Different Frontier is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, among other places. Please support this much anticipated anthology!

The anthology is overtly political from the standpoint of the editors:

This anthology of speculative fiction stories on the themes of colonialism and cultural imperialism focuses on the viewpoints of the colonized. Sixteen authors share their experiences of being the silent voices in history and on the wrong side of the final frontier; their fantasies of a reality in which straight, cis, able-bodied, rich, anglophone, white males don’t tell us how they won every war; and their revenge against the alien oppressor settling their “new world”.

But this does not mean that the collection is one-sided or polemical. I have been alternately intrigued, challenged, angered, and inspired when reading this anthology.

Blogger Margrét Helgadóttir has published an interview with me about my story, Remembering Turinam, on her blog. Excerpt below:

Nalin has written the short story “Remembering Turinam,” a complex story which spoke to me on many levels. It is a sad story about a meeting between a young man and his grandfather. Also, the idea of language as a tool in colonization is strong in the story, something I believe to be very true. One thing is a dominant military force, but the silent conquer through education, language, culture, is perhaps even more brutal. Like the editors Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad write in the introduction in the anthology: «That suppression of culture and especially language are common tactics in the repression of a people, and as effective as violence itself.” I really liked how Nalin weaved the plot around this.

The story gives much food for thoughts and pondering, which I love. I’m so happy Nalin took the time to answer some of my questions.

You can read the interview in full over at her blog.

A complete listing of publication venues and reviews is available from the editor’s blog at The Future Fire.

 

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Early Praise for “Remembering Turinam”

Tournevis at the blog Le Pouding à l’arsenic has posted an early review of the colonialism-themed anthology We See a Different Frontier. The anthology will be published this month in both print and electronic versions and includes my first professional sale, a short story called Rembering Turinam.

I’m honored to have been called out for particular attention in the review:

I could laud every single story in the collection, but let me turn the light on two in particular that have stayed with me and even found their way into my dreams.

[…]

A more powerful exploration of Politics of Memory is found in the incredibly well-written, nearly perfect “Remembering Turinam” by N.A. Ratnayake. Here the scholar Salai walks from his world’s (a future-Earth maybe) equivalent of a university the Heremitian Anushasan, formely [sic] specialized in the exploration of the abstract sciences. He goes to visit his grand-father, a former member of the same Anushasan, now living as a near hermit in his very final days. […] Ratnayake is brilliant in showing the subtleties of Salai’s colonized mind. More importantly, the author displays in all its tragedy the paradoxes of cultural survival in the face of conquest: how only those who choose assimilation can live long enough to ultimately reclaim the culture that has been willfully lost.

Wow! I am so happy to hear that others have enjoyed my stories, and that they have found deep personal meaning within them. Nothing like the warm fuzzies as motivation to keep writing!

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