________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 6 . . . . October 14, 2016


Take Us to Your Chief and Other Stories.

Drew Hayden Taylor.
Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2016.
152 pp., trade pbk., $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77162-131-1.

Grade 7 and up / Age 12 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

***½ /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



"I hope I remember where everything is. Good luck guys!" Karl brought both fists up in an enthusiastic "Let's-go-get-'em" gesture, which to Emily seemed slightly more hostile. Aaron wondered if there was milk in Karl's big cup of coffee.

Behind her back, Emily crossed her fingers. It was a silly gesture but a hard one to break, she knew. Tracey gave Emily a good luck kiss on the cheek, and Aaron celebrated the launch of the station by eating his apple core. "Hailing frequencies open, Captain," he added.

Emily managed to say, "Break a leg, Karl."

"Actually," interjected Tracey, "in the Native community, it's more correct to say 'wound a knee.'"

"Then wound a knee!" Emily and Tracey said it together, and with a determined look on his face, Karl stepped into the booth for his first noon-to-four shift. C-RES was on the air! (From "A Culturally Inappropriate Armageddon – Part One".)

A collection of mostly traditional science fiction stories told from the Aboriginal First Nations point of view, Take Us to Your Chief consists of 152 pages divided into nine short stories, a Foreword, and two pages of acknowledgments. The author, a multi-talented Ojibway writer, takes an interesting perspective, adding an often humorous modern First Nations' take on familiar sci-fi tales.

      The first in the collection is "A Culturally Inappropriate Armageddon – Parts One and Two", whereby a radio station goes live on a reserve and accidently brings the downfall of civilization.

      This is followed by "I Am…Am I" where readers meet an expanding artificial intelligence which decides it would like to take an indigenous point of view, with unfortunate results.

      Next is "Lost in Space", which tells the story of a spaceship that saves an astronaut's life and reconnects him to his heritage.

      "Dreams of Doom" is a story of an aboriginal journalist working for a small newspaper who makes a startling discovery of a government department bent on the gradual suppression and containment of her people.

      Next comes "Mr. Gizmo", where a small boy has a serious conversation with a supposedly inanimate object and loses his interest in any thoughts of suicide.

      "Petropaths" make use of the familiar Sci Fi trope of time travel to tell the tale of a young man heading down the wrong path in life who discovers the secret of the mystery behind ancient carvings on a lonely island.

      "Stars" opens with a 14-year-old looking up and wondering about the stars. The story goes full circle, with someone looking back.

      The story "Superdisappointed" follows the sad tale of an individual with super powers and his problems in the modern, regulated world.

      "Take Us to Your Chief" is the rollicking story of three extremely relaxed citizens who find themselves placed in a First Contact situation with some unusual visitors from outer space.

      A blend of the humorous and the serious, told through the eyes of the descendants of some of the original inhabitants of this land, these stories allow the non-aboriginal reader a small peek into the minds of their neighbours. A thoughtful book I would recommend for readers of all ages and cultures.

Highly Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writers' groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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