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Roanhorse, Rebecca

(1971-    ) US author whose Native American/African American background figures articulately in her work; she began to publish stories of genre interest with "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™" (August 2017 Apex Magazine), which won a Nebula and a Hugo as best short story. Her first novel, Trail of Lightning (2018), which initiates the Sixth World series, is a thrustingly Equipoisal tale set in a Near Future America much of which has been drowned in a great Disaster directly caused by Climate Change; what was once a Navajo reservation has been reborn as the autonomous nation of Dinétah, which is haunted by Monsters. The protagonist of the tale, a monster hunter, engages in chases and encounters narrated in a gonzo voice. Beyond Dinétah may be a Ruined Earth. Trail of Lightning won a Locus Award for best first novel. Race to the Sun (2020), designed for the youngest cohort of the Young Adult market, is fantasy irradiated by the Navajo cauldron of story.

The Between Earth and Sky sequence beginning with Black Sun (2020) emplaces a complex set of interconnected tales in a large Polder [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] whose peoples are governed by Watchers who control Magic elements; the underlying shape of the world seems clearly based on pre-contact indigenous cultures, both American and Pacific. Roanhorse herself is an advocate of the concept of Indigenous Futurism, which articulates a powerful desire to detoxify of Imperialist presumptions the story of America (see also Race in SF). She received the John W Campbell Award for best new writer in 2018. [JC]

Rebecca Roanhorse

born Conway, Arizona: 14 March 1971



Sixth World

Between Earth and Sky

individual titles


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 17:29 pm on 23 January 2022.