On these pages you will find the best in speculative fiction books, with brief reviews. The reviews are all positive: if I don't like it, I don't promote it. I have also included pages with research resources, which others with like interests may explore.

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Information-packed books & sites, on subjects I have researched

Inuit--Science-- Writing

Inuit Resources--Books and a Movie

I don't claim to be an expert, but it took a lot of work to find these when I was writing a Greenland tale, so I thought I'd share them.

Zacharias Kunuk's Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) [DVD, in Inuktitut, with subtitles]

The first ever movie produced by, about, and for the Inuit. Never intended for mass distribution, it nevertheless swept across the independent film networks. The times depicted in this movie, in which the Inuit still lived in igloos and hunted seal at blowholes, is part of their immediate past, closer to them than the horse and buggy is to urban Americans. It would take a better Inuit expert than me to truly understand what happens here, but there are spirits and ancient curses, a fast brother and a strong one, betrayal, murder, seduction, a witch, song-duels, head-punching, and a naked chase across the tundra. The climactic administration of justice reveals a strikingly different world view, where Euro-Americans would feel the guilty is let off, but it is clear the guilty feel themselves bitterly punished.

Writing on Ice--The Ethnographic Notebooks of Vilhjalmar Stefansson, Gísli Pálsson, ed.

In the Canadian Arctic from 1906 to 1918, Stefansson was a pioneer of a then revolutionary approach: he could live with the Inuit as they did. Includes extensive contextualization as well as his original daily record.

Living Arctic--Hunters of the Canadian North, by Hugh Brody

A good overview of Inuit culture, past and present, with sensitivity to Western ethnocentric biases. Occasionally overcorrects, but, to this US reader, has a convincing indigenous perspective.

Out of print. Clicking on the link at left will get you to a list of used book prices

Northern Tales--Stories from the Native Peoples of the the Arctic and Subarctic Regions, Howard Norman, editor

Includes both Inuit stories, northern Indian stories, and (incongruously) Ainu stories. Part of the excellent Pantheon Folklore Library. Nothing, in my opinion, conveys the substance of a people better than their stories.

Out of print. Clicking on the link at left will get you to a list of used book prices

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, Richard B. Lee and Richard Daly, editors

An astonishing resource on a subject so huge it barely scratches the surface in 500 pages. It covers archaeology, historical change, Euro-american impact, and organization for resistance and identification, looking at hunters and gatherers worldwide. Obviously, most of the book is not dedicated to the Inuit, but if you have an interest in hunter/gatherer societies, this is indispensable. Also includes extensive bibliography.


Reminiscences of Kuuvafmiut Villagers

Twenty-two pages of oral histories and reminiscences, mostly around the Kobuk River (Alaska) in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Inuktitut Translation

A glossary of Inuktitut (Inuit language) words, including sound files of pronunciation. Also includes a bibliography.

Google Groups

alt.native tends to be populated by people with first-hand knowledge, and I have had good luck getting respectful questions answered authoritatively.



Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel

Diamond begins with the question, "Why did the European culture dominate the Americas, and not the other way around?" He quickly arrives at the answer, because Europe had "guns, germs, and steel," but then proceeds to the next obvious question: why did Europe have those things? Diamond makes a compelling case that it was the geography of the old world that made possible the rapid development and spread of technology in Eurasia, with the resulting power imbalances. His theories even account for the fact that Europeans displace Native Americans and Australians, but not Native Africans. A compelling and well argued book.

Stephan J. Gould's The Mismeasure of Man

The final argument against biological determinism, Gould recounts the history of human attempts to delineate greater and lesser humans, from the medieval arguments about whether women had souls, to modern quests for the genetics of intelligence. In a carefully argued case, he shows how scientists have again and again unintentionally distorted data to support preconceived notions such as the inferiority of the "Negro race."

Karen Horney's Neurosis and Human Growth

A traditional psychology manual that is still compelling today, when neurotic is not even a diagnosis. Horney presents complete profiles of four different styles of dysfunction. You can see yourself in them, perhaps (I know which pattern I follow, but I'm not saying), but they are also handy for completing pictures of characters.

Albert Einstein's Relativity: The Special and General Theories

It's not just for physicists any more! Einstein writes with clear and quirky prose, building up his thought processes, from the simple example of a rock dropped from a train window. If you read Einstein himself, relativity becomes easy to understand. If you're at all handy with math, you can use the formulas he gives you, and know just how fast you would need to go to get any appreciable time dilation, how much energy that would take, and how long it would take you to reach that speed assuming constant accelleration at one g (answer: one year).


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