Indigenous Futurity, Horror Fiction, and The Only Good Indians
An exciting movement in literature (as well as art, music, gaming, and other forms of media) that is presently exploding throughout our media streams in the twenty-first century is that of Indigenous futurism. This concept, which owes its namesake to scholar Grace L. Dillon and her work Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (2012), seeks to explore the possibilities of alternate pasts, presents, and futures, offering a fresh perspective on the beauty, power, and resilience of Indigeneity. One writer delving into this movement is Stephen Graham Jones, prolific author of many novels and short stories including his most recent works The Babysitter Lives (2022), The Backbone of the World (2022), “Attack of the 50 Foot Indian” (2021), “How to Break into a Hotel Room” (2021), My Heart is a Chainsaw (2021), “Wait for the Night” (2020), Night of the Mannequins (2020), and “The Guy with the Name” (2020), and The Only Good Indians (2020). Although Jones’s contributions to the literary world are extensive, there has been relatively little scholarship dedicated to his continuous experimenting in varying genres, forms, and subject matters. Likewise, scholarship on Indigenous futurism is also quite scarce, especially as it is developed through the literary genre of horror fiction. This work extends both scholarly conversations by analyzing Jones’s The Only Good Indians as a work of Indigenous futurism, specifically as it relates to rewriting the past, present, and future through various methods of Native slipstream. Fictional newspaper headlines and articles, a concentrated insistence on rationalization coupled with the inability to achieve such measures, and varying points of view combine to create a novel that is a hauntingly beautiful depiction of resiliency and possibility for an alternative future in which Indigenous worldviews replace the damaging cycles created and perpetuated by Western ideologies—positioning The Only Good Indians as an exceptional contribution to the field of Indigenous futurism, in addition to substantiating that both horror and futuristic fiction can serve as an effective medium of decolonization.
Keywords: Indigenous futurism, decolonization, horror, Stephen Graham Jones, speculative fiction
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Nicole R. Rikard
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).