These novels narrate the sense of an ending while resisting closure; they are not warnings about the future, but rather a narration of the present, offering a critique but stopping short of envisioning an alternative.
The 'Blade Runner' story in its various iterations has always been so much more than Screenwriter 101 tricks to generate sympathy. Going right back to 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep', the story is about—or in fact, the story entirely is—empathy.
Nisi Shawl's letter comes from Australian publisher and champion of under-represented voices in fiction, Twelfth Planet Press, and is published in their upcoming collection of essays and letters dedicated to SFF pioneer Octavia Butler, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler.
For some, it is enough to replicate problematic characterisation of the past with a simple romantic gloss – a key example of this would be Meyer’s Twilight series, in which the werewolves remain troublesome and animalistic natives, with the white invaders recast as suave and attractive vampires. For others, the female werewolf comes to represent an opportunity for reclaiming power; she is the ‘underdog’ who can fight against patriarchal/colonial power, a super-powered rebel who can overturn the hegemony (male werewolves are also cast in this light in some contemporary fiction and film).
The crux of cultural appropriation is about power and the ability to represent one's own community in a space where one's own community is misrepresented and is actively oppressed as a result of that misrepresentation.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.