Speculative fiction is no stranger to exploring issues of colonialism, particularly in science fiction, from first contact stories to wars over territories. While many such stories are extremely black and white, the realities of colonialism are far murkier. A colonial mindset shapes not just the colonised but also the coloniser, often in unexpected ways.

It is natural that we recreate our own history in stories of fictional worlds. It has become part of the fabric of our identity, so why wouldn’t history also be part of the identities of our characters? But what can we learn from re-imagining and reframing our collective traumas in fiction?

In this episode, we are joined by C.L. Clark, author of The Unbroken and The Faithless. Cherae will help us untangle the murky ethics of their work as we get to grips with the realities and representation of colonialism in modern speculative fiction.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Xena: Warrior Princess
  • Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

C.L. Clark is the author of The Unbroken, the first book in the Magic of the Lost trilogy. She graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. She’s a former co-editor of the Hugo-nominated and British Fantasy Award-winning PodCastle, and her work has appeared in UncannyBeneath Ceaseless SkiesFantasy Magazine and more.