Rebecca Roanhorse wanted to read a fantasy novel in which the heroes and gods were of North American Indigenous origin, but she couldn’t find one—so she decided to write it…the work that resulted [is] Trail of Lightning.
The elevator pitch was an “Indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road.” I think that really captures the pacing and the sensibility of the book. This is an all-out breakneck apocalyptic adventure with a primary cast of Navajo characters, and it takes place wholly on the Navajo reservation.
You don’t see a lot of Native Americans in science fiction & fantasy, and when you do they are usually not situated in a world that is specifically Native, like the Navajo reservation. I wanted to read a science fiction and fantasy story where Native characters held front and center, where the landscape was filled with the places and the people that I knew from living on the rez, where the gods and heroes were of North American Indigenous origin. I also wanted to see what a Native author might do with a world like that. But I didn’t really see that happening, so I took Toni Morrison’s advice to write the book I wanted to read, and the result was Trail of Lightning.
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