Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ajjiit: Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic by Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik

Ajjiit: Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic
Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik
Illustrated by Andrew Trabbold
191 pages, speculative fiction, indigenous

Many thanks to Inhabit Media for providing a review copy of this book, and to my mother for sending it to India as a Christmas present last year! 

This collection includes nine innovative speculative fiction stories that are inspired by traditional Inuit society and folklore.
To a degree, our point, in crafting these fantasy stories, was to draw upon Inuit culture and lore, writing original fiction utilizing the unique creatures and concepts that Inuit once (and, in some cases still do) fear or revere [sic]. Our main purpose, however, was to illustrate a sort of cosmological thinking particular to Inuit culture - a mystic tradition, if you will, that is not unlike the Arctic itself: barren to the superficial eye, yet filled with riches for those willing to fix a deep and non-judgemental stare. - Authors' introduction


Pigliq, one of the Humble Folk, is a poor sleeper – he can’t fall asleep properly, and his friend has to dream clothes for him. This leads to ridicule and complaints. But when his people awake from their latest slumber to find a terrifying new threat, it’s up to Pigliq to save them all.

Besides tapping into a fantastically unique race of humanoid beings from Inuit mythology, Pigliq’s unique plight – not being able to sleep, and therefore to dream – is compelling. He is considered disabled and is bullied for his differences from his peers, but in the end his "disability" is what allows him to fight when no one else can.

“The Qallupiluq Forgiven”

The Qallupiluq is a terrifying shapeshifter from Inuit mythology, who has the prerogative to kidnap and eat anyone who says its name.

This story was one of my favorites in Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Anthology Vol. I.