Strange characters were present in speculative fiction from the genre, perhaps because of their interest in representing alternatives to what has been considered the “normal” human experience. Most of these earlier representations were negative, often evil, like the murdered Carmilla lesbian or morally ambiguous protagonist, not the age, The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
Fortunately, these two works were more than a century old, and although it is not easy for a century people particularly strangers, it was also a century of many triumphs – more and more people coming out of the closet, demanding dignity, acceptance, and Rights, including the right to be duly represented in the literature and the media. The speculative fiction community arose immediately, and it is difficult to find a science fiction or fantasy story these days, which is openly homophobic in its plot or insinuation.
And it’s not just white foreigners or writers who write those strange stories of speculative fiction – many writers in South Asia also write them. For a month of pride, I bring you a list of five short stories from speculative fiction writers from South Asian contemporaries. Some of these stories almost depend on their characters, but others do not – because strangers also do other things in life, like the rule kingdoms, move to other planets have relationships with their parents, brothers, and friends.
Sri Lankan American writer Mary Anne Mohanraj built a world of South Asian flavor encompassing several planets and species in which humans exist in polyamor marriage contracts. Space Jump, written in 2009, is the oldest in the history of this universe. In this case, a spatial family refers to the introduction of a new member into their fold. This story is followed by the novel The Stars Mohanraj Change (2015), another story titled “Communion” and “web” and more stories that expand the universe continues to write.
Shweta Narayan was – several histories – meticulously re-writing the history of India, by inserting a tribe called “mechanics” that is built, runs on gears and barriers, and put robots to a deep shame. The stories shine with well-studied details. The protagonist of this story is Jahanara, the eldest daughter of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who remained of the Padishah Begum empire throughout his life. It begins as Jahanara receives the French Embassy sent by Napoleon in the Diwan-i-Khas and crosses multiple historical antecedents until its unexpected but tender end.
Other stories from this series appeared in the anthology The Book of the Jungle Mechanic and Lightspeed Magazine. Narayan wrote poetry and fiction and was for many years the co-editor of the very well-designed small speculative poetry magazine Stone Telling. Her writing is erudite and controlled, often bilingual – every story and poem are a work of postcolonial interpretation, feminist and queer history and Indian mythology.
American Indian writer Shveta Thakrar wrote a fiction for young adults with an atmosphere of fairy tale and fantasy Indian stories for older readers who nonetheless retain a childish astonishment. Some of their stories are based on a historical time or place.