The Extractivism of Setting and the Traitor’s Text

‘Canon is a tricky word. I am using the term lightly; I mean those works and writers who are widely recognized and repeatedly cited, which of course produces multiple and varied groupings depending on who you ask and for what purpose. Every such canon is formed by citation and repetition. Every act of curation contributes to it. Every anthology of African or Asian fiction, every article. Even a listicle adds a pebble to the pile. And in speculative fiction publishing, white Western writers, which is to say, specifically, white writers from the metropoles and settler colonies of the long British–American empire, especially those of previous generations, have had decades of a head start. Their canonization for work that draws heavily on the third world—as setting, as prop, as raw material – was built on the same lines as all other colonial enterprises, like the settler – colonial squatting that Resnick or Clarke perform.’

— Vajra Chandrasekera, ‘The Extractivism of Setting and the Traitor’s Text


literature canon vajra-chandrasekera