Dark Moon – Thomas Örn Karlsson

“What Really Happened Ain’t There”: Sifting the Lies of Settler Colonial History with Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Series

Rebecca Lynne Fullan

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Abstract | Settler colonial history is built on a foundation of lies, which support and perpetuate the violence inherent to and constitutive of these societies. Science fiction written by settlers often glorifies colonialism, but the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness offers a story of another planet in which facing and revealing the lies of colonial history is essential to stemming the tide of violence flowing from these lies. In these books, the knowledge, bodies, and voices of women and Indigenous extraterrestrials become the grounds of memory that can lead to the possibility, though never the promise, of nonviolence. In this essay, I use Indigenous critical theory, theology, and colonial history to explore the possibilities and limits of Ness’ work to reveal, confront, and transform a settler colonial lineage of stories of conquest, concealment, and deceit.

Keywords| Settler colonialism; Patrick Ness; Chaos Walking; Indigenous theory, cryptohistory.