Horizon Zero Dawn: 12 Books for the Wilderness Wanderer

Guerilla Games newest release, Horizon Zero Dawn, is a RPG that places the protagonist as a hunter and archer who is living in a world has been overrun by robotic technologies. Many years after the fall of civilization, the remaining humans have regressed to primitive tribal societies. The tribe that your character belongs to, The Nora,  is a society of hunter gathers, similar in many ways to Native Americans, who worship nature and shun the “old technologies” left behind by the Old Ones.

If you’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn, or just are really interested in topics like, the customs of tribal societies, earth post-civilization, artificial intelligence, and hunting, then you should check out some of these books at the Prairie State College Library to see if they are for you!

The world without us
by Alan Weisman
GF75.W4 S5 2007

In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity’s impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.

The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York’s subways would start eroding the city’s foundations, and how, as the world’s cities crumble, asphalt jungles would give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dali Lama, and paleontologists—who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths—Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.

The hunt for the golden mole : all creatures great and small, and why they matter
by Girling, Richard
QL737.A352 G57 2014

Taking as its narrative engine the hunt for an animal that is legendarily rare, Richard Girling writes an engaging and highly informative history of humankind’s interest in hunting and collecting – what prompts us to do this? what good might come of our need to catalog all the living things of the natural world? Girling, named Environmental Journalist of the Years 2008 and 2009, has here chronicled – through the hunt for the Somali golden mole – the development of the conservation movement, the importance of diversity in the animal kingdom, including humankind within this realm, as well as a hard look at extinction.The Somali mole of the title, first described in print in a text book published in 1964, had as sole evidence of its existence only the fragment of a jaw bone found in an owl pellet, a specimen that seemed to have vanished as Girling began his exploration. Intrigued by the elusiveness of this creature and what the hunt for the facts of its existence might tell us about extinction, he was drawn to the dusty vaults of museums of natural history where the most rare artifacts are stored and catalogued, as he found himself caught up in the need to track it down.Part quest, part travelog, the book that results not only offers an important voice to the scientific debate about extinction and biodiversity it becomes an environmental call to arms.

Voices of the winds : native American legends
by Edmonds, Margot
E98.F6 E26

This wonderfully colorful and appealing anthology gathers more than 130 Native American legends, many told to the authors by elder storytellers and tribal historians. Traditional stories from 60 native cultures of North America are prefaced by brief head notes. Sources include government documents, periodicals, histories, and field research (some conducted by Clark). Native American cultures value an end to isolation and the individual’s return to family and tribe, but there are some striking analogs to Western myths; one Pima story neatly parallels the Noah’s ark tale. Curiosities include “She-Who-Changeth” for the more common “Changing Woman,” gender-exclusive language (” . . . man first appeared . . . “), and a claim that Navajos live today in prosperity. Continue reading “Horizon Zero Dawn: 12 Books for the Wilderness Wanderer”


Native American and Indigenous Studies

Indigenous and Native peoples include aboriginal people of Australia, South America, and Canada. This post highlights the resources that are available in the Prairie State College Library collection, which mainly focus on Northern and some Southern American indigenous peoples.

Beginning in the 1960s, academic programs in Native American and Indigenous studies blossomed from the Native need for self-esteem and respect in North American societies. One of the first programs in American Indian Studies began at the University of Minnesota in 1964 (Morrison, 1997, p.112). And these programs have expanded well into the 21 century, with some American Indian community colleges being established over the years.In Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Mainfesto, Taiaiake Alfred defines the terms used to identify indigenous peoples saying “Indian” (…is a legal term still in use by some indigenous people in North America), “Native” (in reference to the racial and cultural distinctiveness of individuals, and to distinguish our communities from those of the mainstream society, “American Indian” (in common use and a legal-political category in the United States), “Aboriginal” (a legal category in Canada, and “indigenous” (in global contexts and to emphasize natural, tribal, and traditional characteristics of various peoples.)” (p.23). One learns that there is a distinction in tribal affiliation as well as identity. Further, there are different ways of knowing and being in native and indigenous contexts from which we can all learn. These are some of the complexities and distinctions that one can encounter by reading the literature in Native American and Indigenous studies.

Want to learn more? Stop by the library and check out one of these resources!

Alfred, G. R. (2009). Peace, power, righteousness: An indigenous manifesto. Oxford University Press, USA.
Morrison, D. A. (Ed.). (1997). American Indian studies: An interdisciplinary approach to contemporary issues. Peter Lang Pub Incorporated.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

In my last post, I described how I used the novels of Khaled Hosseini to “travel” to Afghanistan. Today I write about a different sort of travel experience through literature—an exploration of a culture within the United States unfamiliar to many. Sherman Alexie, who grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state, brings the contemporary American Indian experience to life in an eye-opening and poignant way. His novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is autobiographical. The story of his protagonist, Arnold Spirit, Jr., closely parallels the life of the author. Born with physical deformities which make him the object of ridicule by his peers, yet keenly intelligent and unsatisfied with the limitations of reservation life, Arnold makes the radical decision to leave the reservation school and attend Reardan High School in a white community twenty-two miles away. Doing so, he faces challenges from all sides. At Reardan, he encounters racist taunts and tries to hide his poverty. On the reservation, he is ostracized by his community for betraying his Indian heritage. All the time he contends with the social problems in the Indian community—poverty, alcoholism, violence, the untimely deaths of loved ones, hopelessness, and feelings of inferiority. Over the course of this novel, through the support of his family, his new and old friendships, his brains, and his newly discovered basketball talent, Arnold finds his way, grows, and thrives. While the subject matter of this novel is serious, the first-person narrator entertains the reader with his humorous tone and teenage perspective. As Arnold is a budding cartoonist, the book is also illustrated with “his drawings” (done by artist Ellen Forney).  But do not dismiss this book for its pictures or its teenage point of view—Alexie writes for all ages, and he has received some of the most prestigious awards in literature. The book reads quickly, but anyone who spends even a short time with Arnold grows to care about him and cheer for him as he reaches for his dreams.