Jumpdrives & Cantrips


Blast From the Past: The Eskimo Invasion (1967)
September 19, 2008, 2039
Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , , ,

The Eskimo Invasion Ah, 1967… the Vietnam War is in progress as hippies gather for the Summer of Love, a certain professor (John Archibald Wheeler) coins the term “black hole” for the first time, the world’s first heart transplant is performed… and the Eskimos invade? Not quite, but it appears as a title by science fiction author Hayden Howard, who wrote The Eskimo Invasion, published in November 1967 by Ballantine Books (New York). The book was nominated for the 1967 Nebula in the best novel category.

I first found The Eskimo Invasion at a book sale and was simultaneously taken aback and amused by the title’s pure inanity. I picked it up with the intention of never reading it–I just can’t manage it–but the intention of using its existence as an exemplar of cultural stereotyping (the book itself may very well break this down, though I don’t feel the need to find out). However, there comes a time when books that won’t be read must move on regardless. I figured I might as well preserve this one partly for posterity’s sake.

Cover blurb:

“Homo sapiens can atomize himself into extinction–but there are other kindly extremes just as deadly…”

From the back of the book:

Dr. West was puzzled, frustrated, and mad.
He knew something was wrong up there in Boothia Sanctuary, but what?
Why, really, did the government want to keep him out? He didn’t for a moment believe the spurious political excuse of preserving a “cultural sanctuary” intact. What were they hiding? What could possibly be wrong with a harmless, lovable group of Eskimos?
Dr. West could never leave a puzzle alone. Besides, if he went up there, maybe he could get proof.
Of something.
Unfortunately, even when he did, no one believed him…

And it only gets more over the top, as you can see from the inner lead-in:

It was a happy scene…
The winter wastes; the igloos; cheerful, laughing, roly-poly faces–his friends, the Eskimos–the gentlest, most warm-hearted people in the world.
And they were cheerful, laughing, gentle, and warm-hearted.
And busy, active, playful.
In fact, when Dr. West tried to take a census, he couldn’t be sure that he hadn’t counted the same ones several times over.
Or had he?
And if not, how could they all be so very young? Where had they all come from?
But it was still a happy scene.
Then

More than forty years later, and even the title is offensive. What a difference time makes, eh?

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