Arc Review: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright / Centers colonist guilt & has flawed racial representation

27 HOURS 2

FTC DISCLOSURE

F I N A L   R A T I N G

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A visual representation of me trying to figure out how to write this review:

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In all seriousness, this might be one of the most difficult books I’ve had to review, simply because I have so many thoughts. So many different aspects to a novel as complicated and nuanced as this one, and so many thoughts about several of these aspects. More than this, perhaps – the reason why reviewing this book is so difficult is because I can fully see the invaluable benefits of it, as well as the potential harm it can cause, and the intersection of both can be difficult for a reviewer (who isn’t, by any means, claiming to be an expert) to encompass and do justice. But, I will try my best here, and if I start to ramble, resulting in a post that resembles word-vomit more than a structured review- well, you’ll have to forgive me here, I guess.

27 Hours is a futuristic (set, I believe, 150-200 years from present day), science-fiction, action-packed tale which counts down from 27 hours to certain war. When the clock hits 0, prompting the sun to come up, our characters’ world is going to be torn apart by the two species fighting on (over?) it. A couple hundred or so years ago, humans arrived at a moon from all over the Earth, giving rise to a civilization, unaware that an indigenous species was asleep underground. When the construction of a lake causes several underground tunnels to flood, the indigenous species (referred to as chimera, or “gargoyle” as a slur) lost many lives. Ever since, war has raged on. The humans consider the chimera blood-thirsty monsters, while the chimera are staunch in their belief that the land is theirs. A third group emerged some time during the war – a forest civilization – that broke away from the humans, formed an alliance with some chimera, and strive for peace.

Perhaps it’s my own background and cultural history, but I couldn’t fully root for any of the main characters, all of whom are human.

I was born and raised in Pakistan, a country that emerged in 1947 from India after a brutal war raged on, killing millions upon millions of people; much of that bloodshed, the consequent splitting, and the after-effects that exist even now were a direct product of the British colonization of the Indian subcontinent. We are still told horror stories, of piles of bodies at the border – riots, massacres, friends and families torn apart for the rest of time, as my ancestors, as my neighbors’ ancestors fought for their rights on a land that belonged to them. It was our land. It was our country, not some colonizers’. They had no right to be there.

It’s not an issue that raged just then – it’s an issue extremely current and relevant even now, whether we’re talking about the war over Kashmir (again, a direct product of British imperialism), or the Israel-Palestine situation that seems to have no end in sight. Maybe it’s my hypersensitivity to issues of indigenous peoples’ having their lands stolen by invaders who have no right to be there, but I found it almost impossible to sympathize with the main characters. When I realized that the theme of the novel was an indigenous species versus colonists, and the main characters all being colonists or descendants of colonists, I was immediately put off.

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Let me get something straight here: Wright does not excuse colonists’ actions, nor does she pass off the war as a binary issue. What does, however, happen is that all the characters who get perspective chapters are humans (in this case, colonists), and three out of four of the perspective chapters are humans who are learning to rid themselves of long-held prejudices against chimera, while the fourth perspective character is a forest-human who doesn’t have these prejudices anymore, who instead strives for peace. The issue here, at least for me, was glaringly obvious: in a war raging between an indigenous species and colonists, why is the colonist’s perspective centered? Why is the storyline so intensely focused on colonist guilt, and realizing that indigenous life that existed on this planet is still, you know, life? And despite them unlearning their prejudices against the species itself, the issue of invasion and settling is almost entirely ignored, while all the weight is put on violent warfare.

To me, it parallels a book where white characters realize that people of color are “humans as well,” and start working towards co-existence, while also refusing to (intentionally or unintentionally) acknowledge or dismantle the root cause of the issue: systematic, institutionalized racism and white supremacy. In this case, the human characters’ narrative is the only one being centered, while the root issue of invasion, trespassing and unethically settling over land that already belongs to beings living on the moon is thrust aside, instead focusing on the byproduct of this main issue: war. There was a moment in this novel where the villain (so often described as the monster who needs to be destroyed for peace to finally be achieved) says:

Humans are a parasite, and you’re destroying this land with your mining and your colonization. You came and took with no regard to the life already existing here and, according to your histories, that’s fairly standard for your species, isn’t it?”

This tells me that Wright is fully aware of the complicated issue at hand, yet the villain – hell-bent on destruction and blood and chaos – is the only one who brings it up. Bro, if I’m twenty pages from the end and I’m siding with the villain here? That’s not a good look.

Some of the thematic choices made regarding character prejudices were also… uncomfortable for me to read and consider.

27 Hours is a book full of underrepresented identities on the page, with beautiful relationships forming – both platonic and romantic. We have a truly diverse cast of characters. Our four perspective chapters are Rumor, Nyx, Braeden and Jude, while a fifth character can still be considered a main character, despite not getting a perspective chapter. Rumor is a bisexual, multiracial Nigerian/Portuguese & Indian who falls for Jude, who is gay. Nyx is Deaf, pansexual, chubby, signs ASL throughout the book, has Cuban ancestry, and is love with her best friend, Dahlia, who is an Afro-Latinx trans girl. Nyx’s abuela is also Deaf. Braeden is asexual, and has two moms. Jude is adopted by a family of two brothers – both are people of color, both are queer. There is an Asian side character who uses they/them pronouns, and there is discussion about using and normalizing pronoun introductions.

Rumor and Jude form a beautiful bond immediately, and their interactions are lovely to see unfold on the page. Dahlia and Nyx’s complicated romantic relationship is slow-burn, and the pay-off is ultimately swoon-worthy, for lack of a better phrase. Braeden discusses his asexuality often, there is sign language throughout the book – so these identities are given proper time and weight. But with three of your five protagonists being people of color, there is no discussion about race, but I’ll get to this later.

In line with the imperialist discussion I was having above, let’s talk a little bit about Rumor. I believe Rumor could be considered the driving force of the novel – his perspective chapter starts the novel off, and his actions and reactions are, for the most part, what drive the story. For me, when it was revealed that he has Nigerian and Indian ancestry, I was immediately intrigued. Why? Because for a story dealing with colonial issues, a main character having ancestry from both Nigeria and India – both countries that have been colonized by the British in the past? That seemed significant to me. But I was… disturbed (if that’s the right phrase) by the fact that Rumor, more than anyone else, holds the most vicious hatred for chimera.

Rumor’s past with the indigenous species is bloody; his mother and his father both died during the war, and the book quite literally begins with his colony being wiped out by an attack. So, his reactions are to be expected, but… I’m a little uncomfortable that a character who has ancestry tracing back to countries that were torn apart due to colonization is so staunchly pro-colonist, is so staunchly vicious in his hatred of chimera. That’s a strange thematic choice for me. And it gets especially strange (this is a euphemism for problematic, by the way) that the two people who, arguably, have the most sway over changing his prejudices are white. The two characters (Jude and Braeden) who basically show the boy, who has ancestry 🗣 tracing 🗣 back 🗣 to 🗣 countries 🗣 that 🗣 have 🗣 been 🗣 colonized 🗣 by white 🗣 people, that his prejudices are unfounded, unfair and discriminatory are white. Bro. White.

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“Aimal, you’re overthinking this. It probably wasn’t that serious, it probably isn’t that deep.” Is that what you’re thinking? I’ve already acknowledged that perhaps it’s because I’m hypersensitive to imperialist issues, I saw flaws in this novel that many others would have overlooked. But come on – even the most non-interested of you couldn’t say that it isn’t a big deal that the most racist (specie-ist) person from our cast of characters is a person of color, and that the people who changed his mind were white people. Like… that’s just… 🏃🏽‍♀️ Moving on.

You could argue that Rumor’s ancestry isn’t as significant as I’m making it out to be, mainly because Wright makes it clear that the humans have one language (referred to as “the human language”), and don’t retain much from their culture back from home. Which: if the book is set 150-200 years in the future (which is 7-8 generations at most), would people who immigrated from all over the world really have forgotten their language, their cultures? Here’s a passage from the book:

“My mom was Indian. Like India. My dad was… He was Portugese and Nigerian. I only know because we had a school project to see what, if anything, we’d kept from our Earth ancestors.”

This seems to imply that the humans don’t know much, if anything at all, about where they came from on Earth. And that’s fair, if the book was set even further into the future. Would entire cultures cease to exist in just a few generations? (More on this later, too). And even if they did, why does the book seem to imply that they gradually, over the course of a century, defaulted to a Westernized way of living? Where romantic, familial and platonic relationships are modeled after Western culture? This is vague, and this is where the holes in world-building start to seep through. Are there no other cultures? And if there aren’t, how did the near-7,000 languages that exist in the world right now get wiped out in just a century or two from now?! How did entire civilizations coming from all over the world forget their own cultures to default to the present “human culture?” How is there no variation past ideological thought (and even then, only as it relates to war versus peace)? And if there are cultures, why not show them? I’m so confused about this – there are so many gaps and holes in world-building here that it’s driving me up the wall just thinking about the lack of information there is to grapple with.

Is racial representation really REPRESENTATION if the characters of color can be replaced by white people without changing anything else at all?

The overwhelming response to this question, when I asked it on Twitter, was “no.” One person writes, “Nope. White culture and ____ POC culture is nowhere near the same, and the culture needs to be included for it to be representation.”

Another person writes, “Not even close. PoC and white people have vastly different experiences, so it’s not really representation if this isn’t shown. And if POC and white people do go through the world in the same way (maybe if race isn’t a barrier) you have to have a WHY and HOW.”

Yet another person writes, “Part of the human experience is that people treat you based on a lot of shallow things, and taking away micro aggressions seems unrealistic.”

And another person writes… “Nope. If they can be replaced, then they’re just in a diverse costume. We have different experiences, and even in the future, that will be so.”

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Basically, every single character of color in this book could be replaced with a white character, and nothing would change. Absolutely nothing, apart from a couple words here and there (and a large chunk of my review *badum tss*). Like I said, there is little to no significant mention of differing cultures, or different languages (the only non-English words in the book are “chai,” “prem,” and “abuela,” which just… make up your mind. Do languages exist, or do they not?) Fine, take away cultures, take away languages, but even people of color who live in diasporas, who have largely assimilated to the society around them and retain little to nothing of their ancestral culture still undergo micro aggressions, if not outright racism. And there is no mention of it. Anywhere. When I say that the characters of color could be replaced by white characters and nothing would change, I mean that quite literally. You’d just have to replace every time the color “brown” is mentioned with white, change the ethnicities, and… that’s it.

Apparently, in this society, people aren’t prejudiced based on race, because it’s of no consequence to anybody, so it doesn’t exist anymore, despite there being a very clear prejudice against the. indigenous. species. So, prejudice does exist – just not intra-human racism. Which, just…

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Racism has existed for centuries. It has been the cause of genocide in various parts of the world, wars, slavery, systematic and institutionalized oppression. Look at the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar right now, the refugee crisis and the fear-mongering against Middle Easterners and Muslims, the legal and violent war underway against black Americans in the U.S., the purging of Native American lands and rights in today’s society, the discriminatory rhetoric against Mexicans that won someone the election. Look at our fucking President. Look at the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis taking off their robes and parading around in the streets with torches and tell me racism is going anywhere. It has always existed, because as a human race, we’re prejudiced people. You mean to tell me that a colony, that exists and is an amalgamation of human society from cultures all over the world, has no racism?! Especially if this colony isn’t even that far into the future?! I…

The only way this could be even slightly possible would be if a scientific device existed that purged the very idea of prejudice out of your mind. I would buy this if prejudice, in and of itself, didn’t exist in the society. But prejudice does exist! Against the indigenous species! So that takes that out of the equation.

It feels a lot, and I mean A LOT, like erasure of the struggles people of color go through every single day, and have gone through every single day. For a white author to build a world where (1) colonialism thrives, but (2) racism no longer exists? It feels like a cop-out. It feels like Wright wanted people to say that people of color exist in her book, but didn’t want to do the heavy-lifting of representing the lives of people of color. So with the complete lack of representation of non-white culture, and the insinuation that racism no longer exists, while every other identity is given the proper balance and proper weight? Just… *endless sigh* I’m sorry. It’s lazy. It’s lazy writing, to me. It’s lazy world-building, it’s a lack of understanding of racial issues, both historical and contemporary, and it feels like simply checking off checklist items rather than actual representation.

I am not going to deny that this book has so much potential to benefit so many people, but it also participates in erasure, as well as a base misunderstanding of imperialist issues.

Which is exactly why it was so difficult for me to review this book. It is a diverse book and offers on-the-page representation for trans, gender non-conforming, asexual, pansexual, gay, bisexual, lesbian, and Deaf representation. And not even just that – it’s still a decent book with constant action, well-developed characters, an interesting (albeit under-developed or vague) world, and engaging dialogue. But it still falls flat in so many areas. And I hope that me pointing the things out that made me uncomfortable, that left a bad taste in my mouth doesn’t seem to you that I’m negating all the good this book can do in so many young people’s lives. I hope that if this review does anything, it at least sheds some light on the issues in the book, and maybe the issues will be rectified or redeemed in the sequel(s).

And with that ~3,000 word review…

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TRIGGER WARNING

Gore, violence, anti-indigenous rhetoric, colonialism/imperialist thought.

BUY IT

27 Hours releases on October 3rd, 2017.

Goodreads // Amazon

Comments

  1. I think I just pressed post on a comment WAY before I was ready. Either way, I’m starting again because I have FEELINGS. This review is wonderful and thoughtful and I LOVE the way that you engage with your reading.

    Everything you’ve said is so right. To have a character of Nigerian heritage and to erase the history of that country’s colonisation is ridiculous. It’s like you’ve said – it means nothing to write what you consider ‘diverse’ characters in your book if you’re doing it without the context of their culture, and, as you’ve said, in such a way that they could be replaced with a white character without notice is insulting and it’s tokenism. I think this author only has white friends.

    It’s particularly damaging given what an educational opportunity this book could have been. As a white British girl who is a product of that education system, I can attest that in school we learn NOTHING about our country’s despicable history. We have built a society based on the blood of victims of crimes we continue to deny. In this past election period after the horrific bombing in Manchester one of the candidates for Prime Minister pointed out that terrorism doesn’t exist in a vaccuum, it’s something we have had and continue to have a hand in, whether we like it or not, and the ABUSE he got for saying that was unreal. It’s a truth that people here refuse to face and that man went on to not win the election in part because of a relentless campaign by the right wing press to brand him a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. I bring all this up because it shows there is total ignorance among several generations of British people alive right now of what our country is built on, so a YA book that effectively portrays the devastation colonialism left in it’s wake would have been so much better than this wet dream of white guilt and privilege. This makes me so mad, especially as this book is likely to be held up as an example of fantastic diverse literature. If you really care about diversity then its your job to educate yourself, which is something this author clearly has not done.

    This one is definitely for the do not read pile.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s awesome x

  2. Yeah, the fact that it’s not very far off in the future makes some things unrealistic. I’m happy you’ve brought these things to my attention and I’m frustrated it hasn’t been shared around the community as much as some other things have. You can have good rep in one area and not in another!

    I was contacted to review this book and I’ll definitely keep what you wrote here in mind and link to it. It’s so insightful. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for writing such a long, nuanced and detailed review! I appreciate the time and effort you put in it, it must have been hard, dealing with these topics. I don’t think there’s much more I can say, because it’s definitely not my lane but I did want to show my gratitude. I love your blog and your thoughtfulness

  4. The third gif you used was basically me reading your review. So. Much. Potential. But it also sounds really problematic. I hadn’t heard anything of this book, but I’m glad your review is the first one I read 🙂

  5. Thanks for this review Aimal. If not for it, I would have gone into it none the wiser and came out with as disgruntled thoughts as you did.

    If I had a chance to pick this one up, I would also be very wary about how this world is presented. 200 years is definitely not enough time for the ENTIRE WORLD to assimilate – much less to a Westernized point of view. I really do think that having these characters be pro-colonization is a cop-out as well. Having the conflict centered as inter-species prejudice instead of inter-racial prejudice isn’t an excuse to dismiss the racial backgrounds of the seemingly diverse characters of the book, and I’m super disappointed that this happened, given all the hype surrounding this book. Now I’m much more wary to start this story, if only because even though this isn’t a white-savior book centered around the thoughts of a white person realizing their prejudice, it’s pretty much the same concept. And right now, I’m not about that kind of book.

    Thank you for bringing your perspective into light! If I do go into this book, it will be with wariness and caution now.

  6. Thank you for this review, Aimal. I have this book on preorder, and this will give me a very important base to think about when I’m reading it–things I might have missed, reading it as a white person.

  7. I started reading this review, because I stumbled upon it, then I spotted Nigerian and I’m like okay a problematic book with a main character from my country, and I’m like let me see how being Nigerian will play into this because we Nigerians, have characteristics that having Nigerian blood just creates. So my main question is, does it say what ethnic group Rumo belongs to, because Nigeria is widely diverse and has so many different cultures and languages, you can’t say a person is Nigerian, without identifying the ethnic group and culture of the person. I’m also wondering if Nigeria was just stated because it’s one of the most popular African countries and no actual research was done into Nigeria and it’s people. But I guess again since everyone is one and ethnicity doesn’t matter and all that the author didn’t put much thought into it?

    I also don’t think the world will ever be a global village in the sense that the millions of ethnic culture will be eradicated and there is only one language and what not. And lol this is definitely purely fictional because I know the world and people of colour will never be that trusting of white people and their superiority complex. Loved this review.

    • Thank you very much for reading, Lara. As for your question – it’s only stated once that this character is of Nigerian descent. Rumor’s father is biracial Portuguese and Nigerian, and his mother is Indian. His ancestry is only mentioned in that one passage I quoted in my review, and no distinct non-Western culture exists, at all, in the book.

      One of my main concerns was the harmful idea that despite peoples immigrating from all over Earth, the society had largely assimilated to a traditionally Westernized concept of culture and society. That’s so unthinkable for me, you know? As a Pakistani, I know many in the region don’t even speak or understand English, and their customs are WILDLY different from American ones. If they immigrated to the moon, they wouldn’t automatically default to Americanized way of living, lol? It’s such an obvious world-building flaw that 1) makes no logical sense, and 2) is just… harmful, because Western hegemony is such a significant problem.

      Anyway, I rambled a bit there, ha. Thanks for reading again. <3

      • I totally agree with you, yes a lot of people here also don’t understand English. Even in today’s age, like I went somewhere in Ogun Abeokuta, it’s a Yoruba State and wanted to buy something and started speaking English t a young boy and he had to tell me in Yoruba he didn’t understand what i am saying, so I get your point loud and clear and how badly it rings true and so many people here already complain about how westernized we are living and how we shouldn’t forget our culture, because it’s highly part of us and something we can’t lose, ignore or forget, no matter how good life is.

        I think I started rambling also, take care of yourself.

  8. Aimal, thank you so much for writing this beautifully honest review. You’ve highlighted every concern I had about reading this book and more. I expected the racial diversity to fall short in the way you described: that race is nothing more than a word and that culture has no presence. But I’m sad to hear of how westernised this singular human race is too.

    It makes no sense for racism to be non existent but for species-ism to exist. It sounds like a narrative that doesn’t actually want to address the issues of marginalisation and instead tackle it sideways. And I guess that kind of narrative has value sometimes – I’ve just read too much of it.

    I hadn’t even thought of the indigenous species/colonist narrative that this book would have. Victims are the ones who deserve a narrative, and I don’t blame you for struggling to sympathise with the protagonists. The way it parallels with reality feels really uncomfortable. We don’t really need any more stories about people learning to not be awful and becoming allies to those who are marginalised with no perspective for the victims.

    Thanks again for this review x

  9. Damn!!! What an amazing review. You did such a good job pointing out issues while still maintaining that the book has its good sides. I’m not interested in reading it, but I’m glad I read your review. The fact that it’s a story about colonialism but from the pov of the invaders is just … no. Thank you for writing this! ❤

  10. Thanks so much for this review Amal! I’m utterly surprised that the character who comes from a country that was colonised would be the one to be the most pro-colonisation in this plot. It’s so unrealistic. This is why sensitivity readers are important!

  11. This was a really well thought out review and raised some really good points. I had only heard about this book from the perspective of its diversity in terms of sexuality which was really being praised. I hadn’t even really heard about the plot. I do think that it’s a bit unrealistic to have different cultures and languages having been erased in so short of a time.

  12. Aimal, this is an amazing and thoughtful review. I read this from start to finish (and to be super honest, I don’t do that often, lmao). Thank you so much for writing this review. I know it was very personal for you to write, and it put you in a position of vulnerability to talk about issues that you are close to home for you. Thank you for writing from your experience and taking the time to share your perspective. This review, and your voice, are valued and appreciated.

    But anyway, in addressing your review, I haven’t read the book myself yet so I cannot pass judgement, but… Based on your review, which I trust, I’m inclined to say… yikes.

    Reading what you have said, I’m really concerned with the portrayal of imperialism. I do agree that erasure of inter-group race-based discrimination and that differences between cultures have been blurred in favour of a superordinate ‘human’ identity (please correct me if my description of that is wrong) *is* a cop-out. Culture has persisted for centuries and intergroup differences have persisted for centuries, and it’ll persist for many centuries to come. It also concerns me that the world in 27 Hours has amalgamated into a Western way of living? Western hegemony is something that a lot of us, PoC, diaspora, etc., try to resist everyday. The undertones of this book concern me. I’m also trying to grapple with all the issues presented here.

    I’m really torn about reading 27 Hours. On one hand, I trust your review wholeheartedly and I’m not interested in a book that misunderstands imperialism (because, honestly, I’m sensitive to these issues too, but for reasons different to yours), but on the other hand, I feel like I should read it and write a review, not to ‘hate-read’ or anything, but maybe I could make some contribution to the discussion with my Sociology major/Social Psych expertise. I don’t know.

    In any case, I don’t want to write a whole essay to you (I feel like I could), but again, thank you for writing this review. I support you, what you’ve had to say here, and your insights. Thanks Aimal. <3

  13. Thanks so much for this review, Aimal. <3 I've seen nothing but wonderful things about the representation of sexuality, gender, and disability in 27 HOURS, but yours is the first review I've seen that mentions race rep. I really appreciate you drawing attention to these issues!

  14. Thank you so much for writing this review. I’ve seen wonderful things about the LGBTQIAP rep in this book, but hadn’t seen anything about the representation of POC in it until now and I don’t think I’ve seen a single negative review for it (well, aside from trolls on GR that hate Tristina which I’m not counting, lol). I really appreciate seeing your perspective on it. I actually just requested this from the publisher – if I happen to end up reviewing it, do you mind if I link to your review in my own?

  15. Thank you for this review. This book has been so hyped up on BookTube, at Book Con and BEA! I have never seen many reviews of this book to begin with yet, but I really appreciate your point of view and your honesty. Having not read this book myself yet, everything you made out to be an issue totally IS an issue, not an exaggeration. I was really looking forward to this book particularly due to the ace rep, but I don’t think I will be supporting it so wholeheartedly in the future.

  16. Thank you for writing such a thoughtful review. It helped a lot for you to discuss your personal perspective and background re: why colonialism would stick out especially to you. (It took me an embarrassingly long time to actually start looking into colonialism and it’s effects on the world.)

    I haven’t read this book and wasn’t really planning to, but your review actually makes me wonder if poor world building/explanation is at the heart of some of the things you found incredulous. Essentially, as a white person, I think Wright may have based the idea of this unified human society with specie-ist prejudice but interchangeable racial characters on the development of white culture but failed to sell it that way.

    Five to seven generations ago white people were less of a monolith. There were prejudices and slurs thrown between white groups based on national or religious identity. [side note here: clearly there were also racist things going on contemporaneously. White ppl might have cursed those dirty Irish/Polish/Dutch/etc. immigrants but the USA enslaved based on race, the USA literally wrote laws restricting immigration based on race, etc.] What happened? We othered other races and united together on racial rather than national/religious grounds. The Jazz Singer is not just the first talkie, it’s a film about a Jewish man who uses blackface to succeed in Vaudeville. We fought WWII with racially segregated troops but we shoved all those white men together to realize national heritage/origin maybe wasn’t as big a deal. We published propaganda that demonized the Japanese as a whole while making the Nazis, not all Germans, the bad guy.

    If this is what Wright was going for, it’s actually not the first time a white author has suggested an outside “alien” force would unite humanity across racial and national lines. Ender’s Game** and The Watchmen both do this. Of course in this book humanity is the aliens and the indigenous population is what they’ve united against. Anyway, if she was going for this it sounds like she didn’t do a great job building it in which means someone like me, who has recently been looking into how whiteness as an identity developed, would draw a different conclusion than someone more familiar with the long, enduring legacies of colonialism.

    I’m also not surprised Wright’s work would end up centering the colonizers because, well… I’m a white person, we’re very good at centering ourselves. This whole comment is basically me centering myself. Thank you for calling it out in this work. I think it’s really valuable to have conversations around how prevent a colonialist mindset can be in Western literature because it has been instrumental to my learning more about colonialism. (Which is, again, centering. SORRY!) And it’s also valuable to let people know this is in the narrative so they can avoid the book if they’d rather not read yet another colonialist perspective.

    ** I know OSC is pretty problematic as a person so, this may effect that aspect of the book. I also haven’t read past Ender’s Game/Shadow to the bits where the story gets more sympathetic to alien species.

    • I forgot to say, also, YES on asking WHY if humanity would become a culturally interchangeable monolith would western culture be the default/dominant culture. For real, if you don’t explain that in your world building why should I buy it as a reader?

  17. Thanks for this incredible review! I’ve never seen anything but praise for 27 Hours (mostly for the queer rep) so I had no idea it had any of these problems. Your perspective on this is really needed.

  18. This is such an incredible review, Aimal. Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to write it. Up until now I’ve only seen positive things about this book and it just shows how important diverse reviewers across all aspects are for this community. I’ve actually learnt so much just from this post. I also literally just requested this book and now I’m kind of wishing I didn’t 😂 If I’m approved would it be okay to link to your review in my post? Again, fantastic review 💕

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! Took me forever but I had so many thoughts, haha. And yeah, I know that my personal relationship with colonialist thought definitely gave me a different reading experience than it did for many other people! And sure, you can totally link to my review. I hope you like it more than I did, though! x

      • That’s totally understandable! I’m so sorry it wasn’t represented better and that you weren’t able to have a more enjoyable experience, but I’m so thankful for the learning experience! I’ll definitely be going in with a lot more apprehension and critical thinking now. Thanks again, Aimal ♥

  19. I hadn’t even taken note of that, thanks for bringing this important subject up. Honesty I thought this book was set way farther into the future but now I am started to see where this is sort of a white savior sort of book.
    A lot of people, including myself, only focused on the diverse queer aspect of it. And I have to admit many times I was uncomfortable with the colonialist aspect of the book but I ignored it because I was finally reading about characters that are like me.
    This is definitely a good post! Glad you took the time to write it. Mind if i link this to my review? I would love to get this view into it.

    • Yes, I felt like the white savior trope was in play here too, except instead of race, it was specie-ism. Is that even a thing, lol?! And of course, you can link my review! 🙂

  20. Amazing review. Thanks for pointing all this out. I have seen nothing but glowing reviews for 27 Hours that haven’t addressed any of these glaring issues.

    Most of the discussion has been about the great queer rep. It’s unforuante that a book with this much queer rep (and some #ownvoices at that) would have so many problems with centering colonists & racial representation.

    Despite not being interested in the plot, I was considering reading 27 Hours becasue of the queer rep but knowing all this I’ll probably have to pass 🤷‍♀️.

    • Ah, one of the reasons this was hard for me to review was because it’s so well-loved by so many (and I truly do understand exactly why that is!) Thank you for reading, though. The most I can do is try and offer a perspective that the majority in the community aren’t familiar with!

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