An Ocean of Wonder: The Fantastic in the Pacific brings together fifty writers and artists from across Moananuiākea working in myriad genres across media, ranging from oral narratives and traditional wonder tales to creative writing as well as visual artwork and scholarly essays. Collectively, this anthology features the fantastic as present-day Indigenous Pacific world-building that looks to the past in creating alternative futures, and in so doing reimagines relationships between peoples, environments, deities, nonhuman relatives, history, dreams, and storytelling.
Wonder is activated by curiosity, humility in the face of mystery, and engagement with possibilities. We see wonder and the fantastic as general modes of expression that are not confined to realism. As such, the fantastic encompasses fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, fabulation, horror, fairy tale, utopia, dystopia, and speculative fiction. We include Black, feminist, and queer futurisms, Indigenous wonderworks, Hawaiian moʻolelo kamahaʻo and moʻolelo āiwaiwa, Sāmoan fāgogo, and other non-mimetic genres from specific cultures, because we recognize that their refusal to adopt restrictive Euro-American definitions of reality is what inspires and enables the fantastic to flourish.
As artistic, intellectual, and culturally based expressions that encode and embody Indigenous knowledge, the multimodal moʻolelo in this collection upend monolithic, often exoticizing, and demeaning stereotypes of the Pacific and situate themselves in conversation with critical understandings of the global fantastic, Indigenous futurities, social justice, and decolonial and activist storytelling. In this collection, Oceanic ideas and images surround and connect to Hawaiʻi, which is for the three coeditors, a piko (center); at the same time, navigating both juxtaposition and association, the collection seeks to articulate pilina (relationships) across genres, locations, time, and media and to celebrate the multiplicity and relationality of the fantastic in Oceania.