Storytelling school

Modern horror and Inuit tales blended in a new book

For author Jamesie Fournier, Inuit stories have always been a great route into the horror genre.

“It can be very dark,” he said. “There’s a lot of macabre that goes with it.”

The dark elements of Inuit fairy tales are on full display in OthersFournier’s first horror novel.

Two stories make up the book. The Internet tells the story of a girl and her mother who find their fishing net torn in their remote cabin, and later encounter monstrous forces under the frozen lake.

In before dawna young boy and his friend venture deep into the tundra and away from the safety of home, until the friend begins to transform into a horrifying creature.

When Fournier isn’t writing stories to keep his readers awake at night, he studies Inuktitut in Iqaluit and works as a support assistant and educator in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

Her inspiration for the book came after attending a cultural field camp at Aurora College in Fort Smith.

He and his class were checking fishing traps under the ice using a special chisel attached to a rope the instructor had made, he said.

When it was Fournier’s turn to use the chisel to carefully chip away at the ice, the ice shattered and the rope came loose from his wrist, sinking to the bottom of the lake.

Fournier then thought, “if only there was someone on the other side of the ice,” he said, who could help retrieve the tools.

While thinking about the sunken chisel, Fournier began to think of the Inuit stories he had heard growing up, where mysterious creatures actually existed under the ice.

“I kind of grew up with my mom telling us scary stories to keep us in bed,” he said.

The characters in those stories would then linger in his mind.

“I realized that I could take these characters that I grew up with and put them in a new setting and see how they would react,” he said.

“How would they somehow feel immersed in this modern setting, these beings who have followed their own code for millennia? What would that look like today? »

Inuit storytelling is already a great path to horror, Fournier said. A lot of the stories really feel like cautionary tales – they scare children in order to protect them.

Both stories in the book share a similar theme, the threat of children being abducted by dark forces.

Fournier was inspired by the shape-shifting creature Ijiraq and the water-dwelling Qallupilluit, who are said to kidnap misbehaving children.

“If you stray too far, many can find you and take you away,” Fournier said.

“Make sure you stay close. Stay close to where people can see.

The book took a few years to come together, Fournier said. He submitted his story ideas to publisher Inhabit Media and illustrator Toma Feizo Gas created the final visuals, producing a work that Fournier calls “a storybook for adults”.

Fournier wrote short stories for magazines, such as an earlier version of before dawnpublished in Inuit Art Quarterly, but Others is his first complete book.

“It’s really cool. I can’t wait for the launch,” said Fournier.

A public book launch is scheduled for November 15 at 6 p.m. at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit.

Others is available online through booksellers and Inhabit Media.