The State of Black SF 2012: Why I love Steampunk

I love fantasy. I know fantasy/SF is pretty popular these days, but I fell in love long before the genre became the “flyest kid at the school.” There’s just something wonderful about escaping into a world (whether through reading or writing) that’s so different from everyday mundane reality― a reality of responsibilities and bills― into a dimension where you still have the same crap to deal with. . . but now you can became a creature with preternatural strength. How cool is that? It gives you a decided edge over everyday reality, or at the very least makes it more interesting.

I wrote my first novel, Immortal, with these thoughts in mind. The beginning of Immortal was the story of a young woman, Karla, living on the planet Tundra. Karla has ordinary, everyday struggles. But she has a little―no a big―edge. Immortal weaves a tale of portals. Time travel. Werewolves. Daemons. By the time Immortal III is thrown into the mix, vampires have joined the plot. Tell me, what’s not to love? Fantasy also lends itself incredibly well to “what if?” scenarios. As in: what if there was no racism? What if there was no poverty? What if folks came together and decided to change the world. . .?

For those of you who haven’t guessed it yet, I also like to mix genres. In fact, that’s the other thing I love so much about fantasy; it blends so easily with other genres, like horror and science fiction. But if fantasy is my first love, I’d have to say steampunk is my second.

From the outrageous clothing. . . bustles, corsets and knickers, to the outrageous machinery. . . airships, steam-trains, muskets. This is a genre I just can’t stay away from. Steampunk is a glorious mixture of other fantasy/SF genres. And the settings and plots reflect this― plots set in the post-civil war. Victorian England. Post-Apocalyptic America. Or a futuristic world, as in my steampunk story: The Switch II: Clockwork.
Steampunk, like any other fantasy subgenre is also anybody’s game when it comes to “what if?” plots, settings and costumes. Which of course is why I’m so head over heels in love with it.

Some of the best steampunk I’ve read this year, includes other fiction by Black writers such as: The Chronicles of Harriet by Balogun http://www.mochamemoirspress.com
and The Delivery by Milton Davis http://www.scribd.com/doc/76098823/The-Delivery

I’ll drop the sequel to the The Switch,The Switch II: Clockwork in Spring 2011, by steam train of course :) Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds will also hit the shelves in Spring 2012. This is the conclusion to my Immortal saga, and wouldn’t you guess? Immortal IV also has a steampunk theme.

And check out my awesome fellow writers and what flavor of fiction they love on my blogroll. In 2012 I want to see more fantasy/steamfunk offerings by fabulous writers of color. I fully expect that I will.

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer–is a Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/ or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L.M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.

Milton Davis, Author –Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: http://www.mvmediaatl.com and http://www.wagadu.ning.com.

Margaret Fieland, Author–lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author –is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at:http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/

Thaddeus Howze, Author–is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: http://www.aliciamccalla.com

Carole McDonnell, Author–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole:http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd

13 thoughts on “The State of Black SF 2012: Why I love Steampunk

  1. Excellent post, Valjeanne! You and Balogun have really opened my mind to steampunk, a genre I thought was inaccessible before — mainly just due to the name. But like all things unfamiliar, education is key. Looking forward to reading your work!

    • Wow, thanks Nicole :)! Right back atcha Sis, Escape From Beckyville sounds like a fire read! There’s so much creativity in our circle, I find it hard to keep up. But I ain’t never pressed for a good read — ya’ll see to that :)

  2. Really great blog, I agree on all fronts, especially on the notion of being able to play around with all of the what if’s. The aesthetics of steampunk is undeniable. i get a special kind of joy out of seeing people of color in steampunk.
    as you noted, the fantasy genre allows for so much flexibility and creativity. I think I would have trouble reigning it all in and managing to execute it gracefully myself, so I admire when others are able to do it so skillfully. Looking forward to reading some of your works soon!

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