I wasn’t always a Steamfunkateer. When Steampunk first emerged I watched, enthralled, from a distance as this sub-genre took shape. Now, at this juncture, I must confess to love of many things British—especially films and YA fiction (for example, Dial M for Murder).
So one might even say I was destined to fall in love with Steampunk…with the outrageous, sensuous customs, the outlandish—yet dangerous weaponry—and of course the stories themselves that take place in so many alternate universes.
But at first there were no people of color in these universes; no class struggles, no racism—none of the sociopolitical ills that so often plague our lives. So I decided to write my own story: a tale of two worlds coexisting on the same planet. The planet Tyrol. The wealthy futuristic world of the upper dwellers lives on the top side Tyrol, and the virtually enslaved class of underwellers lives below them.
And thus my first Steamfunk story, The Switch, was born.
Z100 stood on the tube platform waiting for the next car. She was dressed in a one-piece, white jumpsuit and thigh-high boots: standard dress for the upper city. Pods only seated three to a car, and were propelled by compressed air through tunnels that webbed across Tyrol. Access was granted through palm recognition scanners.
On her left, a Latino couple waited for the car. The man was dressed in a derby hat and striped pants with suspenders; the woman wore a bustier, and skirt with petticoats. Their musty smell reached her, and she wrinkled her nose in disgust. At least these cars are self-cleaning.
An egg-shaped pod slid to a stop in front of her. She pressed her palm against the scanner and then shot an icy glance at the couple.
They looked away. They knew better than to try to ride with her. Under dwellers were not permitted to socialize with city residents, and only ventured above ground to work. They would wait for the next car.
Excerpt from The Switch, The Steamfunk! Anthology (2013).
I developed the The Switch into a novel: The Switch II: Clockwork (and included both books 1 and 2). Right around this time, writers Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade put out a call for submissions to their upcoming Steamfunk! Anthology.
Steamfunk, I wondered, what the heck is that? I promptly asked Milton Davis for an explanation and he said, and I quote, “Don’t worry. You’re already writing it!” What I’d written fell right into the new subgenre created by these gentlemen. Steamfunk. The classification for Steampunk when it comes out of the Black and/or POC experience.
I was a Steamfunkateer! The Switch, book 1 was accepted for publication in The Steamfunk! Anthology. And I haven’t landed my airship yet :)
Preorders available at MV Media
The Contributors to Steamfunk! edited by Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade.
Valjeanne Jeffers – is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com
Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College and has been published in numerous anthologies including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, LuneWing, Griots: An Anthology of Sword and Soul, Griots II: Sisters of The Spear (in press) and Say It Loud: Poems About James Brown.
Milton Davis – 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: www.mvmediaatl.com andwww.wagadu.ning.com .
Ronald T. Jones is the author of Subject 82-42, Warriors of The Four Worlds and Chronicle of The Liberator. He is also the template from which an army of powerful clones of insurmountable intellect arose to impose order on a restless universe. He is also an enthusiastic science fiction fan, author of three novels, and contributor to a number of scifi/fantasy anthologies, including Steamfunk. He currently resides in Chicago when he’s not brooding in his underground Venusian fortress. To read his ramblings visit: http://blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blogs/intersection-of-steamfunk-and-history-the-real-world-roots-of-a
Ray Dean – Growing up in Hawaii, Ray Dean had the opportunity to enjoy nearly every culture under the sun. The Steamfunk Anthology was an inspiration she couldn’t pass up. Ray can be reached at http://www.raydean.net/.
Malon Edwards – Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Malon Edwards now lives in the Greater Toronto Area. Much of his speculative fiction features people of color and is set in his hometown. Malon can be reached at eastofmars.blogspot.com.
Rebecca M. Kyle – With a birthday on Friday 13, it’s only natural that the author is fascinated with myths, legends, and oddities of all kinds. Ms. Kyle lives with her husband, four cats, and more rocks and books than she cares to count between the Smokies and Cumberland mountains. Visit her at http://bexboox13.blogspot.com/.
Carole McDonnell – is a writer of Christian, supernatural, and ethnic stories. Her writings appear in various anthologies, including So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonialism in Science Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson; Jigsaw Nation; and Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: Writings by Mature Women of Color among others. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. Her novels are the Christian speculative fiction, Wind Follower, and The Constant Tower. Her Bible study is called: Seeds of Bible Study. Her website is http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/.
Balogun Ojetade – Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steamfunk); “Once Upon A Time in Afrika” (Sword and Soul); “Redeemer” (Urban Fantasy) and the films, “A Single Link” and “Rite of Passage”. Finally, he is Co-Author of “Ki-Khanga: The Anthology” and Co-Editor of “Steamfunk!” Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.
Hannibal Tabu – is a writer, a storyteller, and by god, a fan. He has written the novels, “The Crown: Ascenscion,” “Faraway” and the upcoming scifi political thriller “Rogue Nation.” He is currently the co-owner and editor-in-chief of Black geek website Komplicated at the Good Men Project, and uses his Operative Network website (www.operative.net) to publish his poetry, market what he’s doing, rant at the world and emit strangled cries for help. Check out his fantastic blog, The Good Men Project, for his Steamfunk! thoughts.
Geoffrey Thorne – Geoffrey Thorne has written a lot of stuff in a lot of venues and will be writing more in more. It’s his distinct pleasure to take part in another of these groundbreaking anthologies. Thanks for letting me roll with you folks. For more (and God knows why you’d want more) check out http://www.geoffreythorne.com/.