Saturday, October 29, 2016

What is Nisi Shawl reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair.

Her entry begins:
I generally read more than one book at a time. For purely escapist pleasure I’ll pick up work by Trollope or Gaskell or another British Victorian, but at the moment you’ve caught me in the midst of overlapping perusal of two science fiction texts. Because I’m a science fiction writer myself these sorts of books tend to bring out my critical faculties rather than relaxing them.

I’m on the last chapter of David Levine’s debut novel, Arabella of Mars. Combining steampunkish elements such as a highly complicated version of the 18th- and 19th-centuries’ notorious, fraudulent “chessplaying automaton” with wooden ships sailing gale-force winds through an interplanetary atmosphere, Levine manages to simultaneously invoke C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoomian adventures. An audacious heroine...[read on]
About Everfair, from the publisher:
Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

Nisi Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.
Visit Nisi Shawl's website.

Writers Read: Nisi Shawl.

--Marshal Zeringue