My friend Nisi Shawl’s amazing new novel Everfair arrives in bookstores today. It’s a steampunk novel set in an alternate history where Congolese natives and their allies use steam-powered dirigibles (“aircanoes”) to fight back against the Belgian soldiers of King Leopold. Everfair has battle scenes, lots of cool technology, and more than a little magic (there’s a character named Fwendi who projects her soul into a herd of cats in order to snoop on the bad guys), but the real heart of the story is the politicking and relationships among the various factions seeking to build a true free state in Congo: native Africans, white British socialists, African-American missionaries, Asian laborers and merchants, and a French author, spy, and bicycle enthusiast named Lisette Toutournier.
As I say, it’s amazing; I’m already picturing the BBC miniseries. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft Country you should definitely check it out.
You can read a sample of Everfair here and an essay about the origins of the story here. You can also catch Nisi on her book tour, which starts tonight with a 7 PM appearance at the U.W. University Book Store.
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P.S. Also on sale today: Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.