Sunday, February 24, 2013

The STEAMFUNK ANTHOLOGY: What – and Why – It Is

cover art by Marcellus Shane
On February 20, two of the hardest working independent editors in the business - Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade - released the Steamfunk! anthology under Milton's MVmedia Publishing

I'm pleased to say my short story, "Mud Holes and Mississippi Mules", is included in the table of contents.

Now, some of you may be asking yourselves, 'What exactly is steamfunk? I've never heard of that.' Well, before we define it, let's start with steampunk. 

 For many, steampunk is an idea, a movement, a political statement, a lifestyle, a style of dress, or a way of life. Wikipedia, that venerable source of information we know and love, defines steampunk as:  

"a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power." 
No matter how you view or define steampunk, this sub-genre of speculative fiction has definitely transcended literature these past few years. 

Google 'steampunk', and you'll find numerous links for steampunk clothing and jewelry (especially on Etsy), steampunk societies (both real world and virtual), and, of course, steampunk literature.

What you won't find much of is people of color.

That's where steamfunk comes in.

But you say, 'Wait. What about the movie Wild Wild West? It has Will Smith, Selma Hayek, and that huge steam-powered spider. And if you google steampunk and click through far enough, you'll find some dapper brothers wearing bowler hats and vests and some fine sister wearing corsets and riding boots.' 

And you're right. 

But steampunk literature often marginalizes or overlooks people of color. We aren't the main characters. The nuances of our societies aren't depicted in detail, if at all. In short, we're noticeably absent.

Which is why the Steamfunk! anthology was created.

Wikipedia won't give you a steamfunk definition, but Balogun defines it as:

" a person, style of dress or subgenre of fiction that seeks to bring together elements of blaxploitation films and merge it with that of Steampunk fiction...a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and/or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and/or steampunk fiction."

And that's a good, solid start for this new movement. 

Below are some the writers with stories in the Steamfunk! anthology. Over the next week or so, they will also discuss on their blogs the anthology, what steamfunk is, and what steamfunk means to them. 

Check them out for more insight into steamfunk and their own work. 

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: .

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

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

Valjeanne Jeffers – Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, The Switch II: Clockwork and Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds Visit her at and

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

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

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 film, “A Single Link” and “Rite of Passage”. Finally, he is Co-Author of “Ki-Khanga: The Anthology” and Co-Editor of “Steamfunk!” Visit him:

Hannibal Tabu – is a writer, a storyteller, and by god, a fan. He has written the novels, “The Crown: Ascenscion” and “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 ( to publish his poetry, market what he's doing, rant at the world and emit strangled cries for help.

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


Anne @ Zen and Genki said...

It sounds wonderful, I can't wait to lay eyes on my own (autographed!) copy :)

six blocks east of mars said...

I suppose we'll have to get you yours soon then, won't we? ;)

Melvin Carter said...

"Tough Night in Tommyville"- Think Sidney Poitier coming out the saloon in "Duel at Diablo" and Roscoe Lee Browne, no taint of being 'patronized' by a john wayne as the 'hired help'. Dorothy Danderidge as a more ruthless "Carmen Jones" and the Great!!! Paul Benjamin as the love struck ( but not out of it!)town boss.

six blocks east of mars said...

@Melvin: I'm looking forward to reading your story. I haven't read much spec fic Western-flavored stories, but it looks like you've got some good stuff going on with "Tough Night in Tommyville".