The Midwest Spec-Fic Book Box -- Limited Availability

By Jason Sizemore
on November 05, 2020

The Midwest Spec-Fic Book Box -- Limited Availability

The Box includes Pimp My Airship by Maurice Broaddus, as well as the first anthology of speculative fiction and poetry by Africans and the African Diaspora, - both published in Kentucky USA - and two exciting, queer, adventures published in Detroit and Minneapolis.

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Pimp My Airship: Steampunk as Afrofuturism

By Lesley Conner
on September 04, 2019

Guest post by Maurice Broaddus, author of Pimp My Airship, I Can Transform You, and Orgy of Souls (with Wrath James White), editor of Dark Faith and Dark Faith: Invocations (with Jerry Gordon).

Afrofuturism is hot right now. Ever since Black Panther made its seismic splash, the term has been bandied about and suddenly folks are “discovering” black writers who have been out there doing the thing for years. The original “Pimp My Airship” steampunk short story was published in Apex Magazine in 2009, the beginning of what would be termed “steamfunk” (steampunk through the black cultural lens). Steamfunk and Afrofuturism do very similar work.

The term ‘Afrofuturism’ was coined in 1994 by cultural critic, Mark Dery in his essay “Black to the Future.” He defines it as “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture — and more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future.” Ytasha Womack defines Afrofuturism as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation.” Similarly, steampunk is speculative fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century steam-powered industrial age. They are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American “Wild West,” in a future whose technology revolves around steam power.

Afrofuturism has a larger aesthetic mode, encompassing visual art, music, film, literature, and fashion to create a framework to critique our present, that’s rooted in history and looks to the future derived from Afrodiasporic experiences. Afrofuturism mixes science fiction and social justice, imagines the future through art and the lens of black experience, and is rooted in black people’s pursuit of a better future for ourselves on our terms.

Steampunk, with its emphasis on Victorian era ethos, features an aesthetic rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Historically, steampunk ignored the “darker” aspects of the Victorian Era, such as colonialism, sexism, classism, racism, and chattel slavery; its Make Literature Great Again mindset erasing POC. [In recent years this has been examined with works such as Steamfunk! by Milton J. Davis, The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia by Jaymee Goh, Steampunk World/Steampunk Universe by Sarah Hans, Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley, and The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark.]

In my novel Pimp My Airship, all the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional agitator known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. Beneath the comic romp, there’s some serious business that gets done, which coincides with the work that defines Afrofuturism.

Rooted in history. In my steampunk world—from “Pimp My Airship” to “Steppin’ Razor” to Buffalo Soldier to the nearly dozen other short stories set here—America lost the Revolutionary War and remains a colony of Albion. The legacy of slavery and colonialism have sown the seeds of racialism. Oppressive societal control systems have been built. And in this cauldron of racist systems, the city of Indianapolis—and the people who live there—struggles to figure out what it wants to be.

A framework to critique our present. Sleepy and Knowledge Allah have grown up in communities isolated by redlining, forgotten and abandoned in the undercity known as The Tombs. As their adventures escalate, these accidental revolutionaries have to navigate systems of an over-policed state, mass incarceration, and run up against the industrial-military complex arrayed against them.

Eye to the future. To overcome the way society remains unequal, there has to be visions of a future where the problems are solved. Revolution takes many forms. To paraphrase Tananarive Due, even imagining ourselves with a better future is an act of revolution. Each person has a simple question to answer: have you had enough? When that answer becomes yes, you have to leverage your gifts—be you poet, artist, or writer—to act where you are and lend your voice to The Cause.

Afrofuturist art is the intersection of a black cultural lens, technology, liberation, and imagination. It bridges the past and future to critique the present. Afrofuturism is about: Remembering, Resilience, and Resistance. It creates awareness, raising consciousness, and maps potential futures; beginning with a journey of self-discovery, exploring black identity; and involving a radical imagining as systemic baggage gets deconstructed. Afrofuturism allows conversations about race and oppression that people don’t know how to have. Pimp My Airship, with steampunk trappings as its backdrop, constantly asks the Afrofuturist question “What future do you want to see?” as it imagines alternative visions of tomorrow. Maybe with steamfunk meeting Afrofuturism, it’s time for a new genre label. Perhaps, as editor Bill Campbell suggests, “Funktrofuturism.”

All month long you can save 25% on Pimp My Airship and everything else in the Apex store! Use discount code SEPTEMBER to save!

Double the reading fun!

By Lesley Conner
on May 21, 2019

As far as I know, today is a first for Apex Publications! Instead of releasing one new book for you to read and enjoy, today we have two! That's right! Today is the official release day for both Do Not Go Quietly edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner AND Pimp My Airship by Maurice Broaddus.

Do Not Go Quietly is an anthology of victory in defiance. It includes stories by Brooke Bolander, Sarah Pinsker, John Hornor Jacobs, Fran Wilde, Rich Larson, and so many more. These stories are filled with anger, resistance, and hope!

Do Not Go Quietly is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short stories about those who resist. Within this anthology, we will chronicle the fight for what is just and right, and what that means: from leading revolutions to the simple act of saying “No.”

Resistance can be a small act of everyday defiance. And other times, resistance means massive movements that topple governments and become iconic historical moments. Either way, there is power in these acts, and the contributors in Do Not Go Quietly will harness that power to shake our readers to the core. We are subordinates to a power base that is actively working to solidify its grip on the world. Now is the time to stand up and raise your voice and tell the world that enough is enough!

Get a taste of the stories within this collection by reading "Face" by Veronica Brush in the April issue of Apex Magazine.

Andrew Reising from Wild Speculation said that Do Not Go Quietly is " an excellent anthology." You can read his full review here

Join the resistance! Pick up your copy of Do Not Go Quietly today!

Pimp My Airship by Maurice Broaddus takes the theme of resistance and revolution, and views it through a lens of steamfunk and alternate history.

Warning: Don't believe the hype!

All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protestor known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be.

When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight for their freedom. Chased from one end of a retro-fitted Indianapolis to the other, they encounter outlaws, the occasional circus, possibly a medium, and more outlaws. They find themselves in a battle much larger than they imagined: a battle for control of the country and the soul of their people.

The revolution will not be televised!

Read the first chapter of Pimp My Airship here.

Paul's Picks called Pimp My Airship "a very good character-driven steampunk novel filled with gangsters, greed, and all means of gluttony. " You can read the full review here.

Pick up your copy of Pimp My Airship today!

Pimp My Airship (Novel Excerpt)

By Jason Sizemore
on April 10, 2019

Pimp My Airship (Novel Excerpt)

Read the first chapter of the exciting new steamfunk novel PIMP MY AIRSHIP by Maurice Broaddus!

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