The Road to SOBSFic Con: Why a State of BLACK Science Fiction Convention?

When a person was recently approached with the idea of being a guest (not by me, thankfully) at SOBSFic Con, the person responded by saying “Miss me with that shit! I don’t support Black anything! If white people threw a ‘White Science Fiction Convention’ Black people would be up in arms.”

Another person took it upon themselves to “enlighten” me after I posted an article about SOBSFic Con in a group:

“The real problem here is calling it ‘Black Science Fiction’,” they said. “If Afram writers insist on segregating their books in this manner, it will be a real challenge to market them. Simply writing a good book that HAPPENS to have a black character is good enough… I’ve found it’s difficult to sell a book OUTSIDE of people of color markets when we call the books ‘African-American’ or ‘Black’…this is just a sad fact. I’m black and it drives ME crazy!”

The article was about the convention, NOT one of my books, but okay. My response? Here:

“Black readers ARE my target market. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Just purchase what keeps you sane.”

I do not have the time or the inclination to break this down to folks every time this comes up – and it comes up too often – so I am writing this blog to serve as a link I – and you, if you choose – can share every time we are asked why white people shouldn’t name a con the White Science Fiction Convention, but it is not just okay, but intelligent marketing, to name ours the State of Black Science Fiction Convention.

Here are my responses; feel free to use them:

  1. “Because damn near every con – except for the few Black comic conventions – in the world is a white science fiction convention. Go to one, or look at the photos for any one of them and you’ll see.”
  2. “Because white people have not been ignored, excluded from, erased or made the savage in science fiction and fantasy.”
  3. “Shut yo’ dumb ass up!”

Now, I’ll add a couple of Milton Davis’ responses here, too, because he’s a lot nicer, wiser and older (had to toss that one in) than I:

  1. “When it comes to us, I like to be straight to the point; that way, there’s no guessing to what SOBSFic Con is about.”
  2. “State of Black Science Fiction is the name of the group.”

See…nicer; wiser, older more refined.

“Ok, Balogun, clever, responses,” you say. “You’re a witty guy, but the name ‘State of Black Science Fiction Convention’ is considered to be racist by some. Is it?”

Perhaps the State of Black Science Fiction Convention would be racist if its aim was to point out that Black people are superior to other groups. However, the State of Black Science Fiction Convention functions to highlight the oft-overlooked accomplishments of people of Afrikan descent in all genres and subgenres of speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, Sword and Soul, Rococoa, Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk, Real Urban Fantasy™ and the like.

So, “Black” will remain in the title of our convention, people.

And, for the record, SOBSFic Con – the State of Black Science Fiction Convention – was never intended to make white people – or Black people who get uncomfortable when white people are uncomfortable – uncomfortable…unless maybe they ought to be.

The Road to SOBSFic Con: Cosplay and the building of a Black World

Cosplay 4Last semester at the school I teach – and where my son, Ade, attends – the younger male students – ranging in age from six to ten and all of African descent (i.e. Black) – decided to fashion their own costumes based on characters they created. The boys created elaborate back-stories for their personas, developed comic books and transformed from being “themselves” into their personas at every break, during lunch and – for Ade, at least – on the ride home from school.

My son and his schoolmates had discovered the joys of cosplay.

Cosplay, thought by most to be short for “Costume Play” is, more accurately, short for “Paracosmic Play”. Paracosms are the fantasy worlds that many imaginative children invent.

Young people who engage in cosplay are developing creative skills that pay off later in “real life.” The famed trio of Brontë Sisters – best known for the novels, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre – and their Brother, Branwell, are a prime example of those who began writing early through creating and building upon imaginary worlds. As children, they concocted paracosms so elaborate that they documented them with meticulous maps, drawings, and hundreds of pages of encyclopedic writing.

Yes, cosplay involves wearing costumes and acting in the role of a favorite character from a novel, television program, comic book, movie or one’s own imagination; however, any good cosplayer knows that to cosplay well requires a knowledge of the world that character comes from. Those who cosplay characters from their own imaginations – such as my son and his schoolmates – usually create their character’s back-story, which includes the supporting characters and the setting from which that character comes.

Ogunlana gunIt now appears that, like the Brontës, children who engage in cosplay are more likely to be creative as adults. A 2002 study shows that geniuses are twice as likely as “normal” non-geniuses to cosplay. Some fields were proven to be particularly rife with cosplayers: Fully 46 percent of the recipients polled in the social sciences were cosplayers in their youth.

Fandom and cosplay is not for every child – some are just genuinely more interested in football than they are in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles (note that on the covers of the Kane Chronicles, the protagonist’s face is never shown; the protagonist is Black, however, on the cover of Riordan’s Percy Jackson series of novels, the white protagonist’s face is always shown) – but we need to see a change in the media; more Black writers need to tell our stories so that more young, Black fans are encouraged to reap the benefits of participatory fandom and cosplay.

These young, Black cosplayers will go on to make a better world for us.

Why?

 Because cosplay requires practical creativity. Fleshing out a universe demands, not just imagination, but an attention to detail, consistency, rule sets, and logic. You have to grapple with constraints – just as when you are problem-solving at work.

The future belongs to those who can imagine it.

Diesel Sis 2On Friday, June 10, 2016, join us for the kickoff event for SOBSFic ConThe Mahogany Masquerade.

Come dressed as your favorite Black hero or villain from comic books, science fiction or fantasy novels, or science fiction, fantasy or horror movies – extra props if the character you cosplay is from an indie work of Black Speculative Fiction. Enjoy great music; engage authors, filmmakers, artists and other cosplayers; shop for books and movies in our bazaar and chill out with some chai tea or a glass of wine.

This will be a fun and funky night and a Blacknificent beginning to a Blacktastic Convention!

The Road to Sobsfic Con: The State of Black Science Fiction Celebrity Wish List

Milton 6At our last Con Chair meeting, SOBSFic Con co-chair, author and publisher Milton Davis, swooned when it was mentioned that perhaps actors Orlando Jones and Michael Jai White and singer / songwriter, Janelle Monae might come to SOBSFic Con.

Turns out it was just a rumor – we would love to have them as guests, though – but it got me thinking about what celebrities I would love to see at the Southwest Arts Center on June 11-12, or even Friday, June 10, at the Mahogany Masquerade.

Below is my list. Which celebrities would you like to see at SOBSFic Con?

CCH Pounder-Kone

Wish 2One of my favorite actresses, Carol Christine Hilaria “C. C. H.” Pounder is the undisputed king – remember, there are no queens in Afrika – of Black Speculative visual media.

Born in Guyana, Mrs. Kone has taken the world by storm, starring in such horror, science fiction and fantasy roles as Mo’at, in James Cameron’s film, Avatar; as Mrs. Irene Frederic on the series Warehouse 13; as Fran Ambrose in Psycho 4: The Beginning; as Irene in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; as Nurse Shabana in White Dwarf; as Detective Marge Francis in End of Days; as Hollis Miller in Face/Off; as Madame Dorothea in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; as the voice of Amanda Waller in Superman / Batman: Public Enemies and Batman: Assault on Arkham; as The Oracle in Aladdin and the King of Thieves and the list goes on and on and on…

We’re talking living legend; fandom icon; master actor; activist; and wise elder all wrapped into one. Her appearance would elevate SOBSfic Con into the stratosphere!

Afrika Bambaataa

Wish 1This is one of my icons and would be the perfect guest for SOBSFic Con.

A DJ from the South Bronx, New York, he is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining songs in the 1980s that helped shape and mold the development of hip hop culture.

Afrika Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as “The Godfather” and “Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture,” as well as the father of electro funk.

Through his co-opting of the street organization the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world.

On Afrofuturism and Science Fiction, he had this to say:

“Sci-fi in popular culture influenced the persona I took on big time – whether it was Buck Rogers, or Flash Gordon; old movies. I used to bug out when my parents showed me the old Batman movies. We were caught up on the 60s Batman, with the giant words flying in your face, like “POW” and “BLAM” and all that. But what definitely took you there was when Star Trek and Lost in Space came out. That was no joke. And Bewitched. Bewitched was so powerful, even to this day. I go back even now and be like, “I wanna see where the string is at.” But you can’t find the strings – they made that look so real, and back then it wasn’t like the Matrix movies or something. This was Bewitched in the 60s, and they’d break a glass, then make the glass come back together – or they’d be in the house, then they’d wave their hands and be on a plane or something. Then the offspring of that show came out, I Dream of Genie… that stuff played a big role.”

He goes on to say “It took Sly (Stone) and Uncle George (Clinton) to take me there with the funk, and through the different ideologies. And then, with all the movies that I have seen, I started weaving it all together. I got into the code-breaking mode. It hit me at a young age that this was fantasy and entertainment, but then I realized that what your fantasy is becomes your reality – and what your reality is becomes your virtuality. You can be alive and then fall into a dream state.”

Afrika Bambaataa is the epitome of Afrofuturism in Hip-Hop and beyond and continues to be a powerful and influential figure in music and Black Speculative Fiction.

Parliament-Funkadelic / P-Funk All Stars

Wish 3This legendary, brilliant and highly influential funk, soul and rock music collective is headed by George Clinton. Their style has been dubbed P-Funk.

Collectively, the group has existed under various names since the 1960s and has been known for top-notch musicianship, politically charged lyrics, outlandish concept albums and memorable live performances. They have influenced – and continue to influence – numerous music groups in nearly every genre of music.

The collective was formed in the late 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey, under the direction of George Clinton. By the early 1970s, the groups Parliament and Funkadelic were operating concurrently and consisted of the same stable of musicians, playing different types of funk music, for two different labels.

Funkadelic is a funk band, with a psychedelic rock touch whose influences include the amplified sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown’s funk, the blues, Sun Ra’s experimentation and southern soul artists like Otis Redding and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Parliament is a funk/R&B band, whose influences are the funky side of Hendrix and Sly Stone, Motown soul groups turned funk groups like the Temptations, the political songs of the Impressions, Rufus Thomas’ southern funk and doo-wop groups like the Coasters.

The name “Parliament-Funkadelic” became the catch-all term for the multiple bands in Clinton’s stable.

Overall, the collective achieved thirteen top ten hits in the American R&B music charts between 1967 and 1983, including six number one hits.

By the early 1980s, Clinton consolidated the collective’s multiple projects and continued touring under the names “George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars” or “George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.”

George Clinton, a fan of science fiction, had this to say about The Mothership Connection, my favorite P-Funk album:

“We had put Black people in situations nobody ever thought they would be in, like the White House. I figured another place you wouldn’t think Black people would be was in outer space. I was a big fan of Star Trek, so we did a thing with a pimp sitting in a spaceship shaped like a Cadillac and we did all these James Brown-type grooves, but with street talk and ghetto slang.”

Like Sun Ra, George Clinton wanted to see Black people in space.

All the science fiction and Kemetic aspects of p-funk are what situate Clinton’s work in an afrofuturistic setting.

A showing at SOBSFic Con by these pioneers of Afrofuturism would be epic!

T-Pain

Wish 4As much as Parliament-Funkadelic represents Afrofuturism, T-Pain represents Afroretroism. The theme of his album rEVOLVEr was even Steamfunk.

T-Pain even had this to say about it:

“Steampunk is a movement that’s been happening for a long time, and it’s got a following that’s been crazy. A lot of people don’t know about it. It’s like the modern world meets the 1800s.”

T-Pain’s wardrobe, and even his microphone, is Steamfunk and he even named his biggest concert tour Steampunk.

The Gravediggaz

Wish 6This hip hop group from New York City was formed in 1992, bringing together hip hop icons Prince Paul, Frukwan, Poetic and RZA. It came about largely due to the efforts of Prince Paul. The group pioneered the hip-hop subgenre of music called horrorcore.

The Gravediggaz first album was titled Niggamortis, however, it was changed to 6 Feet Deep for the American market – European versions of the album retained the original title, and also included the bonus track “Pass the Shovel.” It was released on August 9, 1994. My father gave me the original album with the bonus track. My father gave me many things, but strangely, it is the only album and I did not ask for it, or even tell him I was looking forward to hearing it; he simply surprised me with it and it is still one of my favorites. Not to be outdone, my mother bought me the Gravediggaz sophomore album, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel – which I love as much as Niggamortis. Gotta love my parents!

The four members of the Gravediggaz adopted alter egos for their work with the group: RZA became The RZArector, Poetic became The Grym Reaper, Prince Paul became The Undertaker and Frukwan became The Gatekeeper.

A showing at SOBSFic Con by the surviving members – Poetic transitioned in 2001 – and maybe even a performance of Dangerous Mindz, would blow the SOBSFic Con-goers away!

Deltron 3030

Wish 5Deltron 3030 is an afrofuturist hip hop supergroup composed of forerunner, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien – also known as Deltron Osiris and Deltron Zero – producer Dan the Automator and the group’s Dj, Kid Koala, who is also an author of graphic novels.

Besides their own music, Deltron 3030 collaborates with a variety of other musicians under many futuristic pseudonyms.

The group’s debut album, the self-titled Deltron 3030, released on October 17, 2000. This Blacktastic work, set in the year 3030, tells of Deltron Zero’s war against huge corporations that rule the universe.

The lyrics were written in less than two weeks and are characterized by extravagant allusions to futuristic outer-space themes in the Afrofuturist works of Sun Ra and George Clinton.

 

The Road to SOBSFic Con: Vendor Tables are now Available!

Attention authors, artists, filmmakers and fabricators…spots for ‪SOBSFic Con vendor tables are now open!

There are only 30 tables available, so register early now.

SOBSFic Con Vendor/Artist Information:

·         Each vendor/artist may purchase one (1) table only. Each table costs $80. Purchase includes entry for one attendee.

·         In order to ensure diverse representation, available tables will be allocated between authors, artists, comics/graphic novels and miscellaneous. In the event that the tables in your category have been selected you will placed on a waiting list to be notified if a table becomes available.

·         Vendors will be notified if they have been selected for a table by March 1, 2016. At that time we will contact you to confirm your desire for a table. Payment will be due at this point.

·         Please note that each table is 6’ x 2’ or 8’ x 2’ and only comes with two chairs. Additional chairs may not be available.

·         The convention goes from Saturday, June 11, 2016, 10:00 am – 11:00 PM and Sunday, June 12, 2016, 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Vendors/artists can leave their goods overnight if needed. The vendor/artist room will close around 7:00 PM on Sunday (June 12) to ensure that everyone is given ample time to pack up their goods.

·         Vendors/artists will not be allowed to start setting up until 8:00 AM on Saturday. This is to ensure we have the room properly set up and properly staffed to assist you with setting up. You may, however, check in with our vendor organizer earlier than this time.

·         Each vendor will receive one vendor badge for attendance. Additional vendor badges can be purchased for $10; up to three badges total.

All vendors/artists are required to abide by the following policies:

·         You may not set up goods until you have checked in with the Vendor Organizer.

·         Table placement is assigned prior to the con. Changes will be made only for extenuating circumstances.

·         The sale of food/drinks/snacks/etc. of any kind is prohibited.

·         You may not sell any 18+/adult products at any time during the convention. SOBSFicCon is considered a safe environment for everyone of all ages. These products do not include science fiction, horror and fantasy works written for adults, of course, but DO include erotic speculative fiction, which can be sold, but not displayed, if the cover is “erotic” or overtly sexual. Artists cannot display works that display nudity, sex or graphic sexual innuendo.

·         You may not sell any weapons, including knives, guns, clubs, staves, bows, crossbows, whips, etc. Realistic facsimiles also cannot be sold.

·          You are required to submit a vendor/artist registration form. You will not be assigned a table if you have not registered. The vendor / artist registration form is available at the official State of Black Science Fiction Convention website at the bottom of this page.

·         You may not sell any goods that would violate any of our existing policies.

Please note: The last day to request a refund for your table is May 11, 2016. There will be no refunds given after that date.

SOBSFicCon isn’t responsible for lost or damaged property.
By attending SOBSFicCon you agree to the vendor/artist policy and attendance policy.
SOBSFicCon reserves the right to make changes to these policies at any time.

Spread the word! Use #SOBSFicCon and #‎buyblackscifi

SOBSFic Con

The Road To SOBSFic Con: Early Registration is Open!

The State of Black Science Fiction ConventionSOBSFic Con –  is open for early registration!

This is going to be an amazing convention, so get ready for two days of the best in Black Speculative Fiction, encompassing novels, comic books, film, cosplay, role playing games and art.

Register today, share and spread the word! Use #SOBSFicCon.

 

The Road to SOBSFic Con: The Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Fair Book List!

In an age when books can seem like an endangered species in the Black community, the original and exciting adventures of the booming Black Science Fiction and Fantasy genres are a godsend to the stewards of Black literacy.

And with best-selling authors such as Milton Davis, Nila Brown, Gerald Coleman, G Russell Gaynor and Balogun Ojetade rubbing elbows with their readers and soon-to-be readers, the YOU are the Hero Book Fair is sure to be a Blacktastic experience for all.

When I asked my son, Oluade, a thirteen year old eighth grader, why he is so excited about next week’s book fair he said “A book gives you much more detail about how a character is feeling. In a movie, or TV show, you don’t get that…except maybe in Teen Wolf and The Flash.”

Newsflash: Oluade loves him some Teen Wolf and The Flash.

“When I first approached Ani Yun’wiya Jones, the owner of Waterfront Eatery and Wellness Center, about hosting the book fair at his venue, he was excited as Oluade. “This is unheard of for our children, teens and grown folks,” he said. “To bring something so important to life for us? To see us – hell, to see myself as the hero or superhero…finally? Of course, I’ll host it!”

So, there you have it. Join us in Atlanta for great conversation, great food and, most of all, Blacktastic Books in which YOU are the hero!

Authors Milton Davis, Balogun Ojetade, Gerald Coleman, Nila Brown and G Russell Gaynor will discuss their books, the Black image in the media, the importance of telling our stories and seeing ourselves as the hero and much more.

The authors will also share brief, exciting excerpts from their works and answer your questions, too.

A huge selection of great science fiction, fantasy and horror written by and about Black people will be available for purchase and signing by the authors.

Bring the entire family and get them acquainted with beloved characters and series they’ll reach for again and again.

Saturday, January 16, 2016
12 PM – 4 PM

 

Waterfront Eatery and Wellness Center

2240 Forest Pkwy

Morrow, Georgia

 

Take a look at the incredible selection of books coming to the YOU are the Hero Book Fair:

 

Nila BookWhen You Die, You Go To Mississippi by Nila N. Brown

From the author of the Kurai Utopia Trilogy, Blue Caladium and Paradigm comes this poignant coming-of-age story of 10-year old Dicey Whittier, who takes a brave, fantastical journey to discover the meaning of life and death, and how she finally learned to grieve and say goodbye.

The concept of this book came from a tragedy in the author’s family that occurred in 1976, when a four-year old cousin choked to death on a penny. The author was young and did not understand the concept of death and thought that when you died, you went to Mississippi to live. When the author was told that her cousin had died, her brother and sister cried but the author wanted to get on the Greyhound to go and visit her cousin. The author’s mother realized that the author did not understand and explained death to her. When another friend passed away in November of 2014, the author remembered the story of her cousin. Out of that memory came the title and story that is When You Die, You Go to Mississippi.

 

Steamfunk edited by Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade

STEAMFUNKA witch, more machine than human, judges the character of the wicked and hands out justice in a ravaged Chicago. John Henry wields his mighty hammers in a war against machines and the undead. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman rule a country of freed slaves that rivals – and often bests – England and France in power and technology. You will find all this – and much more – between the pages of Steamfunk, an anthology of incredible stories by some of today’s greatest authors of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Steamfunk – African and African American-inspired Steampunk.

Editors Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade have put together a masterful work guaranteed to transport you to new worlds. Worlds of adventure; of terror; of war and wonder; of iron and steam. Open these pages and traverse the lumineferous aether to the world of Steamfunk!

Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology edited by Milton Davis and Charles R. Saunders

GriotsMagic. Myth. Warfare. Wonder. Beauty. Bravery. Glamour. Gore. Sorcery. Sensuality. These and many more elements of fantasy await you in the pages of Griots, which brings you the latest stories of the new genre called Sword and Soul.

The tales told in Griots are the annals of the Africa that was, as well as Africas that never were, may have been, or should have been. They are the legends of a continent and people emerging from shadows thrust upon them in the past. They are the sagas sung by the modern heirs of the African story-tellers known by many names – including griots. Here, you will meet mighty warriors, seductive sorceresses, ambitious monarchs, and cunning courtesans. Here, you will journey through the vast variety of settings Africa offers, and inspires. Here, you will savor what the writings of the modern-day griots have to offer: journeys through limitless vistas of the imagination, with a touch of color and a taste of soul.

Griots: Sisters of the Spear edited by Milton Davis and Charles R. Saunders

Griots: Sisters of the SpearGriots: Sisters of the Spear picks up where the ground breaking Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology leaves off. Charles R. Saunders and Milton J. Davis present seventeen original and exciting Sword and Soul tales focusing on Black women.

Just as the Griots Anthology broke ground as the first Sword and Soul Anthology, Griots: Sisters of the Spear pays homage to the spirit, bravery and compassion of women of color.

The griots have returned to sing new songs, and what wonderful songs they are!

The City: A Cyberfunk Anthology edited by Milton Davis

CityThe City anthology is a unique creation. It’s a concept anthology, a collection of stories where eighteen different authors share their vision of a single idea. It’s Cyberfunk, cyberpunk stories that play with future concepts from an African/African American perspective. Most of all it’s engaging, exciting, thought provoking and fun.

Like the inhabitants, the City is perceived in various ways by the various writers. Some stories intersect, some diverge, but they all entertain. The result is a journey into a unique world described by unique and engaging voices.

From Here to Timbuktu by Milton Davis

SteamfunkThe year is 1870. As the young country of Freedonia prepares to celebrate fifty years of existence, a young bounty hunter by the name of Zeke Culpepper is hired by a wealthy businessman to find a valuable book.

In the kingdom of Mali on the continent of Africa, veteran warrior Famara Keita has been assigned to find that same book and bring it back to its rightful owner. And in the newly formed nation of Germany, an ambitious Prussian officer seeks the book as well for its secrets that could make Germany the most powerful nation in the world.

The result is an action adventure like no other!

Woman of the Woods by Milton Davis

Woman-of-the-WoodsThe latest Sword and Soul novel by Milton Davis returns to the land of Meji, the amazing world of Uhuru. It tells the story of Sadatina, a girl on the brink of becoming a woman living with her family in Adamusola, the land beyond the Old Men Mountains. But tragic events transpire that change her life forever, revealing a hidden past that leads her into the midst of a war between her people and those that would see them destroyed, the Mosele. Armed with a spiritual weapon and her feline ‘sisters,’ Sadatina becomes a Shosa, a warrior trained to fight the terrible nyokas, demon-like creatures that aid the Mosele in their war against her people.

Woman of the Woods is an action filled, emotionally charged adventure that expands the scope of the world of Uhuru and introduces another unforgettable character to its heroic legends.

Changa's SafariChanga’s Safari by Milton Davis

In the 15th century on the African Continent a young prince flees his homeland of Kongo, vowing to seek revenge for the murder of his father and the enslavement of his family and his people.

He triumphs over the slavery and the fighting pits of Mogadishu to become a legendary fighter and respected merchant.

From the Swahili cities of the East African Coast to the magnificent Middle Kingdom of Asia, Changa and his crew experience adventures beyond the imagination. Changa will not rest until he has fulfilled his promise to his family and his people.

The anchors are raised and the sails unfurled. Let the safari begin!

Changa's SafariChanga’s Safari, Volume 2 by Milton Davis

Changa Diop, Swahili merchant and adventurer, continues his amazing
adventures with his crew and companions.

The hulls of his dhows laden with treasures of the Middle Kingdom, Changa sets sail for home. But adventure waits at every port, some deliberate, others totally unexpected.

Be prepared for action, adventure, and surprises and Changa and his crew
cross the seas for home.

Grab the ropes and make yourself secure. Changa
is coming home.

Changa's SafariChanga’s Safari, Volume 3 by Milton Davis

Changa’s epic journey continues!

After returning from the east with his dhows filled with wealth, a sudden tragedy forces Changa and his crew to set out again. But this time Changa travels into Africa, experiencing fantastic adventures in the grand kingdoms of Kanem, Songhai and the Yoruba city-states.

Follow Changa as he seeks to regain his fortunes and comes closer to his destiny!

MejiMeji, Book 1 by Milton Davis

On the continent of Uhuru, in the grasslands of the Sesu, Inkosi Dingane is granted his wish. His Great Wife Shani bears him a son, an heir to his growing empire. But the ancestors have plans of their own. Shani bears him twin boys, meji, an abomination among the Sesu, but a blessing to Shani’s people, the Mawena.

Thus begins the story of two brothers destined to transform their world.

One brother, Ndoro, fights for his place among the Sesu, hoping to shed the stigma of abomination. The other, Obaseki, grows to a man among the people of his mother, struggling with a gift that alienates him from his family and eventually leads to his exile.

Both brothers set out to find his destiny, traveling through teeming savannah, mysterious forests, haunted ocean cliffs and infernal deserts, fulfilling a prophecy that would change them and their world forever.

MejiMeji, Book 2 by Milton Davis

Ndoro and Obaseki, twin brothers of royal birth, now find themselves on different paths to the same destiny.

Ndoro, driven by revenge, forges his adopted people into the greatest weapon Uhuru has ever known.

Obaseki begins a sojourn that takes him to the land of his mysterious spirit horn, Moyo, the pieces of his puzzling power falling into place with each step. As each brothers’ powers grow their paths become clear.

Meji Book Two begins where Meji Book One ends, following the brothers into adulthood. Each adventure brings them closer to their destiny as well as revealing more of the diverse and wonderful word of Uhuru.

In Meji Book Two, Two will become One.

AmberAmber and the Hidden City by Milton Davis

Thirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years.

Why?

Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She’s been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leave only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber! But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her.

Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali.

It’s a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.

 

When Night FallsWhen Night Falls: Book One of The Three Gifts by Gerald L. Coleman

When Night Falls is a rousing and entertaining adventure in the tradition of The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings!

What happens when your ordinary age stops being so ordinary? What happens when dark, twisted things step out of the mists of legend to walk the world again? Strange, black ships have been spotted far out at sea. People are disappearing from towns without a trace. Cordovan, a member of the Watchmen of Alexandria, knows something is wrong, as he races toward the capital, hoping he will make it in time. Meanwhile, far to the north, two of the ancient Sages of the West, the Ki’gadi, know that the darkness is coming. While the rest of the world carries on, unaware of the danger, they search for the place where the darkness is taking root. Heroes will be needed to face what is coming. Alexandria is home to one. His name is Bantu, the Commander-General of the Peoples Company. He will be needed, when night falls.

 

NightwalkerNightwalker by G Russell Gaynor

After losing his mother to a runaway car, Alex was determined to never again be without the skills necessary to protect those he loved.

Stunned by loss and determined not to end up in an orphanage, Alex began a near-impossible journey to find the one man who could continue his education… the man who had taught his father.

What Alex would become was something no one could have predicted. And in one of life’s little surprises, he discovered that the loved ones he swore to protect had somehow become much more than just his family.

Mind of the Man-ChildMind Of The Man-Child by G Russell Gaynor

Mind of the Man-Child is the first volume in the Lost Children of Earth Series. The story follows the psychic awakening of William, a young man who is actually the son of members of a race of humans who are no longer from Earth. This race is involved in a civil war which ends up on William’s doorstep. The confused teenager must deal with bullies both at home and from beyond the stars, a new love, and a team of FBI agents who are tracking a series of very unusual murders. A new twist on a beloved genre, Mind of the Man-Child is sure to capture the imagination & have the reader eager for the installments to come.

Riddle of the SourceRiddle of the Source by G Russell Gaynor

A thrilling sequel to the popular Mind of the Man-Child, this book takes you back to the world of ‘more than we can imagine’ and explodes with action as the reader is brought even deeper into William’s world.

New characters and their diverse motivations are introduced in the continuing saga of our young hero who is trying to find his place between two worlds.

 

Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet TubmanMoses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2) by Balogun Ojetade

“I’m gon’ drive the evil out and send it back to Hell, where it belong!” – Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman: Freedom fighter. Psychic. Soldier. Spy. Something…more. Much more.

In “MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Book 1: Kings * Book 2: Judges)”, the author masterfully transports you to a world of wonder…of horror…of amazing inventions, captivating locales and extraordinary people.

In this novel of dark fantasy and Steamfunk, Harriet Tubman must match wits and power with the sardonic John Wilkes Booth and a team of hunters with powers beyond this world in order to save herself, her teenaged nephew, Ben and a little girl in her care – Margaret. But is anyone who, or what, they seem?

The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman: FreedoniaThe Chronicles of Harriet Tubman: Freedonia by Balogun Ojetade

Set in Freedonia – author Milton Davis’ world, brought to life in the “Steamfunk!” anthology and fully realized in the Steamfunk novel, “From Here to Timbuktu” – Harriet Tubman and her friend and rival, “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, chase agents of the vengeful Alchemist out of their world and into another, in which Frederick Douglass and a quite different Harriet Tubman govern a country of former enslaved Africans that rivals – and often bests – the United States, England and France in power and technology.

Harriet must fight to stop a powerful alliance of British and American soldiers and the elite and fearsome Hwarang warriors of Joseon (“Korea”) from invading Freedonia. But a wicked force from Harriet’s world has come to destroy Freedonia and all it stands for.

Will Harriet and her allies be able to stand against it?

Redeemer Cover 2 SigRedeemer: The Cross Chronicles by Balogun Ojetade

Ezekiel Cross is handsome, strong, intelligent and he is a cold blooded killer.

For most of his life, Ezekiel has been a killer, trained from a young age to enforce the whims of his boss. But Ezekiel is tired – tired of the lies to his wife, Mali; tired of not having the normal life he craves. He longs for the day that he can hang up his guns and live a normal life with his wife Mali. So he decides to end his career as a professional assassin; to hang up his guns and raise a family.

But the life of a killer is never his own. Ezekiel is called to do one last hit, but instead of closing the deal he finds himself a target. He’s sent back in time in what is meant as an experiment as well as punishment.

Initially distraught, he decides to change his fate by saving himself and his family from the events that led him to a lifetime of crime. Along the way, he meets some of the coolest, sexiest, deadliest and craziest characters to ever grace the pages of a book and ultimately finds himself in a situation that could change his life forever…or end it.

This Special Edition includes the expanded alternate story, Redeemer: Glitch.

Once Upon A Time In AfrikaOnce Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade

An exciting Sword and Soul tale by Balogun Ojetade, Once Upon a Time in Afrika tells the story of a beautiful princess and her eager suitors.

Desperate to marry off his beautiful but “tomboyish” daughter, Esuseeke, the Emperor of Oyo, consults the Oracle. The Oracle tells the Emperor Esuseeke must marry the greatest warrior in all Onile (Afrika).

To determine who is the greatest warrior, the Emperor hosts a grand martial arts tournament inviting warrior from all over the continent.

Unknown to the warriors and spectators of the tournament a powerful evil is headed their way.

Will the warriors band together against this evil?

The ScytheThe Scythe by Balogun Ojetade

He has been given a second chance at life. A second chance at revenge. He is the bridge between the Quick and the Dead. He is…THE SCYTHE!

Out of the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, a two-fisted hero rises from the grave!
Inspired by the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, a tale of action, adventure, thrills and chills await fans of Dieselpunk, die-hard pulp fans and readers who just love a gritty story that packs a mean punch.

Enter a world in which Gangsters, Flappers, vampires, robots and the Ku Klux Klan all roam the same dark back streets; a world of grit, grime and grease; a world of hardboiled gumshoe detectives and mad scientists; a world where magic and technology compete for rule over the world.

Dieselfunk has emerged in The Scythe…and the Roaring Twenties will never seem the same!

A Single LinkA Single Link by Balogun Ojetade

“A Single Link NEVER Breaks!”

After suffering a brutal rape at the hands of a martial arts champion, Remi “Ray” Swan decides that, to gain closure and empowerment, she must face her attacker in the first professional fight between a man and a woman.

Join Ray in this powerful, two-fisted adventure as she fights, not just for herself, but for all who have suffered at the cruel hands of those who would wreak pain, oppression, injustice and death!

Step into the cage, where action, adventure, bone shattering fights, and a touch of romance await you!

Wrath of the SiafuWrath of the Siafu by Balogun Ojetade

The near future…

A young genius is gunned down brutally by the police.

Remi Swan – our hero from the hard-hitting Action-Adventure novella, A SINGLE LINK – fights to defend the little boy and herself.

She is arrested, imprisoned, forced to fight and infected with an experimental virus that turns women into raging monsters…or worse.

Possessed with incredible – and scary – new abilities, Remi sets off a war against a system that has long brutalized Black people. A war that, alone, she might not be able to fight, but now she is backed by an army…a powerful and deadly force of her own making.

Now, that brutal system will suffer the…

WRATH OF THE SIAFU!

Fist of AfricaFist of Africa by Balogun Ojetade

Nigeria 2004 … Nicholas ‘New Breed’ Steed, a tough teen from the mean streets of Chicago, is sent to his mother’s homeland – a tiny village in Nigeria – to avoid trouble with the law. Unknown to Nick, the tiny village is actually a compound where some of the best fighters in the world are trained. Nick is teased, bullied and subjected to torturous training in a culture so very different from the world where he grew up.

Atlanta 2014 … After a decade of training in Nigeria, a tragedy brings Nick back to America. Believing the disaffected youth in his home town sorely need the same self-discipline and strength of character training in the African martial arts gave him, Nick opens an Academy. While the kids are disinterested in the fighting style of the cultural heritage Nick offers, they are enamored with mixed martial arts. Nick decides to enter the world of mixed martial arts to make the world aware of the effectiveness and efficiency of the martial arts of Africa.

Pursing a professional career in MMA, Nick moves to Atlanta, Georgia, where he runs into his old nemesis – Rico Stokes, the organized crime boss who once employed Nick’s father, wants Nick to replace his father in the Stokes’ protection racket. Will New Breed Steed claim the Light Heavyweight title … Or will the streets of Atlanta claim him?

The KeysThe Keys by Balogun Ojetade

Pyramids – located all over the world, among different cultures and nations – are actually portals that allow teleportation between them. For thousands of years, there was peace between nations; there was exchange of knowledge and culture and all of the pyramid cultures worldwide advanced because of it. But the peace soon shattered and the world was cast into the bloodiest and most costly of wars.

At the same time, the Iberian Empire, led by Infante (“Prince”) Henry the Navigator, attacked the Aztec Empire. Henry, the Navigator believed the legendary Christian kingdom of Prester John (“Presbytu Johannes”) to be the Aztec Empire’s Nueva Guatemala de la Asuncion (now called Guatemala City). He wanted to find the kingdom and achieve immortality and would murder the world if it meant achieving his goal. The Aztec allied with the powerful Oyo Empire of West Africa and together they defeated Henry the Navigator and his monstrous army and restored a fragile peace to the world, deactivating the power of the world’s pyramids until humanity was once again ready to use their power responsibly.

Two gods – one Oyo and one Aztec – were placed into a deep sleep within the bloodlines of two warrior families from the great Oyo-Aztec Alliance. These gods, lying dormant within two unwitting teenagers known as The Keys, are to awaken only when the world – and the gods’ teenaged hosts – is ready.

YOU choose to be one of the two heroes of the story: Jordan Drummond, college basketball phenomenon and math genius; or Theresa “Terry” De Fuego, self-proclaimed “extreme journalist.” YOU battle the forces of evil and maybe even save the world! YOU decide your destiny… for YOU are the Hero!

RococoaThe Rococoa Anthology by Balogun Ojetade

Where Sword and Soul ends and before Steamfunk begins, there is the Age of Spring Technology and Clockwork.

Imagine an alternate universe where chronomancer Benjamin Banneker crafts a world of automatons, clockwork airships and other marvels; where Nat Turner leads a rebellion, killing hordes of vampire slave owners; where the pirate queen, Black Pitch Pauline joins Jean-Jacques Dessalines in defeating Napoleon during the Haitian Revolution. Think Three Finger’d Jack; the pirate, Black Caesar; the Black Count, Nat Turner, and the Stono Rebellion…THAT is Rococoa!

Fourteen masters of speculative fiction have taken a new genre, embraced its established themes and refashioned them in surprising ways and settings. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.

The Afrikan Warriors' BibleThe Afrikan Warriors’ Bible (nonfiction) by Balogun Ojetade

The long-awaited sequel to Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within!

This book expands on the first, teaching the reader advanced techniques and principles that aid in the awakening and discovery of their Warrior within.

This book applies the FTP/RBG Codes of Conduct to the lives and methods of REAL Afrikan Warriors and Revolutionaries.

If you consider yourself a Warrior, read this book!

And remember: Revolutionary WILL, without Revolutionary SKILL, will get a Revolutionary KILLED!

BullyingThe Young Afrikan Warriors’ Guide to Defeating Bullies & Trolls (nonfiction) by Balogun Ojetade

Bullying is a widespread problem that affects thousands of teens of Afrikan descent throughout the Diaspora. Victims of bullying battle depression, anxiety, insecurity, and fear. Sadly, some victims internalize their frustration by harming themselves or become bullies as well. But if adults and our youth agree that bullying is so devastating, why does it continue? Most importantly, how can it be stopped?

The Young Afrikan Warriors’ Guide to Defeating Bullies and Trolls addresses these and many other questions about a major issue for children, young adults and their families.

This one-of-a-kind book uncovers the social pressures and individual choices that lead to violence and provides techniques, tips and tactics for youth, parents and teachers to employ that can pave the way for social action and even save lives.

The knowledge, experiences and methods found within The Young Afrikan Warriors’ Guide to Defeating Bullies and Trolls will not only teach children and young adults to protect themselves and to think critically about bullying but will also empower them to change both themselves and the circumstances that foster abuse in their schools and their communities.

YOU Are Collage

SOBSFic Con Presents: The YOU are the Hero Book Fair!

SOBSFic Con presents:

YOU are the Hero: Book Fair!
Saturday, January16, 2016
Free and open to the public, the YOU are the Hero Book Fair is the first book fair in Atlanta, GA to feature works solely by authors of Black Speculative Fiction.
 
Join us for great conversation, great food and, most of all, Blacktastic Books in which YOU are the hero!

Authors Milton Davis, Balogun Ojetade, Gerald Coleman, Nila Brown and G Russell Gaynor will discuss their books, the Black image in the media, the importance of telling our stories and seeing ourselves as the hero and much more.

The authors will also share brief, exciting excerpts from their works and answer your questions, too.

A huge selection of great science fiction, fantasy and horror written by and about Black people will be available for purchase and signing by the authors.

Delicious, healthy food will be available for purchase, too!
 

HOURS AND LOCATION
Saturday, January 16, 2016
12:00pm-4:00pm

at

Waterfront Eatery and Wellness Center

2240 Forest Pkwy, Morrow, Georgia 30260

SOBSFic Con

The League of Extraordinary Black People Interviews: Saya

“You reek of rum,” said Saya, striking her parasol against the pavement. “Go home.”

            He held his gaze steadily as the trio stepped around the threatening point of Isaac’s swordstick to pass by.

            “That’s what you think!” Isaac cried, lunging forward to attack the group from behind.

            Cailloux reached out to shove Ismael aside. There was a flash of orange and ring of steel as Saya spun around with a parry and counterthrust, all in one fluid motion.

            Isaac stumbled backwards at the unexpected interference.

            “I have no patience for weak men,” said Saya, pressing a button on her parasol. Hidden gears began to grind. “There is no honor in attacking an unarmed youth, man, and lady from behind.” Metal slid against metal. The shaft of her parasol telescoped into something longer, spearlike. The ruffled orange silk fell away. A wicked blade latched into place to form a glaive. “I take it you don’t know who you threaten?”

            Isaac shook his head mutely, the point of his swordstick trembling.

            Saya smiled. Her teeth shone like pearls in the darkness. “Few living men do.”

Who are you?

I am Saya, a free woman of color. Pleased to make your acquaintance, monsieur.

And what is your occupation?

Pleased to make your acquaintance.

And your profession?

*Saya smiles*

I only ask because your story in the Rococoa anthology didn’t say.

There are some things better left unsaid. But the story in the Rococoa anthology is not just mine. It is the story of my friends Cailloux and Ismael more than mine, but men often need rescuing, so I tagged along.

It appears you are quite skilled in the martial arts, particularly fencing. Where did you learn?

Here and there. If a woman is to rescue men, she should be fit to do so. I am fit.

To fight?

Always.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

There is much I like. But I have no patience for weak men.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

That she is a woman. We were blessed to be born with a power incomprehensible by men. Men cannot fathom the depths of women, which is why you enjoy our company so; we are always a mystery and you men love your mysteries, Oui?

Yes, we do.

We all do, I suppose.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I am very fond of Cailloux. His brilliance intrigues me.

Who are your favorite writers?

Actually, my protégé is the best author I have ever read. For the sake of this interview, we will call her Deanna Baran. She told the story of Cailloux, Ismael and my first adventure together in the Rococoa anthology. There are many more adventures to come.

Do you have a motto?

No. I let my weapons speak; they are much more loquacious – and eloquent – than I.

Check out Deanna Baran’s story, The Adventure of the Silver Skull, in the Rococoa anthology. Available now!

The League of Extraordinary Black People Interviews: Edith Derosiers

A small eternity later, with a flask of skin-cooling rosemary water in hand, Edith crossed her garden to the back door of her main house. The sun was finishing its peak in the sky, and the cramping in her stomach reminded Edith that she hadn’t eaten anything since the morning light made its first forays into the day. Before food, she had to deal with more pressing concerns.

Inside her house, by the back door, rested a floppy paddle fan made of conductive wires and treated cloth.

Picking up her fan, Edith followed her nose to the kitchen, leading her to Widow Anker, back facing the room, scouring her medical gear with sand and water. Stomping the ground to alert the woman, Edith said “What were you thinking, being out all night?” Widow Anker wilted at the sound of Edith’s voice, loud enough for the deaf to hear. “Do you want to give the City Watch a reason to lock you away? You of all people should remember the black’s plague curfew.”

Turning around, Widow Anker waited for Edith to bite her fan before slowly enunciating, “Mrs. Abrams was having a difficult birth.” As her words hit the paddle, its cloth and metal hummed, passing the woman’s message through teeth and bone. “I spent all night and a good part of yesterday making sure she and her babies would remain on this earth.” Her muscles turned to rags, she slumped against Edith. Widow Anker said something Edith couldn’t catch, prompting the woman to tap her Marja‘s shoulder and point to the fan.

*The woman sits before the interviewer. She bites the fan she holds in her hands*

Who are you?

My name is Edith Derosiers. I make and sell the tonics that keep the world alive.

So, you are an herbalist?

You can say that; or you can call me a gardener, or a healer, or a perfumier…I am all those things.

And what is so wrong with the world that you have to keep it alive?

The world is sick; polluted beyond cleansing. To breath its air; to feel its wind upon your skin is to die.

How did the world get this way?

You haven’t read the Rococoa anthology.

Is the answer in the Rococoa anthology?

Read it and find out.

I will.

Good for you.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My Marja, Widow Anker.

Marja? What does that mean?

Marja is Widow Anker’s given name. It does have meaning, though. One’s Marja is ones source of emulation. One to follow, or mirror. In the Finnish language, it means berry.

Fitting, seeing as you work with plants.

Berry good! *Edith chuckles*

Who are your favorite writers?

I adore Emmalia Harrington’s work. So much so, I commissioned her to write my story in the Rococoa anthology.

What is your motto?

Remember the plague curfew!

Check out Emmalia Harrington’s story, Seven Thieves, in the Rococoa anthology. Available now!

Interview: Balogun Ojetade Edits Rococoa Anthology

Greetings, all! This is an interview from December 22, 2015. One of the founders of the Airship Ashanti, Ofeibea Loveless, is the interviewer.

Ofeibea Loveless talks to Balogun Ojetade – author, master instructor of indigenous African martial arts, screenwriter, film director, tabletop role-playing game designer, traditional African priest – about  his new anthology, Rococoa.

Balogun Ojetade

 

Loveless: How do you define Rococoa?
Ojetade:
I define Rococoa as the bridge between Sword and Soul (African-inspired epic and heroic fantasy) and Steamfunk (steampunk expressed through black/African craft and consciousness). Think Three Finger’d Jack, the pirate Black Caesar; the Black Count, Thomas Dumas, Nat Turner, the Haitian Revolution, the Stono Rebellion. Add elements of the supernatural and/or retrofuturistic technology powered by springs and gears…that is Rococoa!

Loveless: How did you come up with this concept?
Ojetade:
I had long been curious about the era that sits between sword and soul, normally set in the 15th century or earlier and steamfunk, which normally is set during the Victorian era, between 1837 and 1901. I asked my author friends if anyone had a name for that time because it is a time that fascinates me – the Haitian Revolution, pirates and swashbucklers, a time of reverence for art and technology, but a time that still valued skill with a sword and connection to nature. I began a quest of discovery, fueled by a determination to find a name for this era. After a brief bit of research, I stumbled upon rococo…and, to my surprise, rococopunk.

Before I could come up with a name myself, the brilliant Briaan L. Barron, artist and owner of Bri-Dimensional Images, did it for me with her release of the animated documentary, Steamfunk and Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy. While there is not much talk of rococo or rococopunk in the documentary the spelling was perfect! As far as the Rococoa anthology goes, fourteen masters of speculative fiction have taken this hot, new genre, embraced its established themes and refashioned them in surprising ways and settings. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.

Loveless: With more people of color participating in steampunk/dieselpunk circles, do you feel things have gotten better for POC in these communities since you started?
Ojetade: Not really. I think it will have gotten better when we have several of our own airships like you have created. When people stop regarding steamfunk as a gimmick and understand it is a viable and growing subgenre of steampunk. One that tells the stories that previously went untold. Things are only better when you have control. When you have your own sandbox and only play in the sandbox of others if you choose to, not because you have to.

Loveless: Your Harriet Tubman series is amazing! (Ojetade wrote MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2) and The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman: Freedonia) Why did you want to bring her to the forefront with those stories?
Ojetade:
Harriet Tubman has been one of my idols since I was four or five years old. In fact, she is my third idol, after my mother and my father. She is the epitome of a freedom fighter and a warrior and she was brilliant. All qualities I admire. Growing up, I would sit and watch The Wild, Wild West with my mother – it is one of her favorite television shows – and I said that the first novel I ever wrote would be set in a retrofuturistic, Western world like that in The Wild, Wild West, but instead of Jim West, my hero would be my idol, Harriet Tubman.

Loveless: How does telling these Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk, Rococoa stories benefit those communities as a whole?
Ojetade:
First and foremost, we have control. Telling your own stories is very important. An Ewe proverb says, “Gnatola ma no kpon sia, eyenabe adelan to kpo mi sena.” Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story. It is not the responsibility of anyone else to tell your story the way it needs to be told. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to tell tales of us being the hero, of us building great empires, of us creating technology and possessing knowledge that still confounds the scholars of the world. It is our responsibility to do that.

Studies have shown that, in the general population, science fiction and fantasy has an impact on the teaching of values and critical literacy to young adults. Science fiction challenges readers to first imagine and then to realize the future of not only the novel they are reading but, also the future of the world in which they live.

Young adults of African descent can – and do – relate to the experiences in science fiction and fantasy. Indeed, they crave these experiences and read speculative fiction just as voraciously as young adults of other races. But the lack of self-images in this literature can have a negative effect on the psyche of young readers and can, indeed, contribute to negative behavior. We derive our perceptions of self by what we hear, see, and read and our perception directly affects our actions. Through fantasy and science fiction written with black characters as the heroes, our youth begin to perceive themselves as heroic, as hard working, as good, and they will begin to act in accord with how they perceive themselves.

So, besides enjoying what I write, writing Steamfunk, Rococoa, Dieselfunk and Cyberfunk stories fill a much-needed void and introduces us to something new and cool.

Loveless: Tell us about SOBSFic Con.
Ojetade:
SOBSFic Con, or the State of Black Science Fiction Convention, is the premier convention for people of African descent throughout the diaspora to celebrate science fiction, fantasy and horror cosplay, literature and media, and to socialize with people of like minds. The convention will take place Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Atlanta at the Southwest Arts Center.

We are much more than a science fiction or comic book convention. We are dedicated to the principle of providing a safe social environment for the free exchange of ideas. And we are gathering to interact, share and explore the possibilities of all things historical, alternately historical and fictional created by, for and about people of African descent.

Loveless: Along with Milton Davis, you are recognized as a leading author/creator of Steamfunk/Dieselfunk. Does “representing” ever get boring?
Ojetade:
Never! Doing what you love doesn’t get boring unless you are boring. I represent Steamfunk and Dieselfunk through my work, which I love and through pushing the work of others, which I also love. It’s a win-win for me.

Loveless: What do you have coming up next?
Ojetade:
I am working with Milton Davis to roll out the Ki Khanga Sword and Soul role-playing game at SOBSFic Con and I will edit/publish
Black Power: The Superhero Anthology, which releases in December 2016. Besides that, all of my efforts are going into marketing the Roaring Lions Productions brand and building up the momentum and hype leading up to SOBSFic Con through con appearances, book signings and other events every month.

Loveless: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Ojetade:
I’d like to share what I share at every convention and speaking engagement I attend: Research, research, RESEARCH! Research allows you to appreciate, not appropriate; research lets you know that you probably aren’t the first person to have a cool idea. Research is giving a damn, so do it!

Ofeibea Loveless, co-founder of the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance, is a writer/editor who focuses on multicultural aspects of steampunk.

Rococoa is currently available for purchase on amazon.com. You can read more of Ojetade’s musings at chroniclesofharriet.com.