The City: A Cyberfunk Jazz Session

It began as a random thought in the middle of the day. I was sitting at my desk during lunch when words popped into my head.

‘The City. No one THE CITY - COVER 1knows how it began or when it will end. No one knows how we came to be here, 20 millions souls, 1500 different species all crammed together in plascrete and biosteel. No one’s been in or out of the city in 20 centuries. Some have their theories why, some don’t care. But no matter who you are, or what you are, you have a story, don’t you? The trick is finding someone that cares to listen…’

As I normally do I posted the statement on The State of Black Science Fiction Facebook page. What happened next is an example of why I love writing so much. A writing improv session began, with different writers adding words to the narrative and supporting those words with artwork. At some point it was inevitable, The City would become an anthology.

Balogun Ojetade (http://chroniclesofharriet.com/) gathered the thoughts then organized them into a manifesto, creating an outline of the city and it’s wide range of characters. We shared the document with everyone then put out the call. In the beginning I worked to make the stories follow a specific path, but then I decided to drop that idea. I wanted to keep the same jazz-like improvisational vibe we experienced at SOBSF. So I took the stories as they came, accepting every story as the writer submitted them. Every story. Some writers collaborated, joining the stories of their characters, some wrote stories about the same characters. The result is an anthology containing a wide variety of interesting stories that stretch the boundaries of what some people call Afrofuturism, but what we choose to call Cyberfunk.

But it doesn’t stop there. The City is a multi-sensory experience. Edison Moody and Natiq Jalil added their amWatcherazing artistic skills to the project, creating amazing images for the anthology. Otis Galloway, a DJ from the UK inspired by the improv session, created mixtapes reflecting the moods and emotion of this mysterious urban space.  It’s a project unlike any I’ve worked on and it’s a project that you’ll enjoy experiencing. For the next week you’ll read about the development of The City from its ‘Cityzens,’ the artists that have brought this world to life. Get ready. The City will be available as an e-book via Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook) and Kobo on September 25th and as a paperback at MVmedia (www.mvmediaatl.com) and wherever books are sold by October 15th.  Welcome to The City. I hope you enjoy your stay.

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – 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 writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at https://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/blackspeculativefiction.

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