From 1895 to 1908 King Leopold II held reign over Congo's Free
State. During that time one of the worst atrocities was fell
upon those people. There is no way to know the exact number of
casualties. They did not have a census and no one counted the
dead. The area was about the quarter of the size of the United
States and it is estimated over half the population was made
to disappeared. Millions were casualties of murder, rape,
inhumane treatment and slavery.
In EVERFAIR Nisi Shawl uses an alternate history to show what
could have happened if the Congolese were allowed to purchase
their land and create an utopian society. Saving some of those
under King Leopold's control. Shawl uses steampunk to add to
the story and bring it alive, while the characters fight for
freedom and each other any way they can, either by telling the
truth of the atrocities in writing or fighting those trying to
enslave and destroy them.
Nisi Shawl creates a what could have been, that should have
been. A fascinating look at what the world could have been
like with the twist of steampunk thrown in to make EVERFAIR
book worth reading.
EVERFAIR is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history
novel that explores the question of what might have come of
Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native
populations had learned about steam technology a bit
earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces
with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the
Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named
Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary
Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as
escaped slaves returning from America and other places where
African natives were being mistreated.
Nisi Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of
the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous
and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a
turn of history. EVERFAIR is told from a multiplicity of
voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African
Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a
compelling range of voices that have historically been
silenced. EVERFAIR is not only a beautiful book but an
educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new
insight into an often ignored period of history.