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Everfair

Everfair, September 2016
by Nisi Shawl

Tor
384 pages
ISBN: 076533805X
EAN: 9780765338051
Kindle: B015W3Q3QY
Hardcover / e-Book
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"A steampunk revision of one of the worst atrocities ever."

Fresh Fiction Review

Everfair
Nisi Shawl

Reviewed by Shellie Surles
Posted July 17, 2017

Fantasy Steampunk

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.

Learn more about Everfair

SUMMARY

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.


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