Sword and Soul Calibur

Back in the day, I played lots of video games. That was before you had to press all the buttons to play a video game. Of all the games I played the one I enjoyed the most was Soul Calibur. I didn’t discover the game until Soul Calibur 3, but it was such a treat. I think one of the reasons I liked it so much was because I played with my son during his formative years, from single to double digits. The day he was finally able to beat me at it was kind of like a video game rite of passage, the father handing the controller to the son.

Anyway, ever since I began writing Sword and Soul I imagined my characters in Soul Calibur. This was before Zasalamel, the Sword and Soul token. He’s a great character, but it’s like the game creators said, ‘okay, we got our black guy, now let’s move on.’ And don’t even think about sisters being represented. That is a situation that rarely ever occurs. So in honor of Sword and Soul, I present to you Sword and Soul Calibur!

My first choice for Sword and Soul Calibur is Imaro. He would be the man to beat, the Sword and Soul version of Mitsurugi. Being the first Sword and Soul hero, he and his creator, Charles R. Saunders, deserve top billing.  I have no idea what his array of weapons would be, but I’m sure he’d be the top dog.

My next selection would Doussoye. Another Charles Saunders creation, Dossouye deserves first billing because like Imaro, she is the first Sword and Soul woman. Charles has a way with firsts, and he does it well. I’d have to find a way to work Gbo, her war bull into the game. That would be extra cool!

Ndoro by Mshindo Kumba I

My next choices are selfish, because  they’re mine. 🙂 My first character would be Ndoro. He’s the consummate Sesu warrior and empire builder, prefect for a sword and soul game. Of course his main weapon would be the shield and spear which he would wield with deadly efficiency. I wouldn’t include his twin brother Obaseki. Even though the master of Moyo is a skilled fighter in his own right, Ndoro is the man to beat.

Changa Diop

My next selection? None other than Changa Diop. Now here’s a brother that would present a perfect balance of strength and skill. Add to that his skill with the throwing knife and you have a man hard to beat. His available weapons would be diverse because of his worldly travels, so it would be a surprise what you might face with Changa. In addition there’s Kintu’s Gift, the mysterious celestial power boost that kicks my man to the next level.

Now we can’t let Dossouye represent the ladies all by herself, can we? So here comes Sadatina, the young Shosa warrior with her companions, Nokofa and Pausa. You dont’ know of her? Well, you will in the upcoming novel, Woman of the Woods. Sadatina is skilled with sword, bow, lance and the muder, a big piece of curved iron with an edge. It’s kind of a throwing knife that’s big enough to wield with both hands. And then there’s Judgment, the demon slayer. With all that and two lions, she’s not the person you’d want to meet.

You see where I’m going with this. Over the past five years there have been enough Sword and Soul characters introduced to easily fill a pantheon of competitors. And what would the storyline be? Something actually based on Ki-Khanga, if not the actual plot line of Ki-Khanga itself.

So my dream of Sword and Soul Calibur is ready to be realized. What character would you choose to round out the list. Be careful! Your wish might just come true.

Steamfunk, Alternate History and a country called Freedonia

Rough Draft Freedonia Map

I’m a history nut from way back. As a matter of fact, until I was in high school all my extra-curriculum reading was history. From dinosaurs, to World War II to eventually African history I was and I still am fascinated about things that were. I’m not dazzled by dates and names, but by the personalities, customs and cultures of the past.

Despite my love of history, I haven’t been much of a fan of alternate history. I’ve read a few novels and been slightly interested, but my question has always been, ‘where we at?’ It seems that all the authors that write alternate history, at least the ones I’ve read, either completely ignore people of color or as far as they are concerned people of African descent always end up being slaves. The only difference is the duration of internment.

So imagine my shock when I discovered Lion’s Blood by Steve Barnes(http://www.amazon.com/Lions-Blood-Steven-Barnes/dp/0446612219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362745817&sr=8-1&keywords=lion%27s+blood+steve++barnes) . Here was an intelligent and fascinating alternate history where Africans settled North America and those who became slaves were of Irish descent. It was not a wish fulfillment book, but a thoughtful analysis is the condition of slavery and the affects on both master and slave.

From Here to Timbuktu. Art by Stanley Weaver

When I first laid the groundwork for MVmedia one of my ideas was an alternate history based on the question, ‘What if the Haitian Revolution spread to the southeastern United States? What if, with the help from Haitian soldiers, it succeeded? And what if the new country of Haiti claimed French territory as its own? The result of such musing is the map displayed here and the country of Freedonia,  a country that serves as the background of my Steamfunk! story ‘The Delivery,’ my serial adventure ‘From Here to Timbuktu’ and the upcoming novel ‘Unrequited.’ Freedonia is a country where in the 1870’s Fredrick Douglass is president, Harriet Tubman is Vice President, George Washington Carver is the scientific genius behind Freedonia’s prosperity and W.E.B. DuBois is an industrialist rivaling Getty and Rockefeller.

So this is where I’ll be hanging out for a while. I hope you like where my steamfunk is coming from. Pull up a rocking chair, have some sweet tea, and let me tell you a story.

Here’s a list of some of my fellow steamfunkateers. We’re celebrating Steamfunk! so check out their blogs, too.

Ray Dean – Growing up in Hawaii, Ray Dean had the opportunity to enjoy nearly every culture under the sun. The Steamfunk Anthology was an inspiration she couldn’t pass up. Ray can be reached at http://www.raydean.net/.
Malon Edwards – Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Malon Edwards now lives in the Greater Toronto Area. Much of his speculative fiction features people of color and is set in his hometown. Malon can be reached ateastofmars.blogspot.com.
Valjeanne Jeffers – Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, The Switch II: Clockwork and Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds Visit her at http://www.facebook.com/l/GAQHync5dAQELhG-ZYioznHu4XdpmGVjPHLVMOi5sqNSNbg/valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://www.facebook.com/l/oAQGmdGxgAQEg4FxO57Ot1Tb-0vW-XEdGEjPA4IMSKsJxmQ/www.vjeffersandqveal.com
Rebecca M. Kyle – With a birthday on Friday 13, it’s only natural that the author is fascinated with myths, legends, and oddities of all kinds. Ms. Kyle lives with her husband, four cats, and more rocks and books than she cares to count between the Smokies and Cumberland mountains. Visit her at http://bexboox13.blogspot.com/.
Carole McDonnell – is a writer of Christian, supernatural, and ethnic stories. Her writings appear in various anthologies, including So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonialism in Science Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson; Jigsaw Nation; and Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: Writings by Mature Women of Color among others. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. Her novels are the Christian speculative fiction, Wind Follower, and The Constant Tower. Her Bible study is called: Seeds of Bible Study.   Her website is http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/.
Balogun Ojetade – Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steamfunk); “Once Upon A Time in Afrika” (Sword and Soul); “Redeemer” (Urban Fantasy) and the film, “A Single Link” and “Rite of Passage”. Finally, he is Co-Author of “Ki-Khanga: The Anthology” and Co-Editor of “Steamfunk!” Visit him:http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.
Hannibal Tabu – is a writer, a storyteller, and by god, a fan. He has written the novels, “The Crown: Ascenscion” and “Faraway” and the upcoming scifi political thriller “Rogue Nation”. He is currently the co-owner and editor-in-chief of Black geek website Komplicated at the Good Men Project, and uses his Operative Network website (www.operative.net) to publish his poetry, market what he’s doing, rant at the world and emit strangled cries for help.
Geoffrey Thorne – Geoffrey Thorne has written a lot of stuff in a lot of venues and will be writing more in more. It’s his distinct pleasure to take part in another of these groundbreaking anthologies. Thanks for letting me roll with you folks. For more (and God knows why you’d want more) check out http://www.geoffreythorne.com/.

Why I’m a Steamfunkateer

Steamfunk! by Marcellus Jackson

I wasn’t always a Steamfunkateer. About a year ago I was just a Sword and Soul brother writing and publishing my stories for the world to read. For years I’d plotted to do just that and in 2008 I jumped into the fray. It was my plan to start with stories in the Motherland then expand to the Diaspora to include stories in other parts of the world. Yes, I was familiar with Steampunk. I admired it from a distance, more interested in the costumes than the philosophy and culture supporting it. I perused a collection of Steampunk stories my daughter owned and I read and enjoyed Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. But still my interest was casual.

It was Balogun Ojetade who pushed me over the edge into the Steamfunk. Balogun and I met when I was doing research on African martial arts to include in my Sword and Soul stories. Little did I know that he was also a talented writer, director and blogger. After quickly becoming a part of the Sword and Soul movement, Balogun revealed his true passion to me; Steampunk. In a discussion about a alternate history idea I was working on he showed me how steampunk could be incorporated into the concept. Not long afterwards we found ourselves in a discussion with other writers about steampunk and the lack of black representation in the literary aspect of the genre.  Since I’m the kind of person that stresses solutions I said let’s do it. Let’s make an anthology of stories that do just that. Maurice Broaddus, another talented writer who’d previously published a steampunk story titled. ‘Pimp my Airship,’ said he call what he wrote Steamfunk. At that point I was hooked.  Balogun ‘aggressively’ volunteered to be co-editor and we were on our way.

Steamfunk! cover. Artwork by Marcellus Jackson

So here we are a year later. The Steamfunk! anthology is a reality, the first anthology dedicated to steampunk from our perspective. Don’t be fooled by the title. For those of you expecting pimps in steam-powered Cadillacs and drug pushers cruising the hood in tricked out airships you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t Blaxploitation in top hats and corsets. This is a collection of exciting and thought provoking stories that incorporate people of African and African American descent and our history into a genre where our voice was almost silent. The stories cover the range of what steampunk is and will be. I’m proud to be the publisher of this anthology, proud of the stories it contains, but most of all I’m proud of the writers that shared their excellent and unique visions.  I’m a Steamfunkateer. Once you finish reading Steamfunk!, you will be, too.

Here’s a list of some of my fellow steamfunkateers. We’re celebrating Steamfunk! so check out their blogs, too.

Bootsy Collins - The original steamfunkateer

Ray Dean – Growing up in Hawaii, Ray Dean had the opportunity to enjoy nearly every culture under the sun. The Steamfunk Anthology was an inspiration she couldn’t pass up. Ray can be reached at http://www.raydean.net/.
Malon Edwards – Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Malon Edwards now lives in the Greater Toronto Area. Much of his speculative fiction features people of color and is set in his hometown. Malon can be reached ateastofmars.blogspot.com.
Valjeanne Jeffers – Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, The Switch II: Clockwork and Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds Visit her at http://www.facebook.com/l/GAQHync5dAQELhG-ZYioznHu4XdpmGVjPHLVMOi5sqNSNbg/valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://www.facebook.com/l/oAQGmdGxgAQEg4FxO57Ot1Tb-0vW-XEdGEjPA4IMSKsJxmQ/www.vjeffersandqveal.com
Rebecca M. Kyle – With a birthday on Friday 13, it’s only natural that the author is fascinated with myths, legends, and oddities of all kinds. Ms. Kyle lives with her husband, four cats, and more rocks and books than she cares to count between the Smokies and Cumberland mountains. Visit her at http://bexboox13.blogspot.com/.
Carole McDonnell – is a writer of Christian, supernatural, and ethnic stories. Her writings appear in various anthologies, including So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonialism in Science Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson; Jigsaw Nation; and Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: Writings by Mature Women of Color among others. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. Her novels are the Christian speculative fiction, Wind Follower, and The Constant Tower. Her Bible study is called: Seeds of Bible Study.   Her website is http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/.
Balogun Ojetade – Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steamfunk); “Once Upon A Time in Afrika” (Sword and Soul); “Redeemer” (Urban Fantasy) and the film, “A Single Link” and “Rite of Passage”. Finally, he is Co-Author of “Ki-Khanga: The Anthology” and Co-Editor of “Steamfunk!” Visit him:http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.
Hannibal Tabu – is a writer, a storyteller, and by god, a fan. He has written the novels, “The Crown: Ascenscion” and “Faraway” and the upcoming scifi political thriller “Rogue Nation”. He is currently the co-owner and editor-in-chief of Black geek website Komplicated at the Good Men Project, and uses his Operative Network website (www.operative.net) to publish his poetry, market what he’s doing, rant at the world and emit strangled cries for help.
Geoffrey Thorne – Geoffrey Thorne has written a lot of stuff in a lot of venues and will be writing more in more. It’s his distinct pleasure to take part in another of these groundbreaking anthologies. Thanks for letting me roll with you folks. For more (and God knows why you’d want more) check out http://www.geoffreythorne.com/.