Updated: Jan 26, 2021
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Clinical Psychologist, writer, TED Talker and lover of all things related to Black minds and bodies living with joy. I am a devout advocate of the power of storytelling and my community becoming fully realized through our voice building our worlds. I am an Star Wars Otaku, Professor, long suffering Knicks fan and a firm believer that the answer to all human problems can be found somewhere in an Octavia Butler work.
2. What’s your favorite cyberpunk book/movie/anime?
It’s near impossible for me to choose just one, as I love so many, but I’ll make the effort. My favorite Cyberpunk book is probably “Neuromancer” by Gibson. While “Blade Runner” might be the Cyberpunk film I consider best, my favorite is probably “Tetsuo The Iron Man.” It is simply a phenomenal and complicated piece of art. My favorite Cyberpunk anime is “Akira”, by a hair over “Ghost in the Shell.”
3. What do you like most about Cyberpunk?
I love the freedom of storytelling and potential of exploring the future in Cyberpunk. I see how much of it we are building in the present with our love and worship of technology, hording of resources…I’d suggest that it is more developing reality than speculative fiction at this point, and it is a beautiful means of expressing what we expect and want to see in the world. I love the hope and conflict, the science and the exploration of the human condition. It is one of the few art spaces where we can go wild with where we see humanity and all of existence evolving, and that wild and free exploration is encouraged.
4. For you, what’s the difference between Cyberpunk and Cyberfunk?
I see the difference as a shifting of the lens and worldview through which the worlds are built and the stories are crafted and told. Cyberfunk grounds the stories within African spaces and histories and mythologies and lives. It is richer and freer as a result, considering the history and the tapestry of the diaspora influencing Cyberfunk. Black minds the world over already live it, make the sounds and thoughtscapes of Cyberfunk. Black bodies already wear the synthskins and garments of Cyberfunk. We are simply letting the world catch up on these adventures.
5. What’s the title of your Cyberfunk story?
Mine is called “The Siege at Illinmorrow”
6. Give a brief synopsis. (Just a teaser)
A being falls from the sky into Illinmorrow, New Africa, Doc’s domain. She is being pursued by strange beings, powers and monsters, but why? Who is she? Cities float, immortals are among us, the world is ever changing, and this being, one Doc must protect, may be the key understand it all, and what profound changes are yet to come.
7. What do you like/hate about your main character?
I love that Doc wields his Akrafena, for his purposes only, and is an anti-hero, at best. I hate that he is so inscrutable at the point where we meet him.
8. Are we heading for a Cyberfunk/Cyberpunk future?
Absolutely. We are well underway. Around us, humans are already tethering their wills, and homes, and bodies and sense of reality to technologies. We are already pushing back against governments, and we are redefining what it means to be human, and disrupting binary identities. It’s all a blur, truly. We are on that craft already, it has certainly set off.
9. Would you become a cyborg?
Considering that I believe that we will build and live side by side with nearly sentient droid life in the near future, and that I have a sense that certain alien life nearly resembles what we consider android, and our continued reliance on technology for many life-sustaining…I’d give it some thought. Depends on whether the world needed saving and the bounty on the head of the beast that needed killing.
10. Could you love an A.I.?
Not love, no. Commune with, certainly. I would always be painfully aware of the “artificial” component, and mindful of the reality that the intelligence is programmed to flexibly respond to me, to give me precisely what I want from an array of pre-programmed choices. It would never strike me as fully real and sufficiently intimate.
11. How do we keep with all things Napoleon Wells?
You can find my Social Justice columns on Medium under my name, or on Instagram at Urbrotheriam doing something cool and nerdy or at NapoleonBXSith on Twitter ranting about crafting new worlds, wellness, battle rap and presenting evidence for Black women being uniquely suited to save the universe.
Read Siege at Illinmorrow and 17 other fantastic Cyberfunk stories in the Cyberfunk! Anthology. Preorder your book today. Release date is February 28, 2021.