Story Notes: The Angel of Khan el-Khalili




A few words on inspiration, plot and world building in my short story “The Angel of Khan el-Khalili.” A little bit Steampunk. A little bit Cairo. And Angels that grant miracles–of a sort.


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A Steampunk May Day: Black Radicals, Anarchists, Socialists and Reformers

black CPUSA“The bourgeoisie is fearful of the militancy of the Negro woman, and for good reason. The capitalists know, far better than many progressives seem to know, that once Negro women begin to take action, the militancy of the whole Negro people, and thus of the anti-imperialist coalition, is greatly enhanced.”–Claudia Jones, “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman!” (1949)

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How to Spite A Racist Troll: Support Black Dreams

FH2TIMBUKTUThis March, African-American indie author Milton Davis released his long-awaited Steamfunk adventure From Here to Timbuktu. Filled with heroes, heroines and (of course) all things steam, the story is set an alternate 19th century world where the United States shares North America with a nation of liberated slaves called Freedonia, Mali is still a powerful kingdom in West Africa and an ambitious Prussian officer has nefarious motives. It’s a fascinating, imaginative bit of world building that should be welcomed by everyone in the genre. Not so however for racist trolls, who live to crush black dreams.

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Steampunk, Guns and the Imperial Mission

 chitral campaign“Whatever happens, we have got, The Maxim Gun, and they have not.”–Hilaire Belloc, 1898.

Peruse through a few images of steampunk dress and gadgetry, and the gun will make its appearance soon enough. Fitted into holsters, held haughtily over the shoulder, brandished in threat, tucked between bustles or even adapted to retro-futurist cybernetics, the gun has become a staple of the genre in both literature, film and cosplay. Given the  era that steampunk attempts to navigate, recreate and/or re-imagine, the gun only seems fitting. But like so much else from our collective past, it comes with its own troubled histories. This was also an era of racialized subjugation, colonialism and imperialism. And the gun played a central role.


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Radical Dirigibles- Black Socialists, Anarchists, Reformers and Airships

black CPUSA“Socialism is the preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and poisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices.”–H.G. Wells

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Men in Black: A Lynching in Steampunk

Steampunk_Pocketwatch_by_purpleglovezMen in Black, my contribution to the recently published STEAMFUNK Anthology, explores the darker side of the Victorian and Progressive Era, a minor Steampunk tale (no airships, corsets or zombies) about a lynching, the arrival of a mysterious stranger, his fantastic machines and the fate of a small town called Blackwood.

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