Everfair: a diverse, ambitious steampunk novel of Fabian socialists and American Black Zionists in Belgian Congo


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/26/everfair-a-diverse-ambitious.html

Though Everfair is Nisi Shawl’s debut novel, it’s also been a hotly anticipated book for years, as Shawl is the co-author of Writing the Other, a seminal book about diversity in prose; and is a much-respected critic and teacher. The book was worth the wait.


#2

Fabian socialists?


#3

I couldn’t finish it. The story, told through vignettes from various characters years apart, lacked all tension, kind of limply going from year to year. About halfway through the book, I realized that I didn’t care about any of the characters and the events weren’t that interesting. I put it down, never to return.


#4

This sounds neat, but I find the idea that the arch imperialist Fabian Society would support anti-colonial movements a bit fantastical. Particularly since there were a lot of other socialist groups that participated in actual historical anti-imperialist struggle in Africa.


#5

? [citation required]


#6

#7

They handily wrote a whole pamphlet outlining what they thought about the issue. In short, they wanted a more humane British Empire, rather than the abolition of colonial exploitation. These reforms were intended to strengthen the empire as well, because they felt that Britain was uplifting the “under-civilized” and had a right to interfere in the developing world. The Fabians thought as much about the opinions of the colonized as the imperial bureaucrats they presumed to criticize did - which was not at all.


#8

Or to put it in other words, “I don’t get jokes”.


#9

I didn’t even know who the picture was of, before I image searched it.


#10

In other words, “I don’t get jokes, or cultural references.”


#11

Fabian Forte doesn’t seem to have had much success in the UK. Number 46 in the UK charts would mean not much airplay, if any.


#12

And he was in about 30 movies, and a lot of TV shows. A lot of it was crap, but he was also in things like The Longest Day and Bus Stop.

But that’s hardly the point. If the message had just been “Fabian Socialism?”, that might have been a legitimate request for information (from someone too lazy to take the 5 seconds required to look it up). But with the picture included, it’s obviously a joke.


#13

Wait, this dude was a socialist?


#14

You bet. Don’t you remember his battle cry - “I can’t believe it’s not guns and butter!”


#15

You would have to do better than that. The Fabians have been around for over 100 years and during that time there has been a great deal of debate and disagreement on many issues. The most you can apparently say is that at some point in the past they produced a pamphlet on the subject. I don’t think you can represent the views of any political party over any significant time period based on such a small foundation.


#16

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