Everfair

Nisi Shawl

fiction fantasy science fiction
adventurous challenging slow-paced

381 pages | first published 2016

An alternate history / historical fantasy / steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, from noted short story writer Nisi Shawl.

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 Britian 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.

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.

What the community thinks

summary of 260 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

challenging 66%
adventurous 44%
emotional 33%
hopeful 22%
informative 22%
inspiring 22%
tense 22%
reflective 11%

Pace

slow 55%
medium 44%

Strong character development?

It's complicated: 40% | Yes: 40% | No: 20%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 40% | Yes: 40% | No: 20%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 100%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 70% | It's complicated: 30%

Average rating

3.37