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3.31/5 by 597 users



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.

Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:381 pages
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    Everfair Reviews

  • Philip
    Mar 08, 2017

    3.5ish stars.Ever read a book that you respect more than love? This is that. It's a sprawling, epic, majestic beast of a novel that spans 30 years in a beautifully unique setting chronicling the forma...

  • Brad
    Feb 23, 2017

    Unfortunately, this is a book full of flaws, but underlying all of those flaws is also a book I really, really want to appreciate. Why? Because it's a story of the Belgian Congo under an alternate his...

  • Bookwraiths
    Sep 27, 2016

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.Blending alternate history, steampunk, and fantasy elements as well as tackling difficult social issues (colonization, racism, religious tolerance, and gender intole...

  • Carly
    Jul 15, 2016

    The premise of Everfair is utterly fascinating: an alternate history that takes place in the Congo starting under the reign of the tyrannical Belgian King Leopold II and ending several decades later. ...

  • Eilonwy
    Oct 17, 2016

    From the early 1890’s through the aftermath of WWI, a group of Europeans, USAmericans, and African refugees from the horrors of Leopold’s Belgian Congo try to establish a semi-utopia in Central Af...

  • Althea Ann
    Nov 02, 2016

    After reading a few short stories by Nisi Shawl, all of which I enjoyed very much, I was eager to read her debut novel. 'Everfair' is a steampunk-flavored alternate history. The 'what if' moment is: W...

  • Lata
    Feb 24, 2016

    When I heard about this book several months ago, I knew I had to read it. An alternative history where King Leopold's atrocities in the Congo were fought against, where a diverse set of individuals se...

  • Katie
    Sep 13, 2016

    A novel with so much potential that just failed to deliver.Everfair tells the story of the Congo being invaded Belgium and beyond, however, in this version of the Congo steam power has been discovered...

  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    Sep 13, 2016

    It's with some sadness and regret that I have to say upfront... I very much anticipated Everfair, but it ultimately did not reach the potential I thought it had. It has great qualities and some weakne...

  • Shomeret
    Sep 26, 2016

    A frequent objection to utopian literature is that it's boring. Fiction relies on conflict. There is no conflict within a perfect society. One way of dealing with this problem is to develop external t...