The Black God’s Drums
a Own Voice Novella
Author: P. Djèli Clark
Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Alternate history
Published: 2018, by Tor.com
Thirteen year old Jacqueline «Creeper» lives on the streets of New Orleans which is surrounded by big walls, «Les Grand Murs» made of iron to protect the city from storms that comes each year. Creeper was born during one of these big storms in 1871. Her mother said that she was Oya’s child- «the goddess of storms, life, death and rebirth».
After her mother’s death, Creeper does what she can to survive; she has made home for herself on an alcove where she can see who is coming and going from the airship docking station, and dream about sailing away on one and see the whole world. But, it is also a perfect spot to pick out her next pickpocket victim.
Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.
One day Creeper overhears a conversation about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon called «The Black God’s Drums». Creeper uses this information as a bargaining chip as a way to get out of the city. She seeks out Captain Ann-Marie of the Midnight Robber, and with her help and the help of some pretty cool nuns, as well as her own secret weapon; the goddess Oya who sends Creeper pretty disturbing visions and premonitions (warnings of things to come) she sets out on a mission to save her city.
«You’re a smuggler!» I point out, extending my arms to take in the airship.
«But not a thief!» she retorts evenly.
«The name of your ship is Midnight Robber!«
She pauses at this. Shrugs. Then says evenly: «It’s satire.»
This is a story that is action packed with supernatural elements and my favorite (hats of to the male author): strong, sassy and well-developed female protagonists. THEY ARE REAL, AUTHENTIC, MULTI-DIMENSIONAL WITH OWN AGENCY CHARACTERS!!! Clark also manage to pack this 100 pages novella with amazing alternative history «facts», African folklore, and to making this past/futuristic world into a steampunk & Sci-fi feeling reading experience.
A big plus: It is so refreshing to read a story without all the romantic drama!!
Sci-fi fan, steampunk fan, fantasy fan or just a fan of fantastic world building and characters with depth, I want to recommend this short book to YOU!!!
You couldn’t help your people that got caught in your whirlwind. You couldn’t save them in time. But you can save your people now. The ones right here in this city. They remember you, even if they don’t always call you by name. They sing and dance your songs. They carry you with them in their stories and memories. I carry you. And we need your protection!
Happy Sunday 🙂