Episode 08: Balogun Ojetade (Pt. 1)
Atlanta is a hub for sci-fi and fantasy enthusiasts and this week’s guests challenges the conventions of those genres. This episode features the first part of our conversation with Balogun Ojetade, a leading authority on Steamfunk.
Don’t know what Steamfunk is? Balogun describes it as a “philosophy or style of writing (combining) the African and/or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and/or steampunk fiction.”
But if you don’t even know what steampunk is…then maybe you need to listen to the first half of this episode to hear Balogun break it down and talk about how steamfunk, as well as sword & soul and urban fiction branch off from it. Balogun is the author of eight novels, including MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2), which resulted from his admiration– from childhood– of Tubman’s great achievements and wanting to bring historical black figures into the steampunk realm.
But his first love wasn’t literature, it was film. He majored in it at Columbia College and would later make films from his passion for the steamfunk genre (Rite of Passage and A Single Link). In many ways, even film wasn’t his first love: it as his fascination with the brain. He thought he’d be a neuroscientist as a child, but he eventually channeled his enthusiasm about the human brain to speculative fiction (the broad term used to describe fiction that includes elements of imagination rather than reality).
After breaking down the variety of creative subgenres of black speculative fiction, Balogun talks about how he goes about “world building,” the importance of editing to the writing process, and how someone can strategically use their blog to build appetite for their work.