Greetings, my fellow sojourners,
I’m pleased to finally return with great news — after eight years of running this blog, and two years of experimenting with the latest developments in virtual and augmented reality technology, I’m launching a digital hypermedia publishing house under the banner of AfroCyberPunk Interactive. I’m extremely excited about the prospects for creating new forms of narrative experiences that transcend the limitations of the contemporary imagination. I would like nothing more than to play a role in defining this new landscape, and to help create opportunities for artists and creators of all persuasions to do the same. You can learn more about this new focus on the About page:
AfroCyberPunk was created by Jonathan Dotse in 2010 as a blog focused on exploring the creative potential of African science fiction and speculative narratives. In 2017, AfroCyberPunk Interactive was established in Accra, Ghana, as a digital hypermedia publishing house with the aim of producing innovative and accessible new forms of interactive experiences. Our roots in afrofuturism continue to inspire the recurrent themes, motifs, and aesthetics of our publications. We aspire to emulate the spirit of great and small publishing houses throughout history in our pursuit of editorial excellence, while striving to address the global imbalance in the representation of marginalized peoples and perspectives. Our goal is to publish an extensive catalog of digital art featuring a wide variety of unique voices, experiences, and imagined worlds that will bring a new kind of magic to storytelling.
I know very well that many people will have been expecting news about my novel, and I can understand why some of you are disappointed that this blog has not been given the attention it deserves. The truth is that my own personal struggles over the years have made it extremely difficult to maintain a consistent pace, in addition to the fact that I had no ambitions regarding the blog when it began. In the first few months alone, it far exceeded what little expectations I had. I might well have abandoned it long ago if not for the support of an amazingly generous donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) who has hosted this website for the past eight years. Likewise, the completion of my novel has been hindered by a laundry list of issues, not least of which has been my lifelong obsession with hypermedia.
Perhaps the main reason I still haven’t produced a version of my novel that I’m satisfied with (besides crippling writer’s block, of course) is that I’ve found it quite impossible to express myself in words in a way that remains true to the story I actually want to tell. Those who have followed this blog very closely may remember from my interview with Johnny Laird that my very first foray into fiction was writing hyperlinked stories. Some of the first computer programs I wrote, circa the turn of the century, were digital hypermedia stories. I’ve been imagining, exploring, and building interactive virtual world-narratives for as long as I can remember. My visual style of writing is evidence of my attempts to incorporate multiple dimensions of sensory detail into the stories I tell — the result of which is at best an incomplete translation of my original vision, or a complete digression at worst. I want to tell stories with words, but not only with words — with light and sound and space and time as well, and with the same eloquence and level of articulation that is possible in a text.
This focus on hypermedia is a certainly new direction for AfroCyberPunk, but it’s been a long time coming as far as I’m concerned. The current explosion of new media technologies now provides the opportunity for anyone to engage with the world using an astounding array of digital tools and resources, many of which are free and open-source, or low-cost and widely accessible. AfroCyberPunk Interactive is committed to developing an open-source software toolkit to create and publish our content, all of which will be available as mobile applications, initially for Android and later iOS, once our toolkit is stable. My own novel most certainly will be published as a digital “hyperbook” — a format we’re still in the process of defining, and which will ultimately be shaped by the novel itself. Unfortunately, I can’t share any concrete details about the publication of my novel just yet, but I’ll provide more information as soon as it’s being finalized.
Our very first publication, scheduled for release later this month, will be a slightly reworked version of “Pandora”, which was also my first VR film. The new version will feature significant improvements to the film’s image and post-production quality, but additionally will showcase some of the standard features you can expect from our publications in the future. We’re still in the process of assembling our core team, but everyone will be introduced as things stabilize in the coming weeks and months. Rest assured that the blog will not be sidelined — far from it — I’ll be focusing on it more than ever before, since it’s now literally my job, and hopefully I’ll be getting some more hands on deck soon.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported AfroCyberPunk from the beginning! I’m extremely fortunate to have received so much goodwill and support from so many amazing people all around the world, without whom I couldn’t possibly have made it this far. I’m thrilled to announce that AfroCyberPunk Interactive is officially aliiive! and ready to take the known universe by storm. Join us in navigating the next phase of this amazing journey — there are worlds upon worlds to be discovered!