A first appearance in Asimovs by Broaddus and it’s an inventive piece – steampunk, and in a colonial setting, but from a Jamaican perspective. Dreadpunk. An’ ting.
The story opens with a bombardment from airships from the Albion Empire into fortifications on Jamaica. Desmond Coke is the protagonist, a servant working for a very wealthy couple. Broaddus creates a detailed socio-political backdrop to his story, an unflinching portrayal of the society, from his employers to the strutting Colonel Malcolm Juba, the head of the quasi-military government. There are those more recognisable as the stereotyped rastas of today, smoking herb (and a neat dig on their North American cousins). There’s a lot of detail to like throughout the story.
It kicks into a higher gear, as a simple story about Coke aiming to assassinate Juba is overtaken by events in Juba’s compound. Something is being created in the basement, following a visit by Lij Tafari Makonnen (that’ll test your knowledge!), and the tension racks up, then stops suddenly, halfway through the story, leavin’ I and I wanting more!