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Nigerians in Space Paperback – February 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The Unnamed Press (February 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939419018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939419019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
A different kind of book for me.
monicae
Beyond the character's individual nuances, I enjoyed the psychology that the characters leveraged against each other.
Jared Pettinato
Mr. Olukotun's voice is sincere, rich, wry and heartfelt throughout this tale of the African diaspora.
Iao

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
When I said yes to a review copy of NIGERIANS IN SPACE, I will admit that it was partly the title. The opening line of the blurb didn't hurt either. Starting to read it, from about chapter 2 I was totally bamboozled, and firmly hooked. (Although I was mildly disappointed that the piece of the moon stolen was pilfered from a laboratory ... for a while I hoped....)

With a story that quickly moves from the early 90's to the present, this is a very smooth, slightly mad debut novel which bodes particularly well for future outings.

It could be that part of the story that really works is the idea that there would be a government official orchestrating a brain gain back to Nigeria. A call to arms for Nigerian scientists the world over. Return, use your knowledge and help the land of your birth become the rising technological power of Africa. There's just the minor inconvenience of a little pinched material as your "entrance fee" for want of a better description.

It's hard not to get well into this whole story without the words "Nigerian Scam" rolling in front of your eyes. And it is a very delicious idea, that the ultimate Nigerian Scam might actually be perpetrated by Bello, the Nigerian government official on some of the great Nigerian brains of our time. Especially as the ultimate plan seems to fall to pieces very quickly and the main character - lunar rock geologist Olufunmi, finds himself stranded, with family and a rapidly disappearing brain gain dream.

But the story is not just about Olufunmi. There's also amiable Thursday, who goes from abalone breeder to poacher, and Melissa another victim of Bello. All three storylines do eventually converge in a resolution steeped in African sensibility.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nigerians in Space is Olukotun's first novel and I hope he has another in the works because this one grabbed my interest from start to finish. The title sounds as if it might be science fiction but it is a crime thriller--with maybe a touch of mysticism--set primarily in Cape Town, South Africa. The story moves between 1993/94 and the present.

In 1993, a glib Nigerian government official named Bello makes an offer to Nigerian scientists working around the world. Come back to Nigeria, invest your knowledge in the country of your birth, and together we will make Nigeria the center of technology on the African continent. We will plant the Nigerian flag on the moon. He calls this plan the Brain Gain. He seems to have the money and resources and all he asks is for each scientist to steal a piece of their research to prove their commitment to the project.

But is Bello for real? Can he deliver? Or is this the ultimate Nigerian scam? Lunar geologist Wale Olufunmi, studying rocks from the moon, in Huston, Texas is pulled into Bello's scheme. More than anything, he wants to go into space. He steals a sample from the first moon landing and flees with his wife and son to Washington, DC. But Bello isn't there to meet them, Wale can't go with the contingency play, so he has to improvise. He takes his family to Sweden where he knows there is another scientist who has been recruited. Everything goes wrong for Wale and he stands to lose his dream, his family, even his life.

In addition to Wale's story, we have two other plot-lines. In the present, there is Thursday Malaysius, a man gifted in cultivating abalones (or perlemoen or perlies), a protected species in South Africa. Thursday lets a boyhood friend lead him astray and soon he finds himself an abalone poacher.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Iao on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is, for me, a new classic. Mr. Olukotun's voice is sincere, rich, wry and heartfelt throughout this tale of the African diaspora. Some of the big questions are on the surface-- how does one integrate space-age knowledge with one's roots? What is exile in a globalized world? But mostly it's just a corking good read, fun, funny, smart and sharp.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kronstadt on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am in love with this young man's brain, his sensibility, his generosity, his humor, his originality and the very hopeful role model he represents for our global future. I am a very morose, bitter old pessimist, and I believe everything is going to hell, but Deji's writing, and his persona, actually make me see possibilities for the future that are beautiful rather than dystopic. When I visit his web site, or come across his various commentaries, I feel a palpable sense of delight and joy in response to his insights. I loved this book, and I am buying copies for the young adults I know, who need a much grander perspective of the Planet and its people than what they get from mainstream American culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Olukotun’s novel is set in Houston, Stockholm, Basel, Paris, Abuja, Bulawayo, Lagos, Capetown, Johannesburg, and Paris.
Some novels hand the reader one unbroken spool of narrative thread to unravel. The thread may twist and turn as the plot requires, but it is never broken. Nigerians in Space holds the reader’s attention, somewhat counterintuitively, through the stupefying incoherence of the plot.
When Wale’s meeting with Bello fails, his increasing paranoia and desperate attempt to unravel the mystery around Bello and the botched space mission take him through a dizzying array of spaces—from Houston to Stockholm, to Basel, to Cape Town. The first chapter ends, and the reader, who is as confused and breathless as Wale is, turns the page hoping to take comfort in some explanation or a plot movement that takes the story forward.
The sharp, unpredictable turns in a plot moving at lightening speed is exhilarating and will leave you delightfully lightheaded. I let myself free fall down this zigzagging tunnel of stories. I suggest you do the same. It’s a literary trip of sheer delight. The fragmented portraits and incidents do come together in a stunning collage.
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