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Binti: Home Paperback – January 31, 2017
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PRAISE FOR BINTI: HOME
"Nnedi Okorafor writes glorious futures and fabulous fantasies. Her worlds open your mind to new things, always rooted in the red clay of reality. Prepare to fall in love with Binti." ―Neil Gaiman, New York Times bestselling author of American Gods
"Binti: Home is a rich, complex story of identity, family, and friendship. It's the rare sequel that exceeds the expectations set by the first―a futuristic story that is nonetheless vivid, emotional, and timeless." ―Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent series
"Okorafor's writing is even more beautiful than I remember it being in Binti, evocative and sharply elegant in its economy." ―NPR
"[Binti: Home] opens up Binti's tale in astonishing ways, while provocatively exploring questions of identity and kinship." ―The Chicago Tribune
PRAISE FOR BINTI AND NNEDI OKORAFOR
"Okorafor’s writing is wonderful, and the details of her world-building ― including Binti’s rich culture of origin, living spaceships, and maths that reads almost like music ― are complex and fascinating" ―Veronica Roth
"Binti is a supreme read about a sexy, edgy Afropolitan in space! It's a wondrous combination of extra-terrestrial adventure and age-old African diplomacy. Unforgettable!"―Wanuri Kahiu, award winning Kenyan film director of Pumzi and From a Whisper
"There's more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor's work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics." ― Ursula Le Guin
"Okorafor's impressive inventiveness never flags." ― Gary K. Wolfe on Lagoon
About the Author
NNEDI OKORAFOR, born to Igbo Nigerian parents in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 1974, is an author of fantasy and science fiction for both adults and younger readers. Her Tor.com novella Binti won the 2015 Hugo and Nebula Awards; her children's book Long Juju Man (Macmillan, 2009) won the 2007-08 Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa; and her adult novel Who Fears Death (DAW, 2010) was a Tiptree Honor Book. She is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo.
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This is excellent and well-crafted science fiction that blends together mind-bending technology, space travel, aliens, mathematics, family, and a young girl growing up and trying to find her place in the world. Okorofor's prose moves the tale along swiftly and surely, and there are moments of beauty, as well - especially towards the end when Binti encounters some family members she didn't even know existed... The ending is a cliff-hanger that left me clamouring for more, and I can't wait to read the third and final installment of Binti's story.
You might recall that Binti was one of my two favorite works of science fiction of last year. It was evocative. Beautiful. Frightening. Most importantly, it was different. It managed to pack an incredible and vibrant world, a complex and compelling protagonist, and a spectacular plot into a fairly short piece of fiction. It told a story that could have easily fallen into the category of sci-fi tropes, but it avoided them by applying a unique voice and perspective through Binti, it’s main character.
Binti: Home finds Binti after about a year at Oomza University. A year after she heroically (and accidentally, if I recall correctly) brokered peace between two warring planets. A year after she left home in the dead of night, against the wishes of her family and community, to study what is essentially mathemagics off-world. Binti’s experiences have changed her enormously—represented by a physical transformation: her dreaded hair has become like the tentacles of the jellyfish-like Meduse.
The physical change is a vital piece of the story, not an on-the-nose metaphor for the internal changes in Binti. Much is made of physical appearances in Binti’s world, from the red clay she adorns herself with to the tribal intolerance she suffers at the hands of the upper class on Earth (and at Oomza U), and to the seemingly strange behaviors of the “desert people” that Binti’s tribe finds less-than-worthy of a seat at the table.
As Binti is a story of perseverance and growth in the face of different types of adversity, Binti: Home is a story about shedding preconceived notions and inbuilt intolerances; about how experience inexorably changes us, and changes how the world sees us. The events of Binti were, for the most part, things that happened to Binti. In Binti: Home, she is confronted by the reality that despite her lack of agency or choice in most of the things that happened to her, she is blamed. She is mistrusted. She is made a pariah.
The things that happen to us leave a mark. Sometimes, it’s subtle. Sometimes, it’s as dramatic as having tentacles for hair. Binti: Home explores the intersection between changing personal identity and changed external perception. It’s a fascinating, emotionally resonant exploration of an eminently relatable condition, couched within beautiful prose and a once-again spectacular plot.
Nnedi Okorafor has once again left me deep in thought. While Binti: Home wasn’t as explosive a read for me as its predecessor, it was nevertheless a spectacular book. Nnedi Okorafor’s storytelling is masterful, and she has made a lifelong fan of me with Binti and Binti: Home. I eagerly await the next installment of Binti’s story.
Initially I was disappointed that more time wasn’t spent at Oomza Uni as Binti and the Medusa Okwu return to Binti’s home early in the book. In the original “Binti”, while clearly sci fi with the existence of aliens and space travel, the scenes of Binti’s home were far removed from that and set in a very old, traditional culture. However, like the original, Binti, her family and culture were just as fascinating as any alien world. At first it seemed that the story would be focused entirely on the culture and family but gradually and artfully developed into full-fledged sci fi with the background filling in.
The story kept me enrapt but I did have one issue- a cliffhanger ending. I dislike those so much that it would normally ruin the book for me. But I enjoyed the story so much I have to forgive it :)