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Binti Paperback – September 22, 2015
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"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 is utterly captivating... [and] shows that one girl can change the course of the galaxy.” ―Michaela Gray, Geek Syndicate
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents. She holds a PhD in English and is an associate professor of creative writing, currently teaching at the University at Buffalo. Her first novel written for the adult market, Who Fears Death, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. She has been the winner of many more awards for her short stories and young adult books, including the Wole Soyinka Africa Prize for Literature, the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa, the Carl Brandon Parallax Award, the Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature, the Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism Short Story Contest, and the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award for Nonfiction. She has also been a finalist for the Essence Magazine Literary Award, Tiptree Award, a British Science Fiction Association Award (Best Novel) and the Theodore Sturgeon Award. She was also a nominee for the NAACP Imagine Award, among others. Nnedi's books are inspired by her Nigerian heritage and her many trips there. Nnedi lives in Illinois with her daughter Anyaugo and family.
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The way mathematics works in this world is really fascinating. We don't get to see much of what the study of mathematics looks like, but we do get to see Binti use treeing, which is mathematical and fractal-y and helps her realize and discover things.
Because it's so short, some things were told really quickly and didn't make a big impact on me as a reader whereas they seemed important to Binti. (This is mainly about the maybe-romance.)
The story involves an outsider who is the first of her people to be accepted at a top university on a far-off planet. She must deal with criticism from both her own people for leaving her family and from the majority culture for customs they don't understand. I won't spoil the plot other than to say that her outsider status gives her a different and useful perspective when enemies attack the spaceship.
Ms. Okorafor's writing is rich yet easy to follow. Her descriptions are well formulated so that I could picture the characters, especially the heroine and the antagonists. Reading this novella, I immediately found myself thinking that she could be a worthy successor to Octavia Butler. I anticipate with pleasure reading the two follow-up novellas.
I was absolutely crushed to get to the end so quickly and I really hope she builds it out further.
Binti is a Himba, in this context infers as the identification of race, particularly being a black woman as she later explains her bushy hair and dark skin. I am a fan of how hair is an integral part of the story; hair is a quality that separates Binti’s identity with other non-Himba and Khoush people. There was a scene when Binit arrives at the terminal, she was stared at by a majority of the people, and some Khoush even went and yanked at her plaits. It reminds me of Black women and their hair, others view it with fascination and invade their space by touching their hair as well as asking questions such as “Is your hair real?” or “Do you wash it?” As Binti expresses it, she hunches her back and places her plaits in front as she prefers to avoid and be quiet around Khoush. There are multiple inferences of race, such as the assumption of Khoush as white people as they are described with fair skin. I am a fan of how the physical qualities of the protagonist such as her hair, her otjize or a red clay paste made from the land of her people are integrated to help others and herself. In the story, the otjize is used as a healing property for other alien races.
Most recent customer reviews
Great story. Binti nervousness about leaving home rang deep with me. Leave everything behind you know for the unknown.