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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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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a beautiful novella about journeys, change, trusting, and being true to yourself. Recommended.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is another Tor.com novella that I bought some time ago but am only recently reading. Like The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Tor.com procured and produced an excellent story. Ms. Okorafor’s tale of a Himba girl’s travel into space is fantastic. I loved Binti, and lucky for me, there’s two more novellas in this series to read. Binti is the story of a Himba prodigy leaving home for an off-world university. Along the way, she changes the universe. In Binti Nnedi Okorafor created a small but beautiful story about keeping yourself in the midst of change; it grabbed me from the first paragraph and never let go.
I didn’t read the description from the from the publisher close enough; so, the story itself surprised me. Because I enjoyed that surprise, I’m not going to describe the plot. It’s worth the surprise. The attention to detail that Ms. Okorafor put into this novel made it the rich tale it is. Binti’s point of view is that of an outsider on Earth, in transit to, and at Oomza University, which makes her the perfect audience surrogate. The Meduse are sufficiently alien, terrifying, and compelling to be the antagonists of this piece, but never are they treated as two dimensional bad guys, which I appreciated. Ms. Okorafor gave the Meduse as much depth as the human characters, and I’m interested to learn more about their society. Binti’s handling of the Meduse situation was nuanced, compassionate, and correct, which is why this is such a great story. It’s a story where violence isn’t the answer, and that’s refreshing to read.
The world building is grand. I’m interested in Binti’s artifact that she brought with her from Earth. As this is a far future society, I wondered is the artifact human or alien in nature. I think it’s from the war with Meduse, which leads to the question: Are there more of these on Earth? Oomza University looks to be a diverse institution ripe with story opportunities. The best thing that I can say about Oomza is that I want to go there and learn; Ms. Okorafor’s description of the place sounds marvelous. (I’m always a sucker for an intergalactic university, though.)
Binti, the title character, is a compassionate young woman with a yearning from knowledge and an engineer’s touch. While never explicitly described as such, I think she’s a prodigy. Her skill with math and technology is excellent, and her quick thinking saved her life. Her compassionate reaction made this story for me. It showed her creativity, and her universe is forever changed because of it.
Centering Binti in the Himba culture provided an opportunity to showcase the beauty of that culture. I knew nothing of the Himba or otjize, ochre paste as shown on the cover. Binti is torn between being true to her culture and following her educational ambitions. She chooses the latter, but the former is never far from her mind. I enjoyed watching the outsider narrative through this perspective. I learned so much and have so much yet to learn. The use of otjize was so compelling that I had to research it more closely, and it made me proud of human ingenuity. Earth got a little bit bigger when I read this story.
Binti is a short but satisfying novella. It opens a world where peace is a possibility. For me, Binti elicited that sensawunda that characterizes good science fiction. If this genre is supposed to inspire us to explore, this novella inspired me to learn more our world. Also, Binti’s universe is one that I want to explore more. Luckily, there’s two more installments in the series. Recommended for all science fiction fans.
Sixteen-year-old Binti is a math genius—a girl who chooses to break long traditions by being the first Himba to leave her ancestral land and travel through space to a prestigious University—Oomza Uni. When the ship is attacked en-route, Binti finds that the ancient “Edan” (mysterious metal device) she’d found in the desert of her homeland, has powers she knows nothing about, and it becomes her protector from the Meduse attackers. The Meduse are large jellyfish like creatures that are blue and translucent. They have a stinker and blast out large plumes of gas to help them breathe (Love this so much). One of the Meduse, Okwu, tells Binti “I wish I could just kill you.” But her ancient Edan is keeping the Meduse at bay. So a stand-off begins, and Binti finds herself trying to broker peace between the Meduse and Oomza Uni before the ship arrives at the university and a bloodbath ensues. But the sacrifice she will make will change her in a way she never expects, and soon she finds herself on a journey that will transform her life.
The next book “Binti Home” is equally as wonderful. Can’t wait to see how Nnedi Okorafor continues this creative series. If you’re not a sci-fi fan, these books might change your mind.
Most recent customer reviews
Binti brings a racial and cultural perspective to an SF work.Read more