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Lagoon Paperback – February 2, 2016
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"Chaotic, enthralling, and moving fluidly from character voices to oral-style narration to gut-punchingly beautiful prose" (Amal El-Mohtar NPR Books)
"Lagoon is a wonderfully contemporary look at how people react when confronted with the unknown on a massive scale, with all the personal character changes and challenges I could hope for. I loved reading Lagoon and it is definitely going on my reread circuit." (Fantasy Faction)
"Lagoon mixes a traditional trope of SF – first contact with visitors from the stars – with African magical realism to create a lyrical, poetic mash-up examining social deprivation, religious excess and the power of story on our lives." (Eric Brown The Guardian)
"Lagoon is a fascinating entry into the science fiction of place." (Michael Ann Dobbs io9)
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, “Weapons of Mass Creation”, the New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning.”
Nnedi’s accolades include the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for Who Fears Death. Her young adult novels are Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award). She is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Buffalo.
Top Customer Reviews
My main issue was with the language. A lot of the dialogue was stilted. For example, in one of the earliest scenes with Adaora,
Agu, Anthony and Ayodele, it was difficult follow who was speaking because there was nothing distinctive about their voices. And in some of the other pidgin conversations, the flow just seemed unnatural. The writing itself was not that fluid either and that detracted somewhat from the story. The opening chapter was beautiful, but when the same style was used repeatedly afterwards, it just seemed overdone.
Also, there was a lot going on that just wasn't pulled together well. There was some experimentation with different perspectives, even using the second person, but this mainly detracted from the story. There were three consecutive chapters when we were plunged into the first person perspective of three random people we didn't know and didn't care about.
Character development was sacrificed for unnecessary plot elements. By the end of the novel, I didn't really see how the protagonists grew as a result. When it came to characters we were more often told than shown. And there was serious bias against Christians and anyone religious really. Any Christian character was depicted as unenlightened and ignorant and sometimes psychotic even. The author does this with a broad stroke, making no attempt to describe churches and different denominations with any accuracy. For example, a Pentecostal woman is described as going to mass.Read more ›
I don't quite know how to describe it other than First Contact. But instead of the aliens landing on the White House lawn (because that trope is so overdone) or blowing up New York City (been there, done that) or involving the US Air Force beneath Cheyanne Mountain, the aliens land offshore of Lagos, Nigeria, the biggest city in that country and one of the biggest in the entire world.
And that is what makes this book so great.
While Lagoon has a fair amount of promise, the story choices Okorafor made just did not work for me. I completely dug the idea of the shape-shifting aliens making first-contact with the aquatic life and helping those sea creatures evolve, before approaching the city's human inhabitants on a mission of peace. But because humans, particularly when confronted with the unknown, are typically a scared, cowardly lot, things quickly go awry.
When the alien ambassador dubbed Ayodele makes her presence known, the sense of wonder is quickly overcome with one of two reactions by the population at large. The first reaction is how the alien can be used and manipulated for profit (one armed gang wants to kidnap her and hold her for ransom; another unarmed gang of Christian faithful led by Father Oke wants to bring her into Christ's salvation so that the BMW driving prosperity preacher can use Ayodele in his plans to extort the community), and the second is to meet her with violence. Aside from Ayodele's three human cohorts - a marine biologist, a rap star, and a disgraced soldier - much of the story reflects on humanity's pettiness and selfishness. The story here, though, is not one of hopelessness - indeed, there's a thick veneer of hope and betterment throughout - but it is remarkably, and thankfully, honest.Read more ›
The narration itself is great and I love the accents there, but the thicker accents in the dialog are throwing me for a loop and even after slowing down the speed, I still can't understand about 10%-20% of the dialog... And I think I'm missing a little too much because events aren't making quite as much sense as they should.
So, the audiobook is getting returned but the story (what I understood of it) is good so far, so I definitely am going to finish this up in print... But I'll have to wait for this to be released in print in the United States first.
(I can't submit a review without a rating, and I don't want to drag the rating down just due to my inability to understand the narrators, so I'm guessing at what my rating might be if I can ever get this in print.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to like this book, but it had a very disconnected feel to it. Like the author could not decide if it was to be science fiction or fantasy. Read morePublished 6 days ago by GK1292
Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon had the potential to be awesome and instead fell just short of even being interesting. The first seventy percent of the novel is an unorganized mess. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Sci-Fi and Scary
Very interesting fantasy novel about Lagos, technology and humanity. I enjoyed the fantasy subject matter and the lovely writing. Definitely a fun read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by mtnmike
It seemed like a good start. An interesting premise built in a world that someone like me has never been to. Read morePublished 3 months ago by andrew
Okorafor definitely took her time to create a well-thought out novel with Lagoon since this book doesn't have any of the tropes one would expect in Western literature or any ones... Read morePublished 4 months ago by AdamantReader
I wrote a letter to thank the author.
This is what I said:
No response need:
I just want to say thank you.
I just finished LAGOON. Read more
Was assigned this for a college science fiction class. It was the most contemporary work we read picked out by Professor with a lifetime in science fiction reading experience. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chase Wood
This is an engaging, inventive first contact novel set in Lagos, Nigeria. I loved the author's adroit use of Pidgin English and the West African setting and cultures. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nicholas Mele