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review 2018-03-06 17:42
"Binti - Binti #1" by Nnedi Okorafor - outstanding Science Fiction
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor

One of the things that keeps me reading Science Fiction is its ability not just to help me imagine possible futures but to look differently at the present. "Binti", which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novella, is an excellent example of a new wave of Future-Africa science fiction that is generating vivid and original new futures while giving me access to an African-centric mindset.


For me, though, having a smart idea is not enough to generate outstanding Science Fiction. I also want to see strong, engaging characters that are more than just a mechanism for moving the plot along and I want writing that adds to my enjoyment in its own right.



In "Binti" Nnedi Okorafor delivered all of these things. She gives us a first-person account from a sixteen-year-old math genius who is the first of her people to leave her village and take up a place in the galaxy's leading university. On the way there, bad things happen that place her at the centre of a deadly conflict of cultures that she must find a way of resolving if she is to survive.


The world-building is original and fascinating and done with such skill that, even in something of novella length, it is unobtrusive because our focus is on Binti herself: her pride in her heritage, her love for her family, her need to do math at the highest level, her struggle to leave home, her grief for what is taken from her, her fear of her own imminent death and her courage in choosing a way forward. It is wonderful, compelling stuff.


Along the way, I came to understand that I had never thought of what it is like to be labelled "tribal", to be proud of that tribe, to know clearly that your tribe is part of you and to take comfort in that but to know also that your mind is hungry for more and different. It helped me understand how Euro-centric my thinking is. Not surprising perhaps, they are my tribe after all.


The only criticism I have of the book is the resolution, which felt a little too rational to me, especially considering how many academics were involved in arriving at it.

Still, Nnedi Okorafor is an academic, so perhaps she is better informed than I am or just fundamentally more optimistic.


robin-miles-by- jordan-matter-2016-600x415My enjoyment of the novella was significantly enhanced by Robin Miles' narration.


She gives an outstanding performance as Binti and brought this work to life



Listen to the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample of her work

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/222069018" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]


Watch the video below to hear Nnedi Okorafor's TEDtalk on Future Africa Science Fiction, including a reading from the beginning of "Binti".


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt0PiXLvYlU?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0&w=560&h=315]


I have two Nnedi Okorafor books in my TBR pile "Home" which is the sequel to "Binti" and "Lagoon" which tells of an alien invasion in a future Nigeria.

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text 2018-03-04 16:06
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor

I struggle a bit with novellas. Especially novellas that have intense world-building. I enjoy Okorafor's style quite a bit, and adored Who Fears Death, but this one felt a little spare for me. Which is weird, because it wasn't lacking on details or characters-or parallels to our own planet. I can't quite put my finger on it, to be honest.

What I will say, however, is that I do want to read Okorafor's installments of Black Panther. I could've loved this as a graphic novel as well. 

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review 2018-01-29 23:54
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor

Young Binti comes from an insular people (the Himba) who are dedicated to their land, their rituals, and science. She is the first of her people to be excepted to this big university and she’s willing to leave the bosom of her people to go experience this thing called ‘higher learning’. I really liked Binti right from the start. She’s a great character to take us through this tale. I was caught up in her culture and how that differed from all those around her. The story does a great job of showing how Binti’s people have, in some ways, limited themselves by choosing to remain so isolated. There’s several details about the Himba culture including their otjize, which is a mix of oil and clay they use on their skin and hair.

Other students on their way to the university populate this spaceship and Binti makes a few friends. Alas, the jellyfish-like aliens Meduse attack the ship and kill nearly everyone before we get a real chance to know these new friends. The Meduse have a bone to pick with university and plan to exact a messy revenge for the perceived insult.


OK. So, I was indeed entertained by this story even though there is this sudden and not subtle at all plot twist with the Meduse. The story started off promising complexity and depth but once the Meduse squiggle into the story, we lose that. Deus ex machina becomes the mechanism driving the story forward from that point. Despite that, I still really liked Binti and was biting my lip wondering how things would turn out for her.


Binti gets more of an education than she ever expected. So do the Meduse. The overall message of the story holds true throughout the plot even if I felt it was a bit strained for the second half: acceptance and respect of different cultures. Despite the difficulties with the plot, I was entertained enough to seek out the sequel and I look forward to giving that a listen. 4/5 stars because I was so entertained.


The Narration: Robin Miles gave such a beautiful performance. I really enjoyed listening to her voice. She made the perfect Binti. Her other character voices were distinct and her male character voices were believable. I also enjoyed her voice for the Meduse. Binti goes through a pantheon of strong emotions in this tale and Miles delivered them all with skill. 5/5 stars
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url 2018-01-15 21:36
Forty new books in series releasing tomorrow
Binti: The Night Masquerade - Nnedi Okorafor
Iron Gold - Pierce Brown
Grilled Cheese and Dragons #1 (Princess Pulverizer) - Nancy E. Krulik,William F. Balistreri
Out of the Darkness - Heather Graham
Warrior of the Void - M.R. Mathias
January in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
Waiting for Spring 4 - Anashin
Almost Paradise (Book 4) - Christie Ridgway
An Engagement for Two - Marie Ferrarella

See Fictfact.com's book release calendar for full list and series info.

Source: www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar
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review 2017-09-30 07:31
Binti is 16 and running off to university
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor

Not my cup of tea. Reading this for Diverse Voices square for Halloween Bingo.


This is a short book. 


First quarter of the book is Binti internal dialogue on leving home for the firat time.


The only way the readers know it is a sci-fi book is that he run away in a flying shuttle and landed in a spaceship.


Then things moved quickly. There is an attack on the ship. Everyone died except for Binti and the pilot. 


Things got more interesting after that.


Things that bugged me about this book.


Binti prayed. If humans could travel and then moved to another planet and still has this nasty habit of praying to an imagery god, I would be very disappointed. 


Also, the negotiating peace just need translation is a bit strange. No one asked why so many students were killed. 


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