Mount Readmore Book Review 2018, 164/200
Finished on 12/4/2018
Genres: SciFi, Fantasy, Novella, Afro-Futurism, Awards
A Young Woman Goes to College, and Gets Entangled into Transplanetary War
This is a strong contender for best Novella I’ve read this year. Here’s a short review for a short(ish) story. I can broadly recommend this to people who read scifi/fantasy.
Binti is a young woman who wants to escape her traditional, far future African-Nigerian astrolabe manufacturing family and go to space-university. She escapes onto a transport in the middle of the night, and joins a space-schoolbus on-route to her University.
Two weeks into the flight, the spaceship is raided by warlike aliens and everyone except for Binti is killed. She is spared because of a strange alien device she has in her possession, and because she helps heal some of her captors of their injuries.
I liked Binti the character and the cultural milieu she finds herself in. I like how her culture shapes her- from the lavender in her hair to the clay she rubs on her skin to the bells she wears on her ankles. She might have escaped Earth’s orbit, but it’s clear she’s carrying her culture with her even into the darkness of space.
I liked the bait-and-switch the author performed vis-a-vis Binti’s human friends. That was a nice touch to get me invested.
Constructive Criticism time:
The weird alien artifact was a Deus-ex-Machina device. It seemingly did everything Binti needed it to, from shielding her from her enemies to killing aliens to translating multiple languages. I don’t like McGuffins, and this was a McGuffin.
I Recommend this novella. It’s only ~100 pages long so it’s not much of an investment. If you like this you might like some other Afro-Futurist fiction too.