Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti is a survivor unparalleled, which makes me love her immediately. add the fact that she’s supremely talented & hella unappreciated and i root for her with everthing i have. reading Nnedi Okorafor’s (series of ) “Binti” stor(ies) offered the best kind of reading pleasure; it showed me a world i thought i had seen before, and gave me a reason to forget everything i thought i knew about it. it’s #blackgirlmagic in a glorious confluence of science fiction and fantasy, and it truly, truly is magic. not so much a “chosen one” as she is the right one at the right time, doing what she thinks is right, Binti is a daring darling, afraid and quick witted, and only (mostly) human.
binti’s people, the Himba look inward when the going gets tough, which has served them well. she, however, has looked out, and as a mathematcal genius of unprecedented caliber (tho one in a long line of talented folx in her family), she deserves to. she’s the first of the Himba to to go off planet to the galaxy’s premier university, and her family is BIG MAD about it. she gets there, tho shit gets mad weird (read: terrifying) on the way, and Binti learns to grapple with who she is and with who she may be meant to be.
Okorafor blends a universe rife with sci-fi and aliens and technology and shit into a coming-of-age story that’s somehow also a fantasy redolent with the imagery and palette of magic realism. is that a lot? i mean yeah, pero like, she convinces me to suspend my disbelief immediately, and it’s so, so, friggin worth it. I love that she writes African characters without vocal accent, but gives me room to hear them via other cultural cues and mannerisms. there’s a great balance of explanaton and assumption in cultural practices and artifacts; particularly among the wildly diverse alien community at university, we’re presented a cultural and scientific mythology that is unfolding page by page and really hooks me as a reader.
case-in-point: Binti found this weird little ancient machine she calls an edan and we get to live through how exctigng and frustrating it is. it becomes a secret that drives the reader as much as it drives the protagonist. it’s a talisman and source of relief to her, a hook for us. it’s a perfect juxtopsosition to the cold mathematics that her genius also uses to compartmentalize and process the world.
comparison: ooquai, the Aiel’s drink, cuz you just gotta be along for the ride, and in your cups you might just learn to read the harmonies with which the universe and the human mind try to sing to one another
Rating: 4.7757/5 shots. sigfigs matter