Binti is an unexpected scifi novella – highly successful in Amazon’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Read subcategory – 4 1/2 stars with lots of reviews. Complaints center on the story being too short and readers wanting more!
Author Okorafor offers a tale of human contact with a strange (not anthropomorphic – hurray!) alien species, but centers on a real life human society that will seem alien to most Anglo readers. That culture is beautifully evoked and Okorafor is not afraid to interrupt action with beguiling descriptions.
While there is one violent episode, the story is about Binti’s enigmatic relationship with her own culture – honoring her heritage while moving far beyond to attend an interstellar university. The story abandons some of the “common wisdom” rules of fiction that dictate action and denigrate characters telling the reader anything – which proves rules are meant to be broken by talented authors.
MILD SPOILER ALERT
She encounters thoughtful alien adversaries and prevails through her own growth and sacrifice rather than bang-up violence. Her mathematical abilities, which are magical, make her uniquely suited to encounter this alien race. Her bravery and intelligence endear her to readers – and perhaps open our eyes to the customs of our own kin here on Earth today.
Binti shares her journey to a strange place. Thoughtful readers will enjoy this short (55 page) novella with a scifi flare. Scifi fans of the more common shoot-em-ups will find the story short enough to hold their interest in a setting with a different feel. Give this novella a try.