Binti is a series of three novella by Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner author Nnedi Okorafor. Dr Okorafor is one of the most prominent figures in American science fiction, and in the afrofuturism movement. The first book of the series won the author all the major English awards in genre literature, including the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards. Two sequels to the original story were later added. While the first can be read stand-alone, the other two must be read in order.
A little masterpiece, with an unusual, distinctive voice, that sets it apart. I strongly recommend this blogpost by Emily Asher-Perrin (it contains spoilers, so wait until you are done reading it), that very eloquently explains why this book is so special.
This is the story of Binti, the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.
I loved the first book of the series, and the second one did not let me down. It is as good as the first.
The story is set one year after the events of Binti. It has been a year sice Binti and Okwu have been at Oomza University for a year. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day. But she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
It’s a fast paced, enjoyable to read story, that has also a lot of depth. As an immigrant I can understand what is like to leave your home country following your hopes and dreams while leaving so much behind. This books capture so much of what it means to be an immigrant, and the struggle of going back to realize that you no longer belong there.
Note: the book finish with a huge cliffhanger. I cannot wait for the next volume to come out.
Binti: The Night Masquerade
We do not know much yet about the third installment of the series, that is currently slated for a January 2018 publication. We will update this post, as more details are released.
- Nnedi Okorafor [author official website]
- Nnedi Okorafor [wikipedia page]
- Nnedi Okorafor [macmillan]
- Binti [wikipedia page]
- Sci-fi stories that imagine a future Africa [Nnedi Okorafor’s TED talk]
- If You Don’t Keep Your Feet: How the Journey Changes You [Binti review on Tor.com]
- Nnedi Okorafor and the Fantasy Genre She Is Helping Redefine [New York Times]
- ‘So many different types of strange‘: how Nnedi Okorafor is changing the face of sci-fi [The Guardian]