Book: Binti, The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti (2015)
Binti: Home (2017)
Binti: the Night Masquerade (2018)
Binti: Sacred Fire (2019)
by Nnedi Okorafor
published by DAW Books, Inc., New York
2020

Binti is a very good student, a math genius, and a traditional Himba girl adorned with fragrant red clay. When she’s the first of her people to be accepted to an interstellar university, her family just shrugs it off – Himba girls don’t DO that. An education would just upset her family and damage her chances of marriage.

She goes anyway, and just when she is getting to know the other students on the university-bound starship, the massacre occurs…

Binti won a Hugo and a Nebula, and it’s easy to see why! This collection of novellas covers so much ground, from living ships to parental disapproval, from bullying to interspecies mass murder, from tradition to homesickness, from the weight of being the first of your people to do something to the awkwardness of having your friends meet your family, and the rather outrageous burdens that are put upon the heroine’s shoulders while she copes with what she has experienced…

Okorafor moves at a fast pace, and does compelling worldbuilding without getting bogged down in minutiae. It’s fun! There are lots of characters, but they all have a purpose. There is ancient tech of unknown utility, which is one of my biggest weaknesses. (*squeal!*) Descriptions of organized university biomes and the seeming madness of people with hidden communication devices were some of many satisfying elements in Binti’s world.

I’m especially glad I read this collection after it was fully compiled, so I wouldn’t suffer suspense over what happens next.

P.S. The author also gives a concise explanation of the difference between Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism, which is referenced in the list of Africanfuturist recommendations on Tor.com.

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