by Nnedi Okorafor
published by Saga Press (Simon & Schuster), NewYork
This ‘first contact’ sci-fi story by Nnedi Okorafor immediately delighted me, because the first earth being the aliens communicated with was not human. Hooray for other species getting their moment to shine!
This is a story of aliens turning up off the coast of Nigeria, and the chaos that erupts when they announce themselves and walk among the residents of bustling, cosmopolitan Lagos, Nigeria.
The aliens are good at making friends, and so three humans find themselves taken by a wave into the sea for deep (heehee) conversations, and then tasked with assisting an alien representative in meeting the public and authorities. The humans have their own messy lives and drama, and get abundant additional drama served up to them by their relatives and neighbors. I hope I would be as smart, curious, and enthusiastic as the marine biologist of the group if aliens dragged ME into the ocean!
It’s a fun ride! Lagos is depicted as lively, corrupt, dangerous, bustling, and nearly addictive; the humans of Lagos are curious, food-obsessed, friendly, opportunistic, self-aggrandizing, helpful, loyal, violent, religious, superstitious, music-loving… It’s a great setting, and the dramatic reactions the public has to the news seem entirely fitting. (Especially now, years later, during this global pandemic, it is even more convincing!)
I enjoyed this VERY much, and having already enjoyed Binti, I’ll now need to find some additional Okorafor (nnedi.com) books to dive into.