Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

by Cam N. Coulter

Posted on August 20, 2016 reading, 2015.

Binti is a young woman and a member of an ethnic minority in a distant future. She runs away from her family and goes halfway across the galaxy to attend university. On the way there, something bad happens. (To say what specifically would be somewhat of a spoiler.)

This was a good read, although I wasn’t overly wowed by it.

The Positives: The aliens were well-designed, and Binti’s slow relationship with the aliens was handled very well. Science fiction tends to ignore ethnicity; Binti makes it a central concern.

The Negative: Binti didn’t really leave much of an impression on it. Binti won a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award, but honestly I can’t articulate why. It’s definitely well-written, but it just didn’t stick with me. That said, if I were a person of color, I imagine this story might resonate more with me.

Nnedi Okorafor is currently working on a sequel to Binti, which I plan on reading. Maybe it’ll resonate more with me or help me appreciate Binti more. At the least, it’s well-written science fiction that’s imagining a future I’m not seeing elsewhere. (Huh. Maybe that’s why it’s winning all the awards…)

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