Original Title: Binti
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Tor
Number of Pages: 96
First Sentence: “I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer.“
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Her name is Binti, and she is 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 gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.
This was such an amazing novella! I absolutely loved it and I urge you to read it. I wished it was longer, but the way Okorafor writes, it does feel like a full-length book, that’s how much actually happens during this 96-page long novella.
Binti was a great character and I absolutely adored her. She was badass, clever and had a big heart. I loved how she faced down adversity and did things despite being terrified. The Himba people and in extention Binti, faced a lot of prejudice from the other ethnic groups, and I loved seeing how Binti handled it. She wasn’t bitter because of it, instead she met people with an open heart (like we all should).
I will be honest and say that I as a white person have a really bad grasp of African mythology, traditions and culture, but it did feel that Okorafor created a space version of this. If this isn’t true, then I apologise. However, I loved the world Okorafor built and how she depicted Binti and the Himba people as people dedicated to the land they lived on and their people/family. It first seemed like an odd thing in a sci-fi book, but it was a brilliant contrast to all the fancy technology.
This book also showcases racism in a very good and obvious way. One of the messages I took away from this novella was that we shouldn’t judge people based on their ethnicity or race. If we take the time to talk and listen to each other we might find that we have more in common than we think and that it can be possible for us to work and live together in peace and harmony.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I do.