Publisher: Tor Publishing
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Released: September 22nd 2015
Binti is the first novella in the Binti series (makes sense) and I’ve heard nothing but praise about the series for about a year now. So naturally I had to make some time and read these ones. It’s not every day you see the people of Twitter agreeing on something.
If you take a moment to look up Nnedi Okorafor’s Goodreads page, you’ll see that she’s an incredibly prolific writer. It actually has one hundred and two books listed, which is crazy impressive. Some of them are novellas for the Binti series, others are standalones. All are going to get added to my TBR list, if this one novella is any indication of her writing.
Also noteworthy for the novella, it won the 2015 Nebula for best novella, as well as a Hugo award. So if the praise found online hadn’t been enough to convince me that would have been.
Binti is a warm and uplifting tale about space exploration, humanity as a whole, and the alien races we come across (and most importantly, how their lack of being human doesn’t mean they’re not sentient or worthy of respect). It explores the concept of home, otherness, and what it means to be part of something bigger.
Binti has to be one of the more enchanting stories I’ve read this year. Her character is so full of life and passion, it’s impossible not to love her right from the start. Especially as she steps out into the unknown, completely alone and unsupported by her people.
You see, Binti is the first of the Himba people to leave their desert. She’s certainly the first to leave her world. Her people don’t believe in traveling, or in trusting outsides. But she has done both of those things, and she can never take that back.
She has no choice but to move forward, and move forward she does. Watching her adapt to the situations she’s in, dealing with the unexpected trials and tribulations, and most of all, find a way to keep her culture in the midst of all of it…it was breathtaking.
I believe Binti is the perspective I’ve been longing to see in space exploration all this time. She’s compassionate, stubborn, driven, and grounded. She doesn’t have to be an action hero to save lives, nor does she need to be of a person’s race or species to empathize with them. In short, she’s what we should all aspire to be like.
I loved Binti, and I personally can’t wait to start reading the next one. There are two more novellas, to my knowledge; Home and The Night Masquerade (that one is the cover that originally brought my attention to the series, actually). There’s also a completed collection of the three, unsurprisingly title Binti: The Complete Trilogy. So it’s your call in how you want to read the three of them.