Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: New York : Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, ♭2015.
ISBN: 9780765385253
Characteristics: 90 pages ;,21 cm


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January 2021

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Jan 14, 2021

The premise is good but the execution is weak. Try Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire for a stronger exploration of what it's like to be a member of a minority group caught up in a much larger and more powerful empire's conflicts.

JCLAnneG Nov 06, 2020

I adored this novella. I got introduced to Nnedi Okorafor earlier this year with her Akata Witch/Akata Warrior duology, and while this is shorter it is in a way even more immersive. I can't wait to read the rest of this trilogy. If you want to read a short Afrofuturism science fiction story with a strong female protagonist this is a win.

syrobert03 Sep 04, 2020

I loved this quick read. I am now embracing Sci-fiction reading and this is a good choice, I feel for the underrepresented in the genre. I felt very present and immersed in the narrative thanks to the author’s descriptive writing!

Aug 11, 2020

Binti, a member of the Himba people of Earth, secretly applies to prestigious Oomza University and, to her simultaneous delight and consternation, is accepted. Defying her family's wishes in pursuit of her education and natural talents, she embarks on a harrowing and disastrous journey across the galaxy, never having imagined that in addition to being a mere passenger she'd also be playing an unexpected role of interstellar diplomatic negotiator.

I chose this in the "sci-fi/fantasy novella" category for the 2020 Read Harder challenge. At just 90 pages it's a swift read, though there is a lot to chew on. I relished in the details about her culture and the practices she intended to maintain despite her distance from home. Binti's tale continues with further volumes, though as my preferences nowadays lean less toward sci-fi than they used to, I'll be placing those in my 'maybe' pile.

Aug 08, 2020

A Himba girl in space in this scifi story - about the same level as a good Star Trek.

JCLRachelN May 05, 2020

Even if you may not be able to relate to traveling from one planet to another, many may recognize Binti’s courage in moving so far from everything she knows and grappling with changes in herself. All while under extreme pressure that I did not see coming. This novella works on its own but I’ll be picking up the next two stories to see what is happening in Binti’s life.

Apr 03, 2020

I still have no idea what the Meduse are supposed to look like and I feel like everything happened way too fast. Still, this was an enjoyable and quick read and I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the series.

Jan 28, 2020

Okorafor's series of short novels creates an extraterrestrial culture that feels steeped in tradition. The story is an allegory for the treatment of outsiders, racial and cultural differences, and the unique contribution that an indigenous culture makes to matters of war and peace. The title character is well-developed and compelling, immersing us in a fascinating culture. Three short novels make up this Afrofuturist series.

Jan 17, 2020

Drops you into a deeply speculative sci-fi future of our universe, which both helps in some ways (allowing you to discover these interesting cultures/alien races in the moment with little exhaustive exposition) and detracts in others (sometimes felt left in the dark with regard to what things were, how a scene looked, and what the mood of the scene was). I don't want to spoil anything, but one particular event's aftermath felt totally wrong, and I could not understand the cause-and-effect that led to the novella's ending. Binti is a strong protagonist and I enjoyed her relationship with Okwu. Despite some large narrative flaws in this novella, I am excited for future Binti stories and the world is interesting.

Kay Thomas
Nov 24, 2019

I adored Binti's tenacity and inventive nature, as well as the description of the otjize - I so badly want to know what it smells like! I'm so excited to read Home when it becomes available!

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Feb 28, 2017

Having succeeded in negotiating a tentative peace between the Meduse and Oomza Uni after the attack on the Third Fish transport, Binti and Okwu have settled in as students on the university planet. Binti is supposed to be a master harmonizer, but ever since the attack, she has been experiencing violent mood swings, feeling almost uncontrollable flashes of anger that have convinced her she is unclean. To purge herself, Binti decides it is time to travel home, and make the traditional Himba women’s pilgrimage. But returning to Earth will mean making her first space trip since the attack, and facing up to the consequences of defying tradition when she chose to leave her family behind to attend university.


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Feb 28, 2017

Tribal hatred lived, even in Oomza Uni. And today that hatred, after simmering for a year, was coming to a head.

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