Stuff and Nonsense: Binti



Binti, a young Himba woman of prodigious mathematical talents, has been admitted on full scholarship to the most prestigious university in the galaxy. But the Himba people do not leave home. Nor do they question not leaving it. It is simply the way of things. But Binti is so talented and full of dreams, drive, desire that she cannot help but sneak away at night, breaking with her people forever. This is not a decision Binti makes lightly and the novel deftly portrays -- in ways that felt very real to this reader -- the the emotional and physical pain she experiences throughout her adventure because of this decision.

Aboard the living, organic starship taking students to the university, Binti manages to find her footing and even begins to form friendships ... and then the ship is attacked by angry, jellyfish-like aliens and massive amounts of carnage ensues. What originally seems like a compelling story about a plucky “backwater” girl out to follow her dreams becomes a rollicking young adult space adventure full of feels.

Indeed, I have so many feelings about Binti -- both the novella and the titular character -- but I don’t know how to write about either without spoiling the novella for you. Suffice to say, I found Binti to be an extremely enjoyable and thought-provoking read. I can easily see why Binti won both the 2016 Hugo and 2015 Nebula for Best Novella and I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in the trilogy.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. Tor, 2015.

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