Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti Book Cover

Rating: 3 Stars

I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer.

The Plot

Binti is the first of the Himba to be accepted into Oomza University. Against her family’s wishes, she leaves the planet, eager to attend University and learn more about deep mathematics. But on her way there, the ship is attacked by the race of the Meduse.


This novella was a great read. Binti is an interesting character, torn between her wish to leave the planet and learn more and the traditions of the Himba, which she deeply cares about. She finds herself on a ship surrounded by people that share neither her beliefs nor her customs.

The way she was torn between two worlds and how she manages to combine the two, following her dreams without leaving her traditions behind, was beautifully described.

I was the only Himba on the ship, out of nearly five hundred passengers. My tribe is obsessed with innovation and technology, but it is small, private, and, as I said, we don’t like to leave Earth. We prefer to explore the universe by travelling inward, as opposed to outward. No Himba has ever gone to Oomza Uni. So me being the only one on the ship was not that surprising. However, just because something isn’s surprising doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with.

I also liked how she rose to the occasion when the Meduse attacked the ship and left her without friends, surrounded by enemies.

However, the novella was also quite confusing a lot of the time. I didn’t understand the technology/magic-like technology at all. It has something to do with maths? It’s like math-magic? Binti can use this math-magic to communicate with an alien race. There’d also some weird math-meditation called treeing. It was just way too confusing.

“My people are the creators and builders of astrolabes,” I said. “We use math to create the currents within them. The best of us have the gift to bring harmony so delicious that we can make atoms caress each other like lovers.


A novella set in a fascinating future with an amazing protagonist.


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