This Week’s Reads

Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti
Science fiction, Finished
Binti is the first of the Himba people to be offered a place at Oomza University. But what begins as a simple journey to overcome the fear and loneliness of leaving her home behind quickly becomes terrifying when the Meduse attack the ship, killing nearly everyone except for Binti.

Binti manages to take the large issue of two warring peoples and distill it into a wonderfully simple story of a young woman struggling first with the decision to leave her family and her home and then with the need to survive those who are only interested in killing her. Plot-wise very little happens. The story is all about Binti, her worries about leaving her family, her determination to follow through, and the absolute terror of watching hundreds die. There’s very little she can physically do to rectify the situation, so we spent a lot of time with her waiting, trying to keep herself together and then trying to figure out what to say to the Meduse so they won’t hurt her.

Science fiction is not my genre and I can’t say Binti has won me over to the genre, but Binti’s character arc is such a lovely journey of a woman who must rise to a trying occasion.

Alex White’s Every Mountain Made Low
Secondary World Fantasy, In Progress
Loxley Fiddleback can see the dead,but the problem is… the dead can see her. Living in the bottom of the cutthroat, strip-mined metropolis hasn’t helped much either.

I’m not very far in yet, but Lox is a great character. She’s specific and developed and wonderfully detailed. I know what she wants and enjoys and the small minutia of how she navigates the world. I know what she likes and what she doesn’t like and I absolutely feel her struggle, even in mundane moments. It’s not a fast start, but I’ve always rather enjoyed spending some time in the world before the plot kicks in.

Short story of the week: Margaret Killjoy’s Men of the Ashen Morrow
Secondary World Fantasy, Finished
Read it here.
This is a story about a woman who is so tired. After spending years and years and years expending so much of her energy to raise their god so that winter can come, she’s done. She’s lost too many people to this ritual and she simply can’t handle doing it again. Men of the Ashen Morrow is really about that feeling of loss and exhaustion. Sal is an old woman at the end story, yet she has to keep pushing on, making hard choices when she just wants to stop and lay down her head.

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