I love science fiction. I love the sleek
spaceships and visiting other worlds. I love imagining how current trends may impact future society. But the stories being told in this genre
are so limited. Think of the last science fiction movie
you saw, or saw advertised. Who was the main character? Was it a man? Did he
have blue eyes? Was his name Chris? Yeah, I thought so. Why is it that when we
get the chance to travel off planet, we’re always stuck with the same guy who
can only classify aliens into two categories: the ones who look like
supermodels in tight spandex, and the ones who don’t?
There are so many aspects of space travel that have yet to
be explored, and stories that can only be explored by people who aren’t Chris.
That is why Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
is so refreshing. Binti is the story of
a girl from the Himba tribe in northern Namibia. She sneaks off in the night to
catch a ride on the spaceship heading off to Oomza University, where she’s been
accepted to complete her studies. Her plans are violently interrupted when
aliens board and attack the ship.
Coming in at a succinct 97 pages, this story is gripping and
fast paced. It is the mark of a master to guide the reader from point A to point
B with no excess frills, or empty exposition. To pull that off in science fiction, a genre known for
elaborate world building and description is incredible. Winner of the Hugo Award,
the Nebula Award, and finalists for many others, this is one space adventure
you do not want to miss.