Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: DAW Books (November 9, 2021)
Hardcover, 224 pages
Science Fiction, Adult Sci-Fi, Afrofuturism
From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.
Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.
Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.
nedi Okorafor’s writing is the type of sci-fi/speculative fic that pushes the boundaries and makes me go “well huh.” Noor is a lot Afrofuturism and a bit Afrojujuism (which is a new to me term!). This is a speculative fic look at what it means to be “other,” disability and mobility devices as we move into a more technological world, and the evils of capitalism.
There are several stories within the story in this book, and while some were interesting there was one very long one about the invention of the solar power they use that was just long and didn’t seem to have a huge impact on the story itself. I found myself getting impatient with all the side stories and wanting to get back to the actual story.
While those side stories sort of slowed things down, the book overall remained quite fast-paced, especially the end which comes on, well, like a whirlwind. Every time I thought I knew where the story was headed, the winds changed and it swept along somewhere completely unexpected.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.