Collected for the first time in an omnibus edition, the Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning Binti trilogy, the story of one extraordinary girl's journey from her home to distant Oomza University.
In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family's concerns, Binti's talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.
But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti's spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.
There is more to the history of the Medusae--and their war with the Khoush--than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.
Collected now for the first time in omnibus form, follow Binti's story in this groundbreaking sci-fi trilogy.
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I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer.
I had no idea what I was going to do if it didn’t work. My transporter was cheap, so even a droplet of moisture, or more likely, a grain of sand, would cause it to short. It was faulty and most of the time I had to restart it over and over before it worked.
Please not now, please not now, I thought.
The transporter shivered in the sand and I held my breath.
Tiny, flat, and black as a prayer stone, it buzzed softly and then slowly rose from the sand. Finally, it produced the baggage-lifting force. I grinned. Now I could make it to the shuttle. I swiped otjize from my forehead with my index finger and knelt down. Then I touched the finger to the sand, grounding the sweet smelling red clay into it. “Thank you,” I whispered.
It was a half-mile walk along the dark desert road. With the transporter working, I would make it there on time.
Straightening up, I paused and shut my eyes. Now the weight of my entire life was pressing on my shoulders. I was defying the most traditional part of myself for the first time in my entire life.
I was leaving in the dead of night and they had no clue. My nine siblings, all older than me except for my younger sister and brother, would never see this coming. My parents would never imagine I’d do such a thing in a million years. By the time they all realized what I’d done and where I was going, I’d have left the planet. In my absence, my parents would growl to each other that I was to never set foot in their home again. My four aunties and two uncles who lived down the road would shout and gossip among themselves about how I’d scandalized our entire bloodline. I was going to be a pariah.
“Go,” I softly whispered to the transporter, stamping my foot. The thin metal rings I wore around each ankle jingled noisily, but I stamped my foot again. Once on, the transporter worked best when I didn’t touch it. “Go,” I said again, sweat forming on my brow. When nothing moved, I chanced giving the two large suitcases sitting atop the force field a shove. They moved smoothly and I breathed another sigh of relief. At least some luck was on my side.
Fifteen minutes later I purchased a ticket and boarded the shuttle. The sun was barely beginning to peak over the horizon. As I moved past seated passengers far too aware of the bushy ends of my plaited hair softly slapping people in the face, I cast my eyes to the floor. Our hair is thick and mine has always been very thick. My old auntie liked to call it “ododo” because it grew wild and dense like ododo grass. Just before leaving, I’d rolled my plaited hair with fresh sweet- smelling otjize I’d made specifically for this trip. Who knew what I looked like to these people who didn’t know my people so well.
A woman leaned away from me as I passed, her face pinched as if she smelled something foul. “Sorry,” I whispered, watching my feet and trying to ignore the stares of almost everyone in the shuttle. Still, I couldn’t help glancing around. Two girls who might have been a few years older than me, covered their mouths with hands so pale that they looked untouched by the sun. Everyone looked as if the sun was his or her enemy. I was the only Himba on the shuttle. I quickly found and moved to a seat.
The shuttle was one of the new sleek models that looked like the bullets my teachers used to calculate ballistic coefficients during my A‑levels when I was growing up. These ones glided fast over land using a combination of air current, magnetic fields, and exponential energy— an easy craft to build if you had the equipment and the time. It was also a nice vehicle for hot desert terrain where the roads leading out of town were terribly maintained. My people didn’t like to leave the homeland. I sat in the back so I could look out the large window.
I could see the lights from my father’s astrolabe shop and the sand storm analyzer my brother had built at the top of the Root—that’s what we called my parents’ big, big house. Six generations of my family had lived there. It was the oldest house in my village, maybe the oldest in the city. It was made of stone and concrete, cool in the night, hot in the day. And it was patched with solar planes and covered with bioluminescent plants that liked to stop glowing just before sunrise. My bedroom was at the top of the house. The shuttle began to move and I stared until I couldn’t see it anymore. “What am I doing?” I whispered.
An hour and a half later, the shuttle arrived at the launch port. I was the last off, which was good because the sight of the launch port overwhelmed me so much that all I could do for several moments was stand there. I was wearing a long red skirt, one that was silky like water, a light orange wind- top that was stiff and durable, thin leather sandals, and my anklets. No one around me wore such an outfit. All I saw were light flowing garments and veils; not one woman’s ankles were exposed, let alone jingling with steel anklets. I breathed through my mouth and felt my face grow hot.
“Stupid stupid stupid,” I whispered. We Himba don’t travel. We stay put. Our ancestral land is life; move away from it and you diminish. We even cover our bodies with it. Otjize is red land. Here in the launch port, most were Khoush and a few other non-Himba. Here, I was an outsider; I was outside. “What was I thinking?” I whispered.
I was sixteen years old and had never been beyond my city, let alone near a launch station. I was by myself and I had just left my family. My prospects of marriage had been 100 percent and now they would be zero. No man wanted a woman who’d run away. However, beyond my prospects of normal life being ruined, I had scored so high on the planetary exams in mathematics that the Oomza University had not only admitted me, but promised to pay for whatever I needed in order to attend. No matter what choice I made, I was never going to have a normal life, really.
I looked around and immediately knew what to do next. I walked to the help desk.
Binti: The Complete Trilogy is a beautifully written story of a girl from Africa who gets top scores to get into the most prestigious university in the universe. This school is on another planet and she has never even been very far from her own village where she creates astrolabs with her father. Her family is very opposed to her going so she leaves early one morning without telling anyone she has left. From there her life becomes quite an adventure taking her in directions that I'm sure she never imagined. The story was amazing, I didn't pick up the books when there were there individual novellas because I'm not a fan of short stories but I figure with them all together I would enjoy them more. I really did, though they did leave me wanting so much more. The characters are complex and original but you're left wanting to know more about everyone in the story. You also really want to find out what happens to Binti next. The story didn't leave on any cliffhangers but it definitely left some questions unanswered. If this had been one complete book to start multi book series I would give it a 5 but since there appears to be no more to the story I'll have to go with a 4. Definitely worth the read though. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this wonderful book.
Wonderful world building, great supporting characters, fabulous cultural detail, and amazing story. And then we have Binti herself. Just, wow. She is intense. I really came to love Binti- she's so strong, and yet, so relatable, believable, vulnerable, flawed. She has tantrums, she throws things across the room, hurts herself trying to break things, then puts on her big girl panties and gets on with business. So much gets thrown at her, and she grows to take it on. Life makes her become more than she wants to be, and she deals with it. I gush, but damn! I want to be like Binti when I grow up! I loved learning about the Himba culture while reading this book, and I loved that her "magic" was based on mathematical equations. This edition includes a short story that falls between the first and second books that adds to the overall story nicely.
One of the best things I’ve read in years. Couldn’t put it down.
Every once in a while you hear about a story that is so unique and so captivating that it is suggested that everyone should read it regardless if it’s not from their preferred genre of literature. "Binti" is a story about a young woman who leaves her home—without her family’s blessing—so that she can take advantage of an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the most prestigious university in the galaxy, Oomza Uni. She boards a spacecraft and it is traveling to a distant planet, and Binti has never been away from her home before. It seems like the story will pick up pace once the spacecraft arrives; only it is attacked by a “hostile” alien species. This is the first part of the first novella in the series by Nnedi Okorafor—which, won both the Nebula and the Hugo awards for “Best Novella”—and, neither the action, nor the story ends with the first novella! "Binti: The Complete Trilogy" contains all of the author's stories in one volume! "Binti" starts off with a simple plot: a gifted young woman goes against her family’s expectations in order to attend an esteemed university. Readers are introduced to Binti’s intelligence for mathematics, abilities as a harmonizer, and Himba culture. At the same time, readers are reminded that human differences and alien versus human culture clashes exist in the future as well. One particular rivalry between the species quickly becomes the center of the story, quickly. Binti has to find a way to survive her new—and unexpected—predicament, which will be hard because the Meduse, the hostile alien species want her dead. "Binti: Sacred Fire" is the latest story written by the author in this series, but it serves as an interlude between the first and the second books in the series. "Binti: Home" is about what is in the title. Binti completes her first semester or year at Oomza Uni and decides to return home to visit her family and to participate in her tribe’s pilgrimage. "Binti: The Night Masquerade" starts where "Binti: Home" left off, with Binti rushing back to her family home after her pilgrimage in order to stop a war before it starts. Within the conclusion to this series, readers realize that not everyone is willing to accept change, not everyone wants to interact with someone who is “different” from themselves, and not everyone is willing to admit he/she/it/they have flaws. It was thrilling to read "Binti" again. And, "Binti: The Complete Trilogy" allows readers to enjoy all of the Binti stories in tandem. Fans of Nnedi Okorafor and readers of speculative fiction will appreciate this series compilation as much as I did. Reading through Binti’s life as a university freshman reminded me of some of my experiences during my first year of college as well, including the changes in myself and the stagnancy of everything else. "Binti" is a story about personal growth through experience and change, and how expectations depend on individual actions, not those of others. This coming-of-age story is pleasing to all readers and it should not be overlooked.