Kirinyaga (A Fable of Utopia, #1)
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Kirinyaga (A Fable of Utopia #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  479 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia collects Mike Resnick's famous Kirinyaga stories and ties them together in a thematic arc that has novel-like continuity. The story focuses on Koriba, a mundumugu (sort of like a witch doctor and a wise man rolled into one) of the Kikuyu tribe. Koriba feels that his tribe has been corrupted by "European" technology, so he helps to establish a s...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published June 1999 by Del Rey (first published November 1988)
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Algernon

Kirinyaga is what the locals tribes call Mount Kenya. The distinction is important because it marks the refusal by the traditionalist Kikuyu to accept the Western values, especially in view of the extensive environmental damage, overpopulation and loss of cultural identity they are confronted with in the twenty-second century. So, when new technological advances open up the Space for the creation of human colonies on carefully terraformed and climate controlled planetoids, these tribesmen decide...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. WOW!! This was an exceptional collection of inter-connected short stories that should be seen as one complete story. The cosmetic premise of the of the stories is about a group of 22nd century Kenyans unhappy with its evolution into "another European city" who emigrate to a planetary colony in order to live simply and in harmony with the land as their ancestors did. The real or underlying premise of these stories are about the struggle of one person against the inevitability of progre...more
Chris
I was torn on this one. I wanted to like it going in and was actually captivated by the opening story, "One Perfect Morning, with Jackals". That was a great introduction to the new world set up by the Eutopian Council (clever name, that) called Kirinyaga, an attempt to get back to the roots of the Kikuyu tribe of what we barbaric Europeans call "Kenya".

And here's where the being torn comes in. As I read story after story, I realized that I didn't like the narrator, Koriba. At first I'd sympathiz...more
Stacey
Quite by accident, I've been reading a lot of stories about righteous people who do wrong things for what they believe are right reasons. Some of these people reap the consequences of their decisions, and some do not. Some see the error of their choices, and a very few go on blindly believing that nobody else really understands, only they can see that they are right, and only they are able to interpret what is true.

The religion of my childhood referred to itself as "The Truth." As a child, I tru...more
Becky
Kirinyaga is a collection of inter-related short stories that center around a terraformed planet designed to be the new home of the Kikuyu tribe of Africa, where they can live their lives in the old, traditional way, without interference from modern society.

I almost stopped reading this book 2 chapters (stories, technically) into it. Two main reasons for this:
1- I really dislike parables. They are usually obvious, simplistic, and preachy.
2- I intensely dislike Koriba, the main character.

Pres...more
Tabasco
I loved this book, it reflects a lot of today's reality, expecially our world's quick changes, and its many conflicts between past and present. An old scientist from Kenya, desperate because the "good old days" of Kenya's uncontaminated tribal life have gone, decides to recreate that world artificially, on another planet. Despite the futuristic concept, this is not much of a science fiction book, it's rather a book of ideas. The stories are interconnected, and they are part of the same overarchi...more
Beth A.
Jul 01, 2009 Beth A. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth A. by: Mary Cate
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites, own
This is a story of obsession. Koriba is the leader of a group of people who live on a planet terraformed to be like Africa and designated as a Kikuyu Utopia. Koriba detests the European culture that has taken over Kenya, and how the European and Kenyan cultures have overtaken the identity of the Kikuyu people.

His Utopia is established as a place for the Kikuyu people to return to their original culture and live in harmony with the land. He is their mundumugu, or witch doctor. He is their “teache...more
Laura
This was the perfect Book Club book. I think that this is a book worth reading, discussing, and enjoying no matter what your genre preference is. It is a quick read, entertaining, well written, engaging, and thought-provoking. I am very impressed with this writer's talent.

I spent a good deal of the book frustrated or angry with the main character (who is telling the story from his own perspective) but I still couldn't put the book down. It was too fascinating! The picture of the society he drew...more
Ben Babcock
Mike Resnick's Kirinyaga is an example of how science fiction isn't necessarily a genre; it's just a setting. Kirinyaga is technically science fiction, because it involves colonizing another world (the eponymous planetoid Kirinyaga, named for the mountain upon which the god of the Kikuyu, Ngai, lives). However, Kirinyaga isn't about spaceships or combat with high-tech weaponry or vast, evil empires. It's a collection of fables, and an extremely well-written one at that.

The narrator of Kirinyaga...more
CV Rick
I would rate Mike Resnick as not only a master storyteller, but also a master of the parable. While on the surface this is the story of Koriba, the witchdoctor, or Mundumugu of his tribe, the Kikuyu. This is a couple centuries in the future when Koriba has the will to get a planet terraformed so that his people can emigrate from the disgustingness that is Kenya with all its European influences and get back to the traditional soil-tilling, mud-hut living past that is the right of his people. So o...more
Leah
Utopia, a European concept that never works anywhere.
A Kikuyu man, Koriba, takes tribe members to a space colony he names after the sacred mountain Kirinyaga. A string of episodes of his life and the life of the colony ensue.

He is the Voice Of N'aga, the old God, he is the supreme authority on how these people must live their lives - old traditions rule, nothing new is accepted.

Which means he becomes a tyrant in the name of what he believes is right, but there is no way to put a society into a c...more
Julie Davis
This book comes highly recommended by friends I trust. I have put it off because I know it contains difficult material.

It is the next A Good Story Is Hard to Find podcast selection. What better to begin reading on vacation?

UPDATE
simply amazing and with much food for thought. Can't wait to talk about this book.
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I'm gonna be really lazy with this one, and just link to Jen's review. I think she generally summed up my feelings, and I don't feel like writing out a review after posting about it this morning in the group. *shrugs*
Marissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Krammer
Jun 15, 2008 Scott Krammer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone that is cool!
Basically, if I could take any book I've read and force High School English students to read something, this would be the book. Incredible!
Craig
This is a perfect example of a great story (or ten interlocked ones in this case) being told with science-fiction trappings that examine the basic questions and core dichotomies of tradition and progress, science and religion, culture and politics, and all manner of conflicted and thought-provoking conundrums. There are sometimes no good or easy answers, no good or bad people, no right or wrong choices, all of which seem to apply to modern Africa as portrayed in this book. It's the best modern e...more
Ben Cooks
I really enjoyed this book because it is one man's struggle, Koriba a mundumugu (witch doctor/wise man) to create a Utopia which fits the vision he has for the Kikuyu people. He grew tired of the Kenyans who embraced the ways of the Europeans and transformed into them, defiling the land and causing many species to become extinct. Thus he chartered a planetoid and set to work shaping it to recreate Kirinyaga, the home of the Kikuyu tribe. This collection of tales has an overarching theme which co...more
Mathieu
Très bon roman, ou plutôt, très bon recueil de nouvelles camouflé en roman.

Ce livre regroupe en réalité huit nouvelles initialement parues dans des revues spécialisées (et qui ont pour la plupart été récompensées par de prestigieux prix littéraires, Nebula et Hugo en tête). Ces huit textes sont encadrés par un prologue et un épilogue qui servent à donner une cohérence supplémentaires à ces textes précédemment séparés les uns des autres.

Kirinyaga relate donc une tentative d'utopie africaine, et m...more
Amrlima
Sorry, review in Portuguese. Will translate some time soon.

Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia de Mike Resnick é uma história sobre a desilusão e recusa de um mundo, a criação de uma realidade utópica e a sua destruição aos olhos de um dos seus criadores.

Kirinyaga transporta-nos para a reflexão sobre as utopias, e o que estaremos dispostos a fazer para as atingir e manter, considerando que, tal como tantas coisas na vida, só nos apercebemos destas quando desaparecem. Li o original em Inglês e Mike Resn...more
Scott D.
Discussed with Julie D. on the A Good Story is Hard to Find Podcast:
Episode 65: Kirinyaga.

Kirinyaga is a series of ten stories which were originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction and Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines between 1988 and 1996. All ten stories are collected in this book. Nearly all of them garnered a Hugo nomination, with two of them winning the award: "Kirinyaga" (Short Story, 1989) and "The Manamouki" (Novelette, 1991).

The stories share a main character: Koriba, a perso...more
John
This left me with more questions and uncertainties than I expected. That may have been what Resnick intended.

As just a bunch of stories, this is good entertainment. But I can't shake the impression that I'm supposed to read more meaning into this collection. We have here..

* (layer 1) a collection of stories by a mature man (Resnick was in his mid-40s to mid-50s when he wrote these stories), about

* (layer 2) an old man who tells parables and allegorical stories as part of his calculated method t...more
Bryan Schmidt
Yes, yet another Resnick review from me. Before I get to the actual review, let me answer the inevitable resounding "Whys?" echoing from my many readers (2, 3? I've lost count, time for another census). I started reading Resnick for two reasons: 1) because after hearing he was a huge Africa fan who used his African experiences in his stories, I looked him up, noted our mutual interest in Africa and crosscultural writing, and I got an email a few days later with a buttload (yes, that is an actual...more
Heleen
As an exploration of Utopia, this is an interesting book. Is it possible for man to create one? Is it possible to maintain it? Does free will kill it? What is your idea of Utopia?

While reading Kirinyaga, my frustration with Koriba, the narrator, reached a rolling boil. He cheated, he whined, he manipulated, all to maintain his own power. He made me violent. However, I realized the world of Kirinyaga (Utopia) itself was the dynamic character. If you decide to read this book I offer a recommendati...more
Nicolas
Kirinyaga raconte donc, du point de vue de Koriba, le shaman ou plutôt mundumungu du village, la vie d’une utopie africaine sur un planétoïde placé, apparement, dans le système solaire. L’histoire est racontée avec un talent consomé, et il n’est pas une ligne du récit qui ne semble soigneusement pensé pour faire réfléchir le lecteur. Du début à la fin, on est emporté par Mike Resnick, écrivain amoureux de l’Afrique, qui compose ici un livre beau, puissant, mais terriblement triste.
L’avantage de...more
Christopher Hivner
Kirinyaga is a collection of short stories tied together in the form of a novel. A planetoid called Kirinyaga is set up as a utopia, so the Kikuyu people can live as their ancestors did before the Europeans inculcated their ideas into Kenyan culture. The driving force behind this is a man named Koriba who acts as their witch doctor/wise man. The villagers live in enough fear of him that they take his word as gospel even if in their hearts they disagree. Koriba is disingenuous however, as in his...more
Philip
As someone living in Kenya, this book was extremely fascinating. I don't know why more people in Kenya aren't talking about it (or have talked about it in the past) or using it in their high school English classes (hint, hint, Wes). Really does raise lots of good questions and means for debate about colonization of Africa and reclaiming/retaining lost culture. I also especially love the way African-esque fables are woven into the narrative. I don't know how much of an impact/interest level it wo...more
Hannah Givens
I think it was well done, and raises a lot of questions about cultural relativism and intervention. It's a creative idea -- some members of the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya move to a terraformed world to recreate traditional Kikuyu life -- and I liked how each chapter was basically a standalone short story and an installment in the overall plot arc. It was also a good idea from a narrative standpoint to have the POV character be a true believer, not an outsider or a young questioner. That wasn't the ea...more
Kathy
This book asks the question of whether we can rebuild a way of life that has long since disappeared? Can things ever be the same? Koriba and a number of other emmigrants leave Kenya to create a new world.....a replication of their ancestral homeland, Kirinyaga. Koriba is the Mundumungo, or medicine man....keeper of

the memories, history and connection to Ngai, their god. As modern technology and European influences threaten to destroy what they have made, Koriba finds himself alone, fighting a l...more
Chanpheng
Collection of Resnick's stories on a group of traditionalists relocating to a terraformed world to preserve their ancient culture, free of the influence of European influence. The narrator is the 'Witch Doctor,' one of the original founders of the movement, who manipulates the world through his interpretation of their god, Ngai. There are interesting conflicts, which remind me of many culture clashes from the US, but even more timely, a fundamentalist viewpoint that all good comes from the ancie...more
Shomeret
I'm writing this review because Kirinyaga came up in the recent SFWA kerfuffle. First, Kirinyaga is not sexist. I am a feminist myself, and I consider it profoundly feminist. And yes, it's true that many African traditions are not only sexist but truly horrifying for women. Perhaps African female genital mutilation which predates Islam has slipped the minds of Resnick's critics. The Kikuyu practice FGM though it has been decreasing. I also want to say this: There are also many wonderful African...more
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Michael "Mike" Diamond Resnick (born Chicago, March 5, 1942), better known by his published name Mike Resnick, is a popular and prolific American science fiction author. He is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction. He is the winner of five Hugos, a Nebula, and other major awards in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Croatia and Pola...more
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