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Kirinyaga (A Fable of Utopia #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  598 Ratings  ·  77 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 January 1st 1998)
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May 17, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014

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
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
Feb 14, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: fbr-2012
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
Aug 27, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacey by: Tracy Erickson
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
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.

Tom Tabasco
Jan 20, 2016 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
my wonderful blog is here

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 speculative fiction, or a book of ideas. The stories are inter
Zachary Jernigan
Oct 15, 2014 Zachary Jernigan rated it liked it
I didn't hate this book when I read it, but the Afterword -- wherein Resnick congratulates himself over and over again for getting so many accolades and all -- is pretty odious. I'd recommend not reading that part, at least, and just diving into the text.

I'd be very interested to see a critique of this book from the perspective of someone versed in African history and cultures (broadly speaking about both its history and its cultures, of course) -- specifically focusing on Kenya, of course, but
Beth A.
Jul 01, 2009 Beth A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth A. by: Mary Cate
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi, 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
Jun 19, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
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
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
CV Rick
Dec 07, 2009 CV Rick rated it it was amazing
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
Corvinus Maximilus
Jun 06, 2015 Corvinus Maximilus rated it it was amazing
The story follows Koriba who leaves Kenya because it has become polluted and overcrowded but most of all European. He petitions the government to terraform a planetoid where he can take willing Kikuyus and live there as their ancestors had lived. Very thought provoking! What is "utopia"? Can there be balance between traditional culture and modern culture....can they coexist? Must one be sacrificed for the other? I think culture is supposed to evolve, by how much...or how far I'm not sure. The on ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Marissa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2015 Randal rated it really liked it
This book is the Victor/Victoria of Utopian novels. The author is a white, American man writing from the perspective of a black, African man who's trying to rid his culture of all white, European influences.

It's also a damn good read. The flow and pacing are excellent. And there are stories within the story, numerous parables told in every chapter. And somehow, the protagonist ends up being frustrating and sympathetic at the same time.

A well-crafted an interesting take on the challenges inherent
Derek Karnes
Feb 08, 2015 Derek Karnes rated it really liked it
i devoured this book, and it was hard. My own cognitive dissonance wants me to dislike the protagonist, a fierce conservative theist who ignores facts in favor his own morals and passes them on to children as truth ("Facts are not truth", I believe was the quote) and who disowns his family and friends to maintain a way of life that no one in his life time has every lived but he.

I wanted to dislike this man because he is the opposite of me - a nationalist of sorts, who rebukes convenience, scien
miha ha
Jul 11, 2015 miha ha rated it really liked it
Shelves: audioknjige, 2015, sci-fi
Zelo všeč!! fino poslušanje:)

Več kratkih zgodb opisuje Kenijskego pleme Kikuyu, ki se je na Zemlji čist asimiliralo z Evropejci in njihovim načinom življenja, kako na Teraformiranem (prezemljenem?) planetoidu, ki ga poimenujejo Kirinyaga, po njihovi sveti gori, poskuša ustvarit utopijo. Njihov "šaman, modri mož" Koriba se na vse kriplje trudi ohranjat njihov tradicionalni način življenja, čeprav se sam vseh pravil ravno ne drži (tle ga mal ne maram ker izpade kot da samo on vse ve in samo njegov
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
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*
Julie Davis
Good Story #65. Join Julie and Scott as they drop everything and head to Kirinyaga. Koriba said it would be pretty great.
Scott Krammer
Jun 15, 2008 Scott Krammer rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 22, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 03, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
I thought Kirinyaga was extremely well-crafted, with the stories within stories, each chapter originally published as a short story. And if read strictly as a story of one flawed man's vision of utopia, I agree with and am satisfied with the ending. Otherwise, I felt there was a certain smug, western, capitalist judgment lurking in the background. Does a utopia of necessity enforce stagnation? Is change - and especially the frenetic 21st century pace of it - an all or nothing choice? Is nothing ...more
Ben Cooks
May 31, 2014 Ben Cooks rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa Feld
Jul 09, 2015 Lisa Feld rated it really liked it
Shelves: bard
The choice to make this novel out of a series of short stories is really perfect. Each story is okay on its own, but together they make a subtle arc as Koriba struggles to make the terraformed planet of Kirinyaga into a Utopia by evoking a simpler time before the Europeans came to Africa. The problem is that Utopias are static, while living things necessarily change--as time goes on, Koriba's vision becomes more and more out of step with the people he leads, and something has to give. Koriba isn ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Mathieu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2014 Amrlima rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 25, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bryan Schmidt
Aug 06, 2010 Bryan Schmidt rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2013 Heleen rated it it was ok
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
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Michael "Mike" Diamond Resnick, 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 Poland. and has been short-listed ...more
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