Christopher Hivner's Reviews > Kirinyaga

Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick
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May 12, 12


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 hut he has a computer which he uses to communicate with a Maintenance ship. Maintenance can change the position of the planetoid to give them the illusion of seasons or as in one story, Koriba orders Kirinyaga moved to cause a drought as punishment to the people for disobeying Kikuyu law. In the end the only person's utopia being created is Koriba's. He stifles thought and creativity, stubbornly and arrogantly forcing everyone to live by the old laws. New ideas are discouraged because that's not the traditional way and he seems surprised when people become bored and frustrated. The most emotionally compelling story is the one of a hyper intelligent young girl who when Koriba tells her he will not teach her to read because it is against Kikuyu law, she teaches herself . Then she creates her own language. He continues to stifle her and force her to live in only the ancient ways of the Kikuyu until she would rather not live at all.

Their is not a lot of style to the writing, but plenty of substance. Each story will give you a lot to think about and in that respect it is an amazing collection of work.
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