Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kabu Kabu” as Want to Read:
Kabu Kabu
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kabu Kabu

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  917 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Kabu Kabu - unregistered, illegal Nigerian taxis - generally get you where you need to go, but Nnedi Okorafor's Kabu Kabu takes the reader to exciting, fantastic, magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations. This debut short story collection by award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor includes notable previously-published short work, a new novella co-writt ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Prime Books (first published September 29th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kabu Kabu, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Kabu Kabu

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  917 ratings  ·  158 reviews

Sort order
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm very excited that you will all be able to finally read the novella that Alan Dean Foster and I wrote called Kabu Kabu. It's a trip (pun intended). And the story titled "The Black Stain" (a story from Who Fears Death) is some heavy heavy stuff. But I needed to write it. I have other favorites in here like The Magical Negro (that neeeever gets old) and the Arro-yo stories (the first windseeker I wrote about. Writing about her led to Zahrah). There are stories about hardcore hunchbacks, magic c ...more
Arielle Walker
Sheeeit," he drawled, looking directly at you. "You need to stop reading all this stupidness. The Magical Negro ain't about to get his ass kicked no more. Them days is ovah."

I've always been uncertain of Nnedi Okorafor's work. Her stories are so incredibly inventive, her language sings with vivid descriptions of the most bizarre and previously unimaginable things, but in novel form it all just falls apart. Something in the plotting and the stepping from place to place lets gaps appear - chasms r
K.J. Charles
A collection of short stories, all powerful, with a motor of rage driving a lot of them, about misogyny and male entitlement and corruption and racism and the exploitation of the Niger delta and more. Okorafor has a wild and vivid imagination, and this is quite an overview of the things that gnarl in her mind (the near-tentacular hair in Binti is reflected in her stories of the Windseekers, people who can fly). What did really strike me was how much better she's got since her early work, in comm ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of fantastical short stories. While I love fantasy in general, fantasy short fiction is often a tougher sell for me - the word limit means that stories aren't often given a chance to breathe, and they lack that sense of space that I love in the best fantasy literature. Nnedi Okorafor is able to avoid that problem by making most of her stories about magic encroaching on real people and real places, concerned less with world-building than with imbuing an existing world with ...more
Friederike Knabe
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, african-lit
Nnedi Okorafor's story collection KABU KABU, published in 2013, provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into the author's rich imagination, vibrant language and captivating scenarios. Created at different stages in her extensive writing career, Okorafor treats us to a range of intriguing characters and their adventures, skilfully (and successfully) combining elements of speculative fiction and fantasy with African folklore and magical realism, and yes, indeed, political and social present ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
La premessa di questa raccolta era intrigante: un fantasy dall'ambientazione africana, con commistioni con la mitologia e le leggende nigeriane che l'autrice, nigeriana appunto, ha succhiato col latte.
Il fatto che avesse poi vinto il World Fantasy Award col romanzo Who Fears Death, inoltre, credevo garantisse una qualità di scrittura tendenzialmente alla pari col l'originalità dell'ambientazione e, speravo, delle tematiche.
Bene, sono stata colossalmente delusa.
Ho letto circa un terzo della racco
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
Are we done making animals the enemy ?!?

Okorafor's girl group try a shortcut into the jungle to go to school. Baboons defend their encroached territory, but Okorafor apparently still lives in 1905, and doesn't care. Yawn. Even Hindu mythology was more evolved millennia ago; Prince Rama befriended monkeys to defeat a king.

The author would've won my respect had she pinned the heroine against worthy equals: perhaps mean boys or village elders. Instead, the girl's intent was selfish, misguided and f
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I so wanted to like this book more. Okorafor was born in Africa and is now a professor of writing in Chicago. The book was warmly reviewed by Wolfe in Locus, and the jacket boasts Ursula Le Guin saying "There's more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor's work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics." Her perspective is so unique, there was sure to be lots of ideas for her to plumb that would be entirely new for me.

And yet, it felt full of rookie mistakes. Enough piling of adverb
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
In August I read Nnedi Okorafor's novel Who Fears Death (2010). It was my first experience with her writing in the long form and I found it to be one of the most thought-provoking novels I've read all year. When I saw Kabu Kabu, a short story collection published by Prime Books, pop up on NetGalley I jumped at the chance. Kabu Kabu is a very diverse set of stories. I guess you could call most of them fantasy or magical realism, sometimes with a bit of science fiction mixed in. It's one of thos ...more
I think I have to conclude at this point that Okorafor is just Not For Me. There's nothing here I actively disliked, but there's something about Okorafor's rhythm and structure that made me struggle to stay focused. I'd read a few pages and then find my mind wandering.

"The Carpet" was probably my favorite story; I think the fact that so much of it is based on Okorafor's personal experiences may lend it more immediacy. Other stories, like "On the Road" and "The Popular Mechanic" had concepts and
Zoe Brooks
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
Nnedi Okorafor is an American-born daughter of Igbo Nigerian parents and that mix of cultures is just perfect for the writing of magic realism. This collection of short stories draws on Okorafor's West African roots more than her American life. But the writer being American brings an outsider's point of view. The eponymous story is a good example of that. A successful American lawyer hails an illegal taxi (kabu kabu) to take to the airport for her flight to a family wedding in Nigeria, but the t ...more
Grace Troxel
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

You know that feeling when you read something by an author and then are like “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” because you’re blown away by these vast and rich worlds that are different that anything you’ve read about in your entire life, and you can’t stop thinking about the stories for weeks? That’s how I felt after reading Kabu Kabu, a collection of short stories by Nnedi Okorafor.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The eponymous short story in this collection is about a kabu kabu, an illegal or, preferably, unofficial Nigerian cab service. Ngozi, a Chicago lawyer, is running late on her way to the airport. Her sister is engaged to a suitor Ngozi doesn't agree with, but she needs to be by her side anyways. She inexplicably comes onto a kabu kabu on the streets of Chicago. She gets on and quickly loses control of her destination. She's along for the ride whether she wants to or not.

Now that's exactly what Nn
Marie Michaels
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I was really excited to read this short story collection as a big fan of her novel "Akata Witch," and her other novels are on my to-read list. There are some great stories in here, particularly the title story about a very unusual taxi. I also enjoyed some recurring characters through this collection, which is rather unusual for short story collections. The settings are wonderful and present such a universe than most fantasy inhabits.

That said, this book felt less polished and less emotionally
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and often serious short stories from Nnedi Okorafor, set mostly in Nigeria or the Niger Delta. The collection begins with a bang with "The Magical Negro", moves into the realm of the mystical with "Kabu Kabu" and takes a serious tone with "The Black Stain." Pieces such as "Long Juju Man" and "The Carpet" read like folktales and encourage to reader to open their mind to the possibilities. All in all, Nnedi does a wonderful job of showing the reader another world.
It's definitely inconsistent in terms of writing style and narrative, but I like so many of the ideas. I also just really like reading fantasy/magic realism/sci fi set in uncommon places and cultures (for those genres). I really liked The Black Stain and Spider the Artist in particular. Many others I liked at the beginning but they sort of trailed off at the end. Not a solid collection necessarily but I like Okorafor and will be reading more of her stuff!
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free as part of the goodreads first reads giveaway. This collection of short stories is amazing. Every story in this book is as vivid and engaging and immersive as you could ask for in a group of short stories. I loved every single one and I can't wait to read more by this author. On a side note I would love to read 'The Legend of Arro-yo' if it is ever published.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lot of hits and a few misses here for me. The first story, "The Magical Negro", is only 3 pages long, and is maybe still my favorite of the bunch. I enjoyed all the stories, "How Inyang Got Her Wings" and "The Winds of Harmattan" to name a few, that gave me glimpses of the Windseekers (and reminded me I need to FINALLY read Okorafor's "Zahrah the Windseeker" ;___;).
Tim Childree
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every single story in this collection is wonderful, and "The Palm Tree Bandit" is the perfect conclusion to a collection that is at times joyful, at times snarky, at times devastating, and always beautiful. Highly recommended collection!
Andrea Vega

Kabu-Kabu es una expresión comúnmente usada en Nigeria para referirse a taxis sin registro e ilegales. Nnedi Okorafor dice que te llevan allá a donde necesitas ir y este libro hace lo mismo. Este libro hace un viaje por la mitolofía y el folclore nigeriano y te los pone enfrente, te los presenta, te muestra otra manera. Pero bueno, vamos por partes y empecemos por el principio (y perdonen el pleonasmo).

Resulta que este libro lo leí para el maratón #Guadal
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai vraiment apprécié les nouvelles (en mode LC ça m'a bien aidé quand même car je ne suis pas très nouvelles à la base). Les sujets abordés le sont plus ou moins bien poussé ou non ce qui est parfois frustrant.
Le gros point noir c'est les fautes et erreurs d'impression an sachant tout le travail qu'il y a eu c'est vraiment décevant!!!
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved listening to Levar Burton read this wonderful short story. A bonus was the inclusion of an interview with the author.
Ron Henry
Mixed bag of stories by a clearly talented writer. Some of the early stories have the unpolished feel of a beginning writer not yet confident in her craft, but included in the collection for the sake of completeness.
Jaffa Kintigh
This anthology is a collection of short mostly speculative stories with tinges of sci-fi, fantasy, folktale and the supernatural. A few come from the same world in which a few individuals have the ability to fly. These are excerpts from the author's unpublished novel. Many fall short of feeling fully developed, resting instead at vignette status. None stand far above or below the rest.

One commonality throughout the collection is Nigeria as a background, often with American narrators. The uneasy
Galen Charlton
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signed
Originally posted at Reading Reality

Picture a spider made of metal on an oil pipeline, standing attentively as it is serenaded by a woman. This is but one of the fantastical images that await the reader of Nnedi Okorafor’s short story collection Kabu Kabu.

One takes a taxi to get from one place to another, to make a transition of place. Kabu Kabu is full of transitions. The title story, written with Alan Dean Foster, tells the tale of a trip that a lawyer, Ngozi, takes from Chicago to a village
Fangs for the Fantasy
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kabu-Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor This book is a collection of short stories so I cannot really write a synopsis other than to say most of them are led by women, who are African or of African descent , all of them are powerful and all are set in beautiful, amazing rich worlds – or our own world with some excellent fantastic twists.
And it’s huge. In fact, it felt far huger reading it than I seemed when I first saw how big it was. There are the best part of 20 stories there – they’re not all extremely
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-author, shorts
Individual story ratings 3-5 stars, definitely averaging at least 4 stars.
My favorite is "Spider the Artist"
Ben Rowe
Regardless what else I may make of this book it already holds a special place for me as the first book I have received as a reviewer rather than a reader of books.

Nnedi has plenty of buzz about her at the moment as one of the current crop of SF writers providing a fresh breath to what some were perceiving to be a stale genre.

I am yet to read anything else by Nnedi but will probably have to at least dip into Who Fears Death (which has been sitting on my selves for a couple of weeks) before finish
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection. A few years ago, I read Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor's novel of a magical, post-apocalyptic Sudan, and absolutely loved it. Overall, the stories in Kabu Kabu didn't work quite as well for me, in part because many of them felt a bit like orphaned vignettes from unfinished longer works (some actually are excerpts from novels). But read as a collective whole these vignettes work nicely to create a sort of tapestry of a hidden, supernatural realm dwelling just beneath the ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting collection of short stories. Manage your expectations coming in, as this is very distinctly not what is expected of a “traditional” short story collection. Not only is is a window into cultures under-represented in legacy publishing, you should not expect traditional styles where everything is a comfortable self-contained tale.

“The Magical Negro” is a brutal and effective opener for this collection. It says “Buckle up, bonehead, ‘cuz you’re going for a ride!” “Spide
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Engraved on the Eye
  • Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond
  • Different Kinds of Darkness
  • Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories
  • Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing
  • Returning My Sister's Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice
  • Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History
  • AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers
  • Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales
  • Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers
  • Sister Mine
  • The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories
  • Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition
  • Chivalry
  • Fountain of Age
  • Conservation of Shadows
  • Lightspeed: Year One
  • Howard Who?
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults and a professor at the University at Buffalo, New York. Her works include Who Fears Death, the Binti novella trilogy, the Book of Phoenix, the Akata books and Lagoon. She is the winner of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards and her debut novel Zahrah the Windse ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Two footsteps do not make a path.” 4 likes
“A tiger does not proclaim its tigritude. It pounces. —Wole Soyinka, Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Nobel Laureate” 1 likes
More quotes…