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Lagoon

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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  4,560 ratings  ·  821 reviews
When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Told from
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Paperback, 306 pages
Published April 10th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,560 ratings  ·  821 reviews


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karen
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
this is a science fiction novel in which aliens descend upon lagos. i have read plenty of african fiction, but this is the first time extraterrestrial life has ever been a part of the story. fortunately for sci-fi noob me, the aliens are not metallic chitinous types toting advanced weaponry, and the story has more of a folktale feel to it than anything more traditionally spaceshippy. since folktales frequently make their way into african fiction, or any other culture's fiction where there is an ...more
Nnedi
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I had so much fun with this one. :-). Welcome to Lagos.
Lyn
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Kurt Vonnegut had commented that when his early writing was given the label of science fiction, many critics and readers stopped taking his work seriously. He was lumped into the pulpy but fun drivel of the 50s and 60s.

I never understood this because I never considered his writing science fiction. But even if I had, I would have taken it seriously, at least as serious as I can when I’m laughing out loud and being instructed by his biting but playful wit.

And so I come to Nnedi Okorafor’s 2014 nov
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carol.

"We are change," Ayodele calmly responded. "The sentiments were already there. I know nothing about those other things."

When I was young, I read every fantasy-like book I could lay hands on. Dragons, fairy tales, books about witches, Greek myths, folk tales, origin stories, 'just so' tales, you name it--if it wasn't real, I read it. By far my least favorite were the parables, particularly Aesop's Fables. The overt messaging and the general lack of a plot quickly led to waning interest.

Lagoon do
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Bradley
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Having been a fanboy of Anansi in the past, I loved seeing Anansi the storyteller being our narrator here.

As a SF, it was a fairly traditional first contact story dovetailing into a christ image into a deeper story about the building of a world and its stories. Confused? I'm just referring to bare-bones. Beyond that, I was enraptured in the immersion of Nigeria. It was spicy and exciting to me, even though I've read some good African stories in the past, I can rank this up there with them all, a
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
"There were aliens in the ocean, and they were going to come out soon."
How I love when I read a science fiction novel and it is full of elements I am not expecting! I had really enjoyed an earlier novel by Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death, which I think I was first prompted to read when it was on the shortlist for the Nebula Award in 2010. That year, it was my favorite novel in that category and I was surprised not to see it listed on my best books of the year. In retrospect I'd go back and add
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Chichi
Aug 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: african, sci-fi
Dear White People who read this book and thought it was awesome,
This is not Lagos.

This has been an appalling waste of time and the only reason I finished was so that this review could be written.
Now, maybe, just maybe this book would have received a 2-3star from me had it contained no dialogue whatsoever.
But it did.
Terrible dialogue.
Terrible dialogue masquerading as pidgin English.
Adding o at the end of a sentence does not make it pidgin. It makes your characters sound retarded.
'Na wao' every n
...more
Elizabeth
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Tthis is not your average first contact story. The aliens are just the beginning.

This is a blending of science fiction and fantasy and fairy tales and mythology and urban legends and media reporting and every other way that we tell stories. If you’ve ever read Angela Carter especially Nights at the Circus then imagine that but updated, moved to Nigeria, and with aliens. It’s uncanny and unsettling and makes you want to know more about Nigeria and Lagos and the rich world of stories that you mig
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Leah Bayer
Dec 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Have you ever felt guilty for disliking a book? While I was slugging through the first third of Lagoon, I legitimately felt bad for how much I hated it. I mean, I really should in theory be supporting female scifi writers. But like The Girl in the Road I could barely bring myself to finish this.

The plot is pretty simple: aliens arrive in Nigeria. That's... pretty much it. Aliens arrive, they pick 3 special people to work with their alien ambassador who wants to see the president. The entire book
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Arielle Walker
I really, really wanted to like this - it sounded so promising, and there was so much potential all the way through, I just couldn't deal with the awkward writing and weird pacing. Parts of this book were beautifully written - the prologue, for example, hinted at something fantastic to come, but for some reason most of the book read like a high-school english class fan-fiction. The plot and setting combination was original and different from a typical sci-fi, and it's so great to read sci-fi tha ...more
Kaora
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Everybody wants to leave Lagos. But nobody goes, she said. Lagos is in the blood. We run back to Lagos the moment we step out, even though we may have vowed never to come back. Lagos is Lagos. No city like it. Lagos is sweet.

The story opens in the waters of Lagos, from the perspective of one of the sea creatures as an object crashes into the sea. I was drawn to the sea creature aspect of this story so it immediately sucked me in.

There were aliens in the ocean, and they were going to come out soo
...more
Sarah
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Content warnings: (view spoiler)

Through no fault of the book- this took me a month to read (work is crazy right now!). But every time I picked it up again I found it hard to put down. I really love Okorafor’s style and how much of her heritage she includes in her books.

This one is no different and you wouldn’t really expect Mami Wata or Anansi to pop up in a
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Carly
I really wish I could say that I loved this book.
It started out so well. A mysterious sonic boom in Lagos, Nigeria? A rushing wave that swallows three strangers brought together by fear? An alien presence that has arrived upon the shore? I was hooked from the first page.
But all too soon, my enthusiasm had disintegrated.

I can't decide if the core of my issues with the book was the plot or the characters. Okorafor set up a diverse cast. I particularly appreciated the subplot involving Black Nexus
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Wanda
H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds meets Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, all taking place in modern Nigeria.

Speaking as someone who reads a fair bit of science fiction, Lagoon felt refreshingly original. Not that the theme of aliens coming to Earth is a new one—it’s actually very common. What was so welcome was that said aliens did not land in North America, but in Lagos harbour in Nigeria. Just that tweak, and the story becomes so much more interesting.

Okorafor’s familiarity with Nigeria is what
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Robyn
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
3.5 stars but not rounded up, as the book never quite coalesced for me. I think there were just too many things going on - characters with superpowers! Aliens! Nigerian folk tales! Commentary on Lagos politics and life! Eco-warriors! And so on. But it turned out I enjoyed the last third of the book quite a bit, and I always enjoyed the characters.
Acqua
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Lagoon is an afrofuturist first-contact novel set in Lagos, Nigeria, and it's as beautiful as it is messy.

Lagoon began as a response to the film District 9, in which Nigerians are heavily stereotyped. This novel, with its constant PoV switches, portrays a multifaceted, dynamic society without shying away from the negative aspects: Lagos is a multicultural city and the aliens chose it for its potential, but it's also a place of corruption, bigotry, religious fundamentalism and scammers.
It is, mor
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Book Riot Community
Two Okorafor novels in 2015 - we must have been good to deserve this! Lagoon is about humanity's first contact with alien life. Once word gets out that aliens are on Earth, everyone is trying to be the first to get their message out to the world, while the government decides if it should just wipe the visitors out. It's up to a rapper, a soldier and a biologist to keep both these things in check. This is wonderful fun, and about how I envision an alien visitation going.




Listen in to our weekly Al
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Zanna
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bechdel-pass
We are technology

Lagoon concerns the arrival of shapeshifting marine/water-loving aliens in the waters of Lagos. It’s made clear that the extraterrestrials deliberately selected Nigeria to enter the world they want to share with humans, though the exact reasons for this are at least partly left to the imagination. It’s also very clear that the newcomers are not colonists; they are immigrants, and although from their position of power they insist on being allowed to remain, they declare and enact
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Lindsay
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is hard to describe. It's an alien invasion novel, sure. But the world being invaded is Lagos, a city of 8 million people in Nigeria, which is a different sort of setting for this type of story. And this author's conception of it is steeped in something akin to a cross between magic realism and a superhero story.

Three individuals, a Nigerian marine biologist and mother, a Nigerian soldier and a Ghanian music star meet at the same time as the first huge sonic boom from the alien space c
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Sarah
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed a number of things about this first contact novel. Multiple perspectives don't always work for me, but here they added to the feeling that the city of Lagos is the main character. The overlapping structure, in which we see the same event from multiple viewpoints, was very effective. I loved being in the perspective of a swordfish, a bat, a road, a spider-storyteller. The monsters are great. I liked that Okorafor let characters speak pidgin English when that was accurate to the characte ...more
Ellie
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Three strangers on a beach; a marine biologist, a famous rapper and a soldier. Each has their own troubles but their world is about to change. A sonic boom hits the surface of the lagoon in Lagos and a wave swallows them up.

The narrative follows a collection of Nigerians in the wake of a life-changing event. Told mostly in third person, it occasionally veers into first person accounts from otherwise unknown characters. We hear the thoughts of the poorest to the most privileged, painting a pictur
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Nikki
Received to review via Bookbridgr

I’ve been meaning to pick Lagoon up ‘next’ for far too long, so hurrah, finally I have done so! I picked it up partway through New Year’s Eve, in fact, and finished it in one go: it’s a very lively, dynamic book, with various different points of view — including a swordfish who turns herself into a monster, the better to sabotage oil pipes on the sea bed. (It makes sense in context, I promise.) There’s a whole bunch of different people, people speaking Pidgin, LG
...more
K.J. Charles
Jan 29, 2017 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Fascinating if flawed. Bursting with invention and vividly written, with exuberant language fun. I found the story itself a bit inconclusive, as I did Binti, and I wonder if that's the author not having got a grip on her plotting or me not getting what she's actually up to, because in both cases I felt the book was more interested in the journey than the ending. Maybe that's the point, that any series of events are part of a flow and the beginning and end points are always going to be arbitrary. ...more
Sarah
Nov 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio
I strongly disliked the narration on the audiobook! I wasn't crazy about the story but I think it would have been okay at least. I'm torn between one and two stars because it irritated the hell out of me but I think that was the audio?
Joel
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
FULL REVIEW ON MY BLOG, TOTAL INABILITY TO CONNECT

It's certainly a relevant point to say that the SFF genre, as a whole, has a need for some diversity. We have no problem believing, accepting, and creating fanciful alternative worlds, continents, planets, the works - however, we always seem to create these in an caucasian-centric, Western-style world. Sure, Westeros, Elan, or any of the other magical worlds we know and love are interesting, unique, even extremely creative. But at the end of the
...more
Athena
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of African fiction
I was thrilled to find a science-fiction-with-some-fantasy book about a first contact in Africa featuring, gasp, actual black African characters! About damn time, said someone (well, me). Living in a western culture, of course most of what has been available for me to read has a western cultural bias but since it's the 21st century now publishers really need to start broadening their author lists: English is commonly spoken in many non-western countries - well done, Hodder & Stoughton!

Ok, en
...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In LAGOON, Nnedi Okorafor poses the question: what if first contact with aliens took place not in New York, London, or Tokyo, but the beach city of Lagos, Nigeria? The answer is something that is both utterly human and uniquely African. In addition to stunning detail of both city and marine life, Okorafor fills this novel with a dozen points of view, but rather than confusing the narrative, those sections allow the reader to experience all sides of the encounter that leads to some of Nigeria’s d ...more
fromcouchtomoon
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
More than just a First Contact story, Okorafor brings to life segments of Nigerian life, from the profiteering preacher to the LGBTQs, the Nigerian president to 419 student scammers, the American tourists to the crazy church lady. Hinging on a conflicted Ph.D., a disenchanted soldier, and a famous rapper, but powered by a Monster Highway and a story weaving Spider, the tale bogs down in the middle when it feels like it should end, but revives itself with new tongue-in-cheek energy that lampoons ...more
Gabi
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though the story of aliens landing on earth itself is nothing new, the way Nnedi Okorafor went about it, is refreshingly different.

The author combines the SF elements with social aspects and a deep spirituality, which already dragged me in in her novel "Binti". The implicitness with which nature is incorporated into her works speaks deeply to me. Okorafor again managed to engulf me. I simply love being in her world, and I'm already looking forward to the next of her novels I will pick up.
Kirsten #NeverAgainIsNow
File this book under there should be a movie! Maybe the creators of Black Panther could do it? Please!!

I really enjoyed this. Firstly, you get a great sense of Nigeria. The people, the superstitions, the folklore, the daily life. I loved that. Secondly, I loved the characters. Their backgrounds. Their strengths, their weaknesses. Thirdly, it is one of the most imaginative aliens come to earth stories I've ever read. (I would love a sequel!!)
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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
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“I am the unseen. For centuries I have been here, beneath this great city, this metropolis. I know your language. I know all languages. . . . My cave is broad and cool. The sun cannot send its heat down here. The damp soil is rich and fragrant. I turn softly on my back and place my eight legs to the cave ceiling. Then, I listen. I am the spider. I see sound. I feel taste. I hear touch. I spin this story. This is the story I’ve spun.” 8 likes
“Just because you are American does not make you American.” 6 likes
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