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Binti (Binti #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  19,460 Ratings  ·  3,294 Reviews
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is will
ebook, 96 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by
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Leah Rachel There is some very graphic violence. I personally don't believe in limiting what teens read, from my own experience—if your teen is mature, they'll be…moreThere is some very graphic violence. I personally don't believe in limiting what teens read, from my own experience—if your teen is mature, they'll be fine. When I was a teen I read many things my parents wouldn't have approved of and it gave me a better understanding of consent, race, violence, and mental illness than I ever could have gained sticking to the books of my age group. This is a fantastic, diverse read that I highly recommend, and while the violence is bloody, it's nothing your teen hasn't seen before in a movie, and it's dealt with much better here by dealing with openness to other races, the reasons behind war, and more.(less)
Alex Can Read It has just been announced that there will be two more in the series.

Community Reviews

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May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
WINNER!!! 2015 nebula for best novella!! shows what i know!
and now hugo winner, too!
i cannot be trusted to speak about books! i know nothing!

having been gleefully freeloading off the free tor shorts for years now, i absolutely want to support tor in their "buy some novellas, cheapskate"* endeavor, especially since the first one i read - Every Heart a Doorway - was one of the best things i have ever read ever. but even though Binti won/was nominated for a billion awards, it was only medium-enjoy
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
I enjoyed the novella's grounding in cultural differences and the twist of a strong math "Harmonizer" tech, and while I also appreciate the fundamental message of acceptance, I had a really hard time with the message's the execution here.

Don't get me wrong, the writing was good and I loved the firm opening leading to a great horror tale set in a well-imagined SF universe, complete with a reverse fish-out-of-water twist.

It's what happened afterward that I take umbrage.

I like tales of acceptance.
Lola  Reviewer
I expected darkness to envelop me as I read this, but instead, I was introduced to a world that, as unwelcoming as it may seem, does actually understand human and alien suffering and is open to creating alliances with presumed enemies.

Binti is gifted – so gifted that she was accepted to the Oomza University, the first of her community to study there. From the moment she steps foot outside of her home, she realizes how unwelcome and misunderstood her group (the Himba people) is.

But she doesn’t l
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi alien encounter fans
Binti is a curious little novella by Okorafor, an author who has been my radar for bringing winds of Africa into science fiction and fantasy, and it does not disappoint. A sixteen-year old woman of the Himba tribe has been accepted into the prestigious Oomza University on a mathematics scholarship. The trouble is, “we Himba don’t travel. We stay put. Our ancestral land is life; move away from it and you diminish. We even cover our bodies with it… Here, in the launch port… I was an outsider; I wa ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I like originality and I also like a story told economically and writer Nnedi Okorafor gets my high praise in both categories for her 2015 novella Binti.

Okorafor has created in Binti a speculative fiction gem where a reader is led along a culturally alien yet approachable thrill ride. At once fascinating and hair raising, Okorafor has crafted a dynamic tension that grips the reader throughout this short work.

Binti is a student who has been accepted into a far future academy and chooses to attend
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is... cute, I guess. Imaginative. Fresh. But yet lacking so much of what makes a cohesive seamless narrative that I am indeed surprised to see that it won the Nebula Award.

I hate to call this one childish for the one reason: good stories aimed at the youngsters should possess the wonderful level of imagination and complexity. And this one has all the foundations, so wonderfully laid out in its strong beginning, promising the strangeness of mathematical reasoning weaved together with the tr
Aneela ♒the_mystique_reader♒

I previously rated this book 4 stars but now that I think of it, its not worth 4 stars so I am removing 1 star.

Binti is a Himba. She lives in a city and crafts astrolabes with her father. She got selected for the Oomza University that is on another planet. She is the first one to be selected from her tribe as well as her city. Her family is against her going to the university so she flee to the town in the dark of night. On her way to the other planet, their spaceship got attacked by the aliens.
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favourites, 2018
14/01/18 -
Still love this so much!

21/01/17 -
I loved this! What an intriguing first installment!
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nnedi Okorafor's Binti is a beautifully written and engaging science fiction tale which, despite its length, has the feel of an epic. In the story, Binti leaves her tribe in Namibia to go off-planet to study at the Oomza Uni. Binti's people are obsessed with knowledge; however, they do not travel; they stay on their original homelands on Earth. Binti, bringing her people's culture with her into the galaxy, will prove to be a notable exception. Before they make it to Oomza Uni, though, their ship ...more
Binti is a beautiful Sci-Fi story about a girl who leaves her family and their dreams for her behind, because she has much bigger dreams for herself.

“We prefer to explore the universe by traveling inward, as opposed to outward.”

This novella received quite a bit of hype at the end of last year, and I've been meaning to read it since it released, but after winning a Nebula and a Hugo I knew I couldn't let 2016 go by without reading it. Plus, look at that cover. I mean, it's honestly to die fo
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3ish stars.

This is a 90-something page novella that tries to pack so much in that it ends up reading like the SparkNotes of a full novel.

The worldbuilding is very cool. I especially like the idea of an organic animal-type spacecraft. And Binti's culture (which, upon reading the afterword, I found to be based on an actual group of people in Namibia) is awesome. It'd be cool to see more of this universe (the Oomzi University especially) and its various inhabitants, but that's not my main issue w
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
“But deep down inside me, I wanted . . . I needed it. I couldn’t help but act on it. The urge was so strong that it was mathematical.”
― Nnedi Okorafor, Binti

I can't believe this won a Hugo and a Nebula award !! Apparently this is supposed to be a science fiction novella, offering a protagonist from an African background who is a genius at mathematics and who leaves her tribe to go to Oomza university on another planet. Unfortunately i found this book to be tiring and boring, the writing bland !
I don't get the hype. Yes, culturally diverse - I like the main character and her background, but as an actual science fiction work, it's very weak.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

When first announced their line-up of novellas for 2015, Binti was probably one of the top three I was most excited about. Now I have to wonder if I went overboard and hyped myself up too much, because it turned out that I did not fall in love with this book like I had hoped I would. Now don’t get me wrong, because I enjoyed Binti. It’s a sweet little novella that captivated me and left me wanting more. Still, why
Althea Ann
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Read as part of the Hugo Voters' Packet.

Enjoyable YA space adventure with an engaging protagonist.
In this future, the Himba tribe of Namibia are an insular minority, looked down upon by the majority Khoush although the Himba have become specialized experts in math and 'harmonizing,' producing "astrolabes" (which seem to be the future's smartphones). Teenage Binti's skills have won her a coveted scholarship to an intergalactic university, but to her family, it is unthinkable that she would be pe
Jean Menzies
Review originally published on my blog: https://morejeansthoughts.wordpress.c...

This book blew me away with the emotional impact it was able to have in less than one hundred pages. A novella as opposed to a full-length novel this book is the first in a series, of which two more are already available (and I’m half way through number two). It follows our protagonist Binti, a member of the Himba people who are one of multiple cultures that live on Earth. The Himba tend to remain in their own commun
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was amazing! I need more.
The way that Nnedi constructed this world so beautifully in so few pages. I was hooked right away and can't wait to see what the next part brings
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This was one of the most creative books I've read in a while!
Very interesting concepts but I wanted more... will definitely pick up the next one when it's out!
Bentley ★
I expected more from this. There's some important themes about acceptance and colonialism addressed in here, for sure, but the execution is what I found most lacking.

As a novella, it works in that there's a clear beginning, middle and end. There's certainly plot movement as Binti leaves her homeland for an entirely new world and the prospect of education - an opportunity never given to the children of her people. The strongest part of the novel is certainly the beginning, as Binti's cultural he
Matthew Quann
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ten things to enjoy in Hugo & Nebula Award-winning Binti:

1) A sci-fi tale that begins in the refreshingly unique setting of Namibia and ends at a space university.

2) An endearing, strong, black, female lead.

3) A living, organic spaceship.

4) Violence and combat, but staged in such a way that they never seem like reasonable solutions, only possible ones.

5) Jellyfish-like, Lovecraftian antagonists.

6) An immersive, entertaining story that can be enjoyed over a cup of coffee (or, maybe, two).

Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great novela by the author of Who Fears Death, Binti tells the story of a brilliant, brave young girl who risks everything to go to college, including her family, home and even her life.
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ioana by: Bina
*⌈the ceiling function rounds up to the nearest integer⌉

How I wish I had been reading books like Binti growing up instead of Nancy Drew ! While the latter firmly serves to reinforce all stereotypes known to humanity (blonde = beautiful perfection; brunette = chubby side-kick; non-white = ….. [non-existent]; materialism = rah, rah! etc and so on)- Binti unapologetically forges her own path, seeks her own meaning, explodes structural barriers sustained by history for generations: she is,
Thomas Wagner
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Those of you who know me know how ridiculously hard it is to get a 5-star rating out of me. But this is master-class SF storytelling. Some novellas you read and think, "I wish this had been a novel." Some you read and think, "It's a bloated short story." Binti is quite possibly as close to perfect as it could have been, at its exact length. Full-length review coming.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Like all of Okorafor's work, Binti is full of imagination, fantastic worldbuilding, and layer upon layer of cultural development and conflict. Binti herself is a 16-year-old harmonizer, a gifted, courageous girl and the first of her people to leave the planet. She faces alienation and racism and loneliness, but she's determined to grow and learn. She's on her way to study at Oomza Uni when her ship is attacked by the Meduse, a violent, jellyfish-like race with a vendetta against humanity.

Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
“To them, I was probably like one of the people who lived in caves deep in the hinter desert who were so blackened by the sun that they looked like walking shadows.”

Nnedi Okorafor is the first author mentioned in the article Octavia's Daughters: Meet the New Queens of Spec Fic along with the super talented N.K. Jemisin and a few others I have not read yet. Being considered a literary descendant of the legendary Octavia Butler is something to be proud of, though to be considered great without
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Terrific little read that left me wanting more.

Binti is a Himba, a people in Africa that wear a layer of oily ochre of a special formulation all over themselves and who rarely leave their homelands. This novella follows the young girl as she leaves to go to a prestigious off-world university and the challenges she faces along the way.

There's a lot that's fiercely strange about this story. The technology all seems to be bio-organic and advanced mathematics. The term "astrolabe" is used for a gene
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Loved the world building but found the story a bit odd.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
David Schaafsma
I am a friend of the author, and I have read other works by her and will read more, including her new run of Black Panther. I am trying to decide which if her YA-focused books I will use for my fall YA course. I am not a huge fantasy reader, but you know, this first volume of a three volume series was winner of the 2016 Hugo Award and the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novella, so it seems like a pretty good place to continue my reading. And I liked it a lot.

Binti is the first of the Himba people to
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi lovers
I liked Binti. I usually am not drawn to reading sic-fi novels. I prefer watching them as movies. This one had a lot of societal commentary, which made it a full short 96 page novel. More story would be better and I'm anxious to get to part 2 to see if that will make me up the rating. I'll try to do a more complex review once I've read Home.
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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
More about Nnedi Okorafor

Other books in the series

Binti (3 books)
  • Home (Binti, #2)
  • The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)

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“We prefer to explore the universe by traveling inward, as opposed to outward.” 11 likes
“However, just because something isn’t surprising doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with.” 10 likes
More quotes…