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Remote Control

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  5,683 ratings  ·  1,086 reviews
The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor.

"She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own."

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is de
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by Tordotcom
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Douglas Beagley Remote Control is a nickname for the main character's unusual abilities.

What's great about this is that the nickname doesn't quite make sense, at lea…more
Remote Control is a nickname for the main character's unusual abilities.

What's great about this is that the nickname doesn't quite make sense, at least to many readers. Sure, a "remote control" is a small black box I use to turn a TV off, and she appears to be able to turn living things off, to bring death. However, that's not really what her powers seem to be about--and we first see people using that nickname when they just see her glowing green. So the nickname is just a bit weird.

I actually like this--when we give a nickname to something we don't really understand, or something we fear, the nickname often doesn't make sense. Or it makes sense, but only in a slanted, incomplete way. (less)
Tanya Patrice I would start with the Binti series - but that is probably considered YA (main character is a teenager) - so if you're not into, then start with the L…moreI would start with the Binti series - but that is probably considered YA (main character is a teenager) - so if you're not into, then start with the Lagoon and then Who Fears Death.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,683 ratings  ·  1,086 reviews

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May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It's May 10th and, yes, I've actually read this novella, so my review is honest. It's fantastic. ...more
Joel Rochester
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars, read-2021
"Later she would understand that it wasn't just a pain. It was a beginning. And this beginning annihilated all that came before it."

Remote Control is a beautiful tale of Afrofuturism, following Sankofa as she seeks to find the mysterious seed that bestowed upon her the power of death that follows her like a shadow. She is revered as the Adopted Daughter of Death, but she is also feared as many people do not understand the nature of Sankofa's power.

Nnedi Okorafor's writing is stunningly beaut
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
“Sankofa felt the town staring at her as she walked. It was hoping, wishing, praying that she would pass through, a wraith in the darkness.”

Once upon a time, in the near-future Ghana, little Fatima was a little girl who liked watching stars from the branches of her parents’ shea tree. Now she’s Sankofa, one of the new myths and legends, walking the roads from town to town, admired and feared because the legends portray her as Death’s adopted daughter. You see, she can emanate a strange green
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Nataliya
Shelves: afrofuturism
She wondered what story it would weave about her and how far the story would carry.

There’s something I really enjoy about novellas. It is like the poem version of a novel, stripping down to the bare necessities while still expanding voluminously in your mind. Nnedi Okorafor excels at this in Remote Control, leaving signposts that evince a much larger and sinister world at play while confining the story to a sharp and singular tale within it. An Aftrofuturist book set amidst the shea fields of
Thank you so much to for providing me a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own.

As the new year approached I made a silent commitment to myself to try out a little more science fiction this year. I'm not a stranger to the genre; however, I've always felt as though I could read more. When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance to read something new from Nnedi Okorafor. Although I've only read Binti and her children's picture book, I knew tha
What Star Trek GIF - What StarTrek Kirk GIFs

Who decided this was Science Fiction???

When I think of science fiction, I think of advanced technologies, aliens, spaceships, quantum physics, wormholes, and an unfortunate astronaut trying to survive when his crew abandons him on the surface of Mars.

Am I wrong for expecting at least one of those things in a book that's purportedly science fiction?

Maybe. So I Googled "definition of science fiction" and the first thing it gave me, from Oxford Languages, is this: "fiction based on imagined future
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sankofa is given a dangerous gift that isolates her from her community. It also makes her a mystery to the drones who can't figure her out enough to include her in their surveillance. Set in near-future Ghana with possible aliens, this is Nnedi Okorafor's newest work and a interesting take on African Futurism. I heard it might tie to Who Fears Death but it's been ten years since I read that.

It reminds me of the emotional tone of The Obelisk Gate where you have this person who has supernatural ab
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Remote Control may not be genre-busting in the scifi department but the protagonist and story immediately came to stunning life as soon as it began.
Full review to come on my YouTube channel:
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars
This was a unique piece of African futurism that read more like a folktale, than science fiction. The young girl was a likeable character with a sympathetic backstory. My favourite aspect of the narrative was learning how others reacted to her abilities, both fearing and worshipping her.

Overall, this novella had a compelling premise, but I was not completely immersed in the story itself.  I would recommend this one to readers who love myths and folktales. Personally, my reading tastes l
Monica **can't read fast enough**
One of the things that I appreciate about Okorafor's writing is her ability to completely and quickly immerse me into her stories and characters which is why she is among a handful of authors whose novellas I can count on to be satisfying. Remote Control explores how a really young girl comes to know and accept unexplained powers and the fear and reverence it brings when she doesn't understand it herself. I'm a fan of characters taking a literal and/or emotional journey in order to figure out th ...more
Claude's Bookzone
CW: (view spoiler)

Well that was a remarkable and thought provoking fable-like story.

Nnedi pulled me in instantly with a character that needed love and community, but received only fear and ostracization. There are so many interesting ideas that are explored in this novella. It is human nature to seek comfort with others and this was the most emotional theme for me. Stories where young children are alone, confu
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

3 ½ stars

“Fear of death is a powerful weapon.”

Remote Control is Afrofuturism at its best. Nnedi Okorafor seamlessly blends folklore elements and aesthetics with sci-fi ones, delivering a unique and intriguing piece of speculative fiction. Set in Ghana, Remote Control opens in medias res: the appearance of Sankofa, a fourteen-year girl, and her companion, a fox, sends the residents of a town into hiding. They shout her name and the following: “Beware of
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This cover is literally one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. WOW.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-tbr
I went into this not knowing it was a novella so that’s my bad. After reading reviews I guess this is more of an African folktale so within that genre I suppose it works?

I just don’t know what the point of everything was. Was there a purpose to her powers? Why were there nods to an evil corporation that then did nothing for the story? Why was the fox there? What was learned in the end?

An interesting premise but this did nothing for me. Almost kind of felt like a not-fully-fleshed-out prequel to
Scottsdale Public Library
Transcendent, stunning, devastating.
I've had a lump rising and resting in my throat since I began reading Fatima's journey. My heart is still tender and overwhelmed and so very full from this devastatingly beautiful allegory of self-destruction, awareness and compassion. The feels! I loved it. -Sara S.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nnedi Okorafor never fails to amaze me with her storytelling, wordbuilding, and characters. Remote Control is a small novella, but it packs a punch and will stay with you for a long time.

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review
Thistle & Verse
What's it like to grow up as the most powerful person you know? Sankofa's powers elicit fear, which isolates her and gives her the leverage to demand most of the things she wants. What's it like to confront the one entity who could harm you?

For full review, watch here:
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

There are not many books that can pull off African folklore mixed with sci-fi and this one did it admirably.

I tried Binti a while ago and could never get past chapter 1 but as with most authors I am always willing to give them a 2nd chance.

This is Ghana, set in the future but with its feet firmly planted in the old ways. A Ghana filled with high tech drones, robots and the study of aliens, juxtaposed against the loud, organized chaos of African markets, culture and local cuisine.

This is
Toya (the reading chemist)
Don’t be fooled by this novella. Okorafor brilliantly delivers a story about a young girl (Sankofa) gifted with the ability to execute people upon will in this africanfutristic Ghanaian setting.

Sankofa navigates a life of grief, fear, death, and freedom as she comes to terms with her unusual abilities and its source.

This book will make you question what is both power and control. Furthermore, you’re left wondering if killing another is ever justified and the morality surrounding such an act.

Shivvani Rao (Carrot)
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
This one reined me in as soon as I started it. The mood was so eerie and uncanny. I had to know what happened to Sankofa. I wanted all the answers, fast.
It’s my first book with an African place as the backdrop. It was cool to see the native food (yes, I googled all of them and they look so tasty!).
I loved Sankofa’s journey. Her maturity. Her strength. I loved her time in Robotown the most, though I sensed the foreboding.
The ending was good enough but it left me... unsatisfied. I wanted more plo
h o l l i s
I think it's official. Sadly, Okorafor's books are not for me. I always get drawn in by her plots, the concepts, but then never seem to enjoy myself. And REMOTE CONTROL is another example of that. I was so keen for this based on the pitch but it was just.. fine.

Probably won't pick her up again but at least I tried.
This novella challenges your preconceptions. Is it science fiction as advertised or fantasy? Well, I’d say both. Okorafor juxtaposes an ‘old’ world full of traditions and superstitions with a modern, even futuristic, one where you find advanced technology and the possibility of alien life. At first, this perplexed me, throwing me off my reading, but soon I enjoyed it and wondered where the author would take me.

Fatima/Sankofa is a great character, very charming in her naivety, and who reminded m
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-read, novella
A very satisfying and fully immersive tale, this science fantasy story is told with the resonance of Myth. What's unexpected is that a story about death, and the loss that inevitably surrounds it, could ultimately be uplifting. ...more
Kristina (heartsfullofreads)
When I read the description for this novella I was really intrigued. The adopted daughter of death in a futuristic Ghana was a really cool concept with lots of potential. Unfortunately, it just wasn't quite what I was hoping for. The writing was fine but the plot just kind of fell flat for me. I also wasn't expecting the protagonist to be quite so young. If you are a fan of the author or enjoy sci-fi I would say give it a try. It's a really short read and definitely unique. ...more
Chidimma Desiree
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The way Okorafor creates a stunning story with intricate world building and character development in under 100 pages never ceases to amaze me. This got me out of my mini reading slump and it was definitely due to how quick I read it because of the short page length but also wonderful storytelling.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sankofa. Her name strikes fear into each town she visits. Rumors about her fly. She is the adopted child of the Angel of Death, the destroyer of technology, a remedy of suffering, an agent of chaos, and wanderer, a loner, an indestructible glowing force of nature in search of something that she'll never find.

It is a hard life for a pre-pubescent girl.

Remote Control is an origin story about how a seven-year-old girl--a lover of nature, animals, and the world around her--is given a gift from the h
Rod Brown
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021-real-books
Don't make Sankofa angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry: she turns green, shit goes down, and before long she’s walking down the road on her own with no set destination except a desire to get control over her situation.

Wait, why does that sound familiar?

If there was a point to this beyond the obvious homage, it was lost on me. Otherwise it is just a slow and meandering walk around Ghana.
Elizabeth Turnbull
Sankofa has been bestowed with a terrible gift, relegating her to a life of solitude, wandering through Ghana eliciting fear with every step. The adopted daughter of death, she glows green and can kill with a single look.

I read Binti by the author last year and quite enjoyed it, and was looking forward to dipping my toe in Okorafor's flavour of Afrofuturism yet again! For those uninitiated, Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that explores the d
Fatima/Sankofa is a wonderful character, full of energy and a sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, after gaining a strange power that allows her to kill everything around her, as well as render electrical devices inert, she finds herself wandering Ghana on foot, meeting a succession of people both kind and fearful, trying her best not to hurt others except for mosquitoes and the occasional person wanting to be released from life.
The story has great scenes full of difficult decisions, along w
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Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based project ...more

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