cover image Binti: The Night Masquerade

Binti: The Night Masquerade

Nnedi Okorafor., $14.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9313-5

Okorafor’s lively, dramatic third and final Binti far-future science fantasy novella (after Binti: Home) finds Binti, the young protagonist, struggling to integrate new perceptions from the recently awakened alien technology in her body. This is an inheritance from her father’s tribe, the Enyi Zinariya, that allows her to communicate across long distances, view historical events at the sites where they happened, and experience other similarly disorienting things. Binti has always identified with her mother’s people, the Himba, who see her father’s folk as uncultured barbarians. The Himba, however, are in danger of being caught up in an outbreak of war between the human Khoush tribe and the jellyfish-like alien Meduse. Only Binti, who happens to be bonded to a Meduse in a hive-mind symbiosis, can possibly blend the cultures, technologies, viewpoints, and interests of all these groups and attempt to bring about a lasting peace. Incident follows incident in a dizzying array, action is fraught with enough emotion for drama to become melodrama, and several key plot points are inadequately foreshadowed, but Binti’s powerful feelings of displacement, loss, grief, and joy make this entertaining narrative vivid, funny, and memorable. (Jan.)