Hardcover, 224 pages

Published Nov. 9, 2021 by DAW.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.

Once on the run, she meets a Fulani …

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Personal Trauma, dystopia, but also optimism and warmth.

4 stars

At points this book reminded me strongly of certain influential works of speculative fiction, most notably Murderbot (corporate surveillance dystopia, cyborgs are people too) and Neuromancer (cyberspace, hacking as a kind of magical system). On the other hand, Okorafor writes confidently from the point of view of young Nigerian woman in the near future.

For me the warmth comes from the details of daily life in (roughly contemporary) Nigeria. On the other hand I don't have much of a reference point other than other books by the same author.

The book is, and is-not "hard" science fiction. It relies (mainly) on technology for setting and plot devices, but doesn't spend a lot of time on the technical details, and in one or two places might be jarring for the nerdier reader.

Content warnings: occasional violence, some body trauma. The moderate amount of sexual content is thankfully unrelated to the violence.

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