In her first collection of short fiction, she draws on the same combination of resources that have given her a unique voice — African trickster tales, post-apocalyptic scenarios, distant planets with societies influenced by Nigerian mythology, tales of young Americanized Nigerians confronting their ancestral culture in visits to Africa… There is playfulness and wonder in these tales, but also some sobering realities.
In this vibrant collection of speculative fiction, Okorafor proves yet again that she is among the 21st century’s most significant and noteworthy Science Fiction authors. The American-born author features her parents’ Nigerian homeland in many of her stories, casting a sympathetic but informed eye on that nation. With such oil-rich land, Nigeria’s mineral wealth continues to attract exploiters. Within these 20 stories we visit various takes on the future of Africa, many of which are equally as bleak as the past. Each story is as carefully crafted as the last; robots serving shadowy foreign interests find common cause with artists, women fall victim to their society’s brutally patriarchal order while others find less bitter fates, and assassins ponder the effects of their efforts to provoke reform. With a knack for dialogue and an ambitious imagination, Okorafor effortlessly blends original characters with fantastical elements into the vivid scenery of Africa to create stories worth reading again and again.
Okorafor’s genius has been to find the iconic images and traditions of African culture, mostly Nigerian and often Igbo, and tweak them just enough to become a seamless part of her vocabulary of fantastika…. An important collection by a writer to listen to.
I found the stories in Kabu Kabu occasionally provocative and always engaging. Their explorations of gender, culture, politics and community are sometimes fraught, but always stretch toward an understanding of personal and global contexts. It’s a collection that I’m glad to see published, and one that contributes to the field in a real and exciting way.
Nnedi Okorafor swept me away with the amazing Who Fears Death and, while very different from that novel, the short stories in Kabu-Kabu have cemented my appreciation for her as a writer… Okorafor shows the good and the bad, both exploitation and hope, strength and evil of the people. And she adds a healthy dose of magic to the mix.
Fans who are serious about broadening their sff horizons or who are always looking for something fresh and thought-provoking should undoubtedly be reading this.