“LAGOON is a thing of magic and beauty. It grips you, right from the opening lines, and sucks you into the deep waters of its mystery. The different currents of Okorafor’s creation cross, clash and splash curiosity: ‘What next?’ you breathe with expectation, thirsting for more. Nnedi Okorafor is a master storyteller.”
Okorafor’s aliens weave polyphonic beauty out of chaos.
Okorafor’s impressive inventiveness never flags
This sets the tone for what’s to come: spiky, evocative, with a slightly manic gleam in its eye, Okorafor’s narrative approaches its subject from unexpected angles. …All human life is here, in other words, in its endless variety and strangeness.
“Okorafor has a good sense to shake up convention. Alien species come to Lagos in the hopes of becoming Nigerian citizens because they find the country, with its fervent Christianity, Igbo masquerades, oil economy, 419 scammers, and brave gay rights activists, energizing and attractive.”
Chaotic, enthralling, and moving fluidly from character voices to oral-style narration to gut-punchingly beautiful prose, Lagoon is almost less a novel than an experience: Of free-diving, of night-flying, of being cocooned in a spider’s web.
Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor’s latest novel, is a swirling writhing cross section of life in Lagos, Nigeria as aliens make contact for the first time ever. It doesn’t go smoothly — a fact which allows Okorafor to bring to life a fascinating view of Lagos in all its contradictions.
The prose is tight, the dialogue sharp and there’s a satirical streak weaving through it (Nnedi brilliantly lampoons governmental corruption and inertia, for example). A cracking and often surprising story, terrific social commentary and great fun to read.
Lagoon is both socio-politically and environmentally aware, without ever letting go of the strong mythological narratives that form the core of Nigerian culture. Okorafor may be looking to the future for the city she loves, but she knows its strength lies in its ancient soul.
Okorafor’s skillful mingling of hard science-fiction with African fantasy creates an unusual and uplifting story.
Lagoon delivers a compelling narrative, characters with interesting pasts, presents and futures and intriguing alien technology and motivations…Its an epic story told in a measure, focused way, that coolly resists the temptation to sprawl.
Above all, the novel is a love letter to Lagos, even if Okorafor’s idiosyncratic method of expressing her love involves unleashing the destructive chaos of an alien invasion on the city.
-T. S. Miller, Strange Horizons
Lagoon is the most original novel (African or not) I have read in some time.
It’s like a party at China Mieville’s house.
Patriotic and ambiguous, all-embracing and proudly independent, with a sense that any single viewpoint might be as fictional as aliens turning up: Lagoon offers a clever swerve from science fiction’s usual tracks.
The fragmentary, multivoice narrative makes for an exacting but rewarding read, unique not only in its setting and sensibility but in its take on the well-worn staple of first contact.
Okorafor is one of the most creative, formally experimental SF/F writers working today, and here she takes plenty of risks… The blending of myth, social commentary, innovative storytelling, satirical bite, and pulp energy is unique, exciting, and very welcome. Reading it is like meeting an entire city, then watching it grow fins and swim away.
Lagoon establishes Okorafor as the inheritor of the mantle of Wole Soyinka, the celebrated Nigerian novelist whose themes center on the infinite beauty and destructive politics of his beloved country.
Books like these are some of the most dangerous that constant readers can encounter; they inevitably set the bar so high that very few, if any, books will ever reach that level after you’ve encountered them…This isn’t just science fiction doing what science fiction does best. This is speculative fiction living up to all of it’s rampant, unbridled potential, completely shattering the status quo and showing us something new, something different, something interesting, and ultimately? Something unforgettable.
Lagoon is a fantastic, brisk novel that carries with it an entirely different tone and feel than that of any other first-contact novel that I’ve ever read.
Full of dynamic, breathing characters built on a sentiment that rises above the bumps and bruises the country takes coming to terms with aliens in their waters, it is a prosaic, motherly, transcendent novel that really stands out in 2014.
Nnedi Okorafor’s third adult novel Lagoon is a high-minded sci-fi fantasy drama that replaces singular/univocality with the power of polyvocality: the practice that many points-of-view and ideas can coexist to shape and drive a narrative. Sure, our bookshelves and the academic canon celebrate the traditional gawds of polyvocality, Toni Morrison and William Faulkner, but Nnedi rides a giant wave all her own.