Short Story Review: “Asunder” by Nnedi Okorafor

4 of 5 stars.

This short, interesting “love story” [as defined by the author] emerges from the remnants of a scrapped novel. I would label the tale, a modern folk tale. The quizzical use of the second-person POV is explained by the tale’s relationship to the characters of the discarded novel.

A boy and girl meet and instantly fall in love, a very true love. Six years later, they marry–never leaving each other’s side. They consider themselves One. Everybody considers them One. Even their families note the loss of their respective children for the sake of this One-ness. The two spend so much time so close to each other that they grow together literally with their hair weaving together into inseparable locks.

It takes the couple 4 more years to consummate the marriage and they only grow closer yet. Until, she becomes pregnant. . .

I really like that this tale turns the normal theme of a child representing the one-ness of a couple on its head by being the divider. It’s the unevenness of pregnancy that shows there was never One-ness to begin with–it was all well-meaning illusion. The couple must be separated [from their common locks] to redefine their love.

In short, the tale is lovely.

This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books.
 
 
 
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Novel Review: Hell Dancer by Wol-vriey

Hell DancerHell Dancer by Wol-vriey
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This novel is thinly plotted Torture Porn. All scenes involve either torture/ graphic murder, graphic sex of various kinky varieties, urination, defecation or a combination of any and all of these.

Most of the characters manage to be porn stars or serial killers, all of whom have sexually degrading episodes from their past that get used to fill the pages between almost plot-relevant scenes of equally degrading torture porn. The few other characters are not left likable either in that they have no backstory or development or no redeeming qualities. One’s meant to like the police officer who apparently thinks it was okay to punish her husband for masturbating by anally raping him with a nightstick in a non-consensual way. This, described graphically multiplied by all scenes of the book = Hell Dancer.

Lovecraftian elements are window dressing, ultimately not building any true sense of a multi-dimensional world of horror.

I received my copy of this novel directly from the author through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
 
 
 
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Short Story Review: “The Baboon War” by Nnedi Okorafor

3 of 5 stars.

This tale plays out like a modern folk tale without an ending nor explanation.

The narrator, while busy helping her father with the family’s fishing business, has largely neglected the comings and goings of her younger school-aged sister. One day, her sister arrives home battered, bleeding and beaming.

The younger sister’s tale emerges of her personal 10-day war with a troop of baboons in the forest blocking her directest route to school. Supernatural overtones exist in the presence of the girl’s homemade bracelet created from found bells, unexplained rainbursts, and the baboons’ presentation of a throbbing enigmatic idol after 10 days of hostilities.

This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books.
 
 
 
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Short Story Review: “Bakasi Man” by Nnedi Okorafor

3 of 5 stars.

A mere vignette or kernel to a larger untold story, this tale employs fictional realism to describe an assassination of the title character, Bakasi. Bakasi, a hunch-backed dictator, pits his majority tribe against the minority tribe to whom he assigns all of the social ills. It’s a tale that’s played out repeatedly in post-colonial Africa.

The narrator is one of a team of 5 members of the minority Agwe people that set out to remove the head of the political hydra. Unfortunately, the tale does not develop beyond the actions of the hour of the assassination nor more deeply into the minds and motivations of any of the characters.

This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books.
 
 
 
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Short Story Review: “Windseekers” by Nnedi Okorafor

2 of 5 stars.

This airy tale fails to solidify its plot. A woman with the extraordinary ability to fly travels the world eventually finding the mythic land of Ginen which reminds her of her native West Africa. She also finds her equal, her potential soul mate.

But they are also alike in not wanting to be paired off, so she kills him before he will kill her. This is not a spoiler, it’s practically the opening line–She didn’t want to kill him the second time.

A potentially rich mythic tapestry remains unexplored and unrevealed here giving the reader nothing to hold on to, and nobody to relate.

This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books. It was previously a Writer’s of the Future finalist.
 
 
 
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Novel Review: The Black Hole by Michael Robertson

The Black Hole (The Shadow Order #1)The Black Hole by Michael Robertson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Filtered through the lens of a selfish, short sighted man-child, the world-building for this series fails to engage. This, despite the great world-building provided by a precursor short story to this world called “The Arena” which accomplished much and to great effect.

Seb Zobo is a self-absorbed fighter by nature with the remarkable–if not superhero–ability to slo-mo his perception of time and to spot the ultimate weaknesses in any challenger’s body. It doesn’t matter if he’s never met a species of alien before, he can discern the one spot that will bring them down with a single punch. Conveniently, every species of alien has that one spot. Nearly every species is also taller than humans, smells of feces and has bad breath.

The redundancy of every encounter is taxing. And the plot, while driven, doesn’t satisfy or grow the hero to a likable level.

The strength of “The Arena” is utterly missing here. All other series by this author are recommended over this galactic tale. I’ve previously reviewed this author’s:
The Alpha Plague–5 stars
The Alpha Plague 2–4 stars
The Alpha Plague 3–5 stars
The Alpha Plague 4–4 stars
“The Arena”–5 stars
Crash (Crash, #1)–4 stars
New Reality: Truth (New Reality, #1)–3 stars
New Reality 2: Justice (New Reality, #2)–4 stars
New Reality 3: Fear (New Reality, #3)–3 stars
 
 
 
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Short Story Review: “The Popular Mechanic” by Nnedi Okorafor

2 of 5 stars.

This is a tale of greed and exploitation pitting the overreach of American materialism against Nigerian desperation.

American companies are stripping Nigeria of oil without benefit to the people affected by the pipelines and environmental damage. The locals cannot even afford gasoline for themselves. When pipelines leak, the locals swarm to collect what they can for their use or for resale. But pipeline leaks also lead to health problems and combustion disasters. One such conflagration claims the right arm of the narrator’s mechanic father.

In a speculative twist, this short tale has American scientists also exploiting Nigerians by testing experimental medical procedures. The one-armed father undergoes one such test by allowing the Americans to give him a new, bionic arm to replace the one he lost.

This tale appears in Okorafor’s anthology, Kabu Kabu by Prime Books.
 
 
 
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