I have had this book, and its two sequels, on my to-read list for a long while now. I recall seeing it on Martha and Chookie's door bench and commenting that I wanted to read it. Martha was enthusiastic about it, as was Sonja, resulting in my increased anticipation for reading it.
In Binti, we have the introduction of a girl / teen / young woman making a choice between what her society and family wants and expects her to be, and who she wants to become. She made a choice (decided to go to university), decided to start down the path to a life she chose, only to be sideswiped by circumstances so far outside of her control and history and experience that even her survival would be legend.
That the story takes place in outer space, that we have many many races as a stand-in for the human race in its prejudices and biases and faults and triumphs, makes the lessons slightly easier to digest for a younger person. That the story takes place in outer space makes it more delightful for an older reader.
The book is a fast read, maybe an hour. The shortness doesn't make it any less worthwhile. The book is definitely worth reading.
The shuttle began to move and I stared until I couldn’t see it anymore. “What am I doing?” I whispered.
My father didn’t believe in war. He said war was evil, but if it came he would revel in it like sand in a storm. Then he’d say a little prayer to the Seven to keep war away and then another prayer to seal his words.
Those women talked about me, the men probably did too. But none of them knew what I had, where I was going, who I was. Let them gossip and judge. Thankfully, they knew not to touch my hair again. I don’t like war either.
So me being the only one on the ship was not that surprising. However, just because something isn’t surprising doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with.
Imagine what it meant to go there as one of that 5 percent; to be with others obsessed with knowledge, creation, and discovery.
But deep down inside me, I wanted . . . I needed it. I couldn’t help but act on it. The urge was so strong that it was mathematical.
I’d read that Meduse could not move through walls, but even I knew that just because information was in a book didn’t make it true.
I wanted to ask, “Why did you let this happen?” but that was blasphemy. You never ask why. It was not a question for you to ask.
They say that when faced with a fight you cannot win, you can never predict what you will do next. But I’d always known I’d fight until I was killed. It was an abomination to commit suicide or to give up your life. I was sure that I was ready.
The chefs on the ship fed these fish well and allowed them to grow strong and mate copiously. Then they lulled the fish into a sleep that the fish never woke from and slow cooked their flesh long enough for flavor and short enough to maintain texture.
I paused. “Like my mother always says, ‘we all wish for many things,’” I said,
The first thing I noticed was the smell and weight of the air when I walked off the ship. It smelled jungly, green, heavy with leaves. The air was full of water.
Several of the human professors looked at each other and chuckled. One of the large insectile people clicked its mandibles. I frowned, flaring my nostrils. It was the first time I’d received treatment similar to the way my people were treated on Earth by the Khoush. In a way, this set me at ease. People were people, everywhere. These professors were just like anyone else.