Confession: I’m not a sci-fi fan. A sci-fi television show or movie has to be really good to win me as a watcher, but even then there’s no guarantee. The original Heroes, now off-the-air Lost and current blockbuster Game of Thrones were well into their second or third seasons before I jumped on board.
I caved to peer pressure and watched Star Wars for the first time in December…2015. My company sponsored an office outing to see Episode VII a few weeks after its release. Not wanting to be left out, or lost, I agreed to borrow my co-worker’s box set to prepare. I used several hours of my Christmas vacation to watch the original three movies with my eighteen year old goddaughter in her mother’s finished basement, but couldn’t get into Episode I.
Binti is a novella less than 100 pages, but took me three days to read. Binti, the main character has snuck off, leaving behind her family and home planet to attend Oomza University, in another galaxy. En route and onboard the ship Binti encounters other alien races; however, she is the only one of her kind. A skilled mathematician and harmonizer, Binti must use her skills not only to get herself out of a sticky situation with the Meduse, a violent set, but to ensure her survival onboard the ship and when she arrives at their final destination.
In the days it takes for Binti to travel from her home planet to another, she also embarks on a personal one. Leaving home means that she has cut ties with her family, but she fiercely clings to the culture and customs with which she was raised. The novella is a strong and empowering story, one that is beneficial for young girls, black girls in particular, to read. Although the story has different life forms as characters, Binti is a strong, independent dark-skinned brown girl who wears her natural hair in plaits and brushes off the stares and questions about her appearance.
Binti would not have been my first choice to read (it was a book club selection), but I’m happy to have veered out of my norm of memoirs and fiction, if only for 90 pages.