A young girl known as “the adopted daughter of death” comes of age in the electrifying latest from Okorafor (Akata Witch). As a child, Sankofa discovers a mysterious, glowing green seed, which, before her father sells it to the government, gives her the power to take away life. Sankofa is initially unable to control this dangerous ability and accidentally kills her entire hometown, including her parents and brother. This tragedy sends her on a quest to understand her powers and recover the mystical seed from the government. Sankofa’s reputation precedes her as she moves through towns and villages of a near-future, technologically advanced Ghana. Protected by her supernatural powers, Sankofa is able to evade the dangers faced by young women traveling alone, allowing her to claim a level of agency and freedom that is usually limited to men. Following a common trend in Okorafor’s work, this imaginative, thought-provoking story uses elements of the fantastic to investigate the complexities of gender and community outside of a European, colonial imagination. Readers will be blown away. Agent: Donald Maas, Maass Literary. (Jan.)
"Riveting from its opening page... lyrical and compelling." Essence
"Once again the incomparable Nnedi Okorafor has written a thought-provoking and visionary tale of fantastic Black girl empowerment futurism." Ms. Magazine
"Episodic and organic, the story winds along with a limber rhythm that allows every rich detail of Sankofa's surreal world to surface. It's a cumulative narrative, a slow burn that builds in emotional urgency even as the scope of Okorafor's worldbuilding bursts into something breathtakingly vast." NPR
"Thrilling and surprising all the way through." The New Scientist
"Okorafor's star continues to blaze brightly." Shelf Awareness starred review
"[Okorafor] has a rare ability to open the reader's mind to various futures while creating complex characters and communities... A captivating world, a tragic tale, and a dangerous future." Kirkus
"I loved so many things about Okorafor’s book. The futuristic details have wit, energy and brilliance, but there is also genuine depth to the narrative: a serene, folktale-ish cadence that feels timeless." bookreporter
"As the winner of Nebula and Hugo awards, Okorafor has been embraced by the field, and in Remote Control she takes the acclaim and uses it in an assured manner to radically undermine the stories that the world tells to manifest its power." L.A. Review of Books
"A beautiful, sad, enthralling novella set in a futuristic Africa, Remote Control is a refreshing oasis of creativity... I implore you to discover this lovely, captivating story for yourself." BookPage
"Okorafor builds a stunning landscape of futuristic technology and African culture, with prose that will grab readers from the first sentence." Library Journal starred review
"This imaginative, thought-provoking story uses elements of the fantastic to investigate the complexities of gender and community outside of a European, colonial imagination. Readers will be blown away." Publishers Weekly starred review
"Full of emotional depth and resonance, this is beautiful." The Big Issue
"Narrator Adjoa Andoh captivates listeners with a stunning new sci-fi novella set in a near-future Ghana. Andoh is perfectly in tune with Okorafor's compelling story." AudioFile
"Bewitching." The Philadelphia Inquirer
More Praise for Nnedi Okorafor
"Nnedi Okorafor writes glorious futures and fabulous fantasies. Her worlds open your mind to new things, always rooted in the red clay of reality." Neil Gaiman
"The details of [Nnedi’s] world-buildingincluding Binti’s rich culture of origin, living spaceships, and maths that read almost like musicare complex and fascinating" Veronica Roth
"There's more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor's work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics." Ursula Le Guin
"Okorafor's writing is even more beautiful than I remember it being in Binti, evocative and sharply elegant in its economy." NPR on Binti: Home
Sankofa is on a journey, but where that leads not even she knows. When she was young and known as Fatima, she found happiness in her family and their shea nut tree farm. At five, she was gifted a special box and seed, much like one she had seen come from the sky a year before; at age six her father sold her box and seed to a mysterious corporation; at seven she met Death and lost everything else. Now Sankofa, deemed "Death's adopted daughter," searches for that which was taken from her, back when she knew who she was and where she belonged. She is in turn shunned and revered by the people she encounters, finding friendship with a strange fox she meets at the beginning of her journey. Okorafor (Binti) builds a stunning landscape of futuristic technology and African culture, with prose that will grab readers from the first sentence. Sankofa is at once innocent and experienced, facing a world forever changed for and by her. VERDICT This compelling novella is Afrofuturism sf at its best.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton
A young Ghanaian girl is forever changed when a delicate artifact falls from the sky and finds its way to her family’s shea tree farm.
The story begins with Sankofa, a young traveler who's feared by many—she is said to be the adopted daughter of death. Sankofa’s touch will kill, and she can wipe out an entire town with a single glance, but she was not always this way. Until the day the meteors fell and she gained this power to take life, she was Fatima, an ordinary and ever curious girl. After she loses everything, including her own name, she begins the journey to understand herself and the powers beyond her control. Aside from her furry companion, a fox named Movenpick, Sankofa must travel alone to reclaim the artifact given to her by the stars. Rich with West African culture and history, including the magical healing powers of shea butter, this book reads more like a folktale than science fiction, though it does include questions about the advancement of surveillance technology, the ever growing presence of American pharmaceutical giants, and the ways they might be connected. With this new novel, Okorafor’s career continues in the same vein as her previous Nebula– and Hugo Award–winning Binti novella trilogy; she has a rare ability to open the reader's mind to various futures while creating complex characters and communities. Though Sankofa's story is short, it's gripping, and readers will likely find themselves rooting for her to find peace.
A captivating world, a tragic tale, and a dangerous future. This story must go on.