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The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor. "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is de The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor. "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks--alone, except for her fox companion--searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?


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The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor. "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is de The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor. "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks--alone, except for her fox companion--searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

30 review for Remote Control

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nnedi

    It's May 10th and, yes, I've actually read this novella, so my review is honest. It's fantastic. It's May 10th and, yes, I've actually read this novella, so my review is honest. It's fantastic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    “Sankofa felt the town staring at her as she walked. It was hoping, wishing, praying that she would pass through, a wraith in the darkness.” Once upon a time, in the near-future Ghana, little Fatima was a little girl who liked watching stars from the branches of her parents’ shea tree. Now she’s Sankofa, one of the new myths and legends, walking the roads from town to town, admired and feared because the legends portray her as Death’s adopted daughter. You see, she can emanate a strange green “Sankofa felt the town staring at her as she walked. It was hoping, wishing, praying that she would pass through, a wraith in the darkness.” Once upon a time, in the near-future Ghana, little Fatima was a little girl who liked watching stars from the branches of her parents’ shea tree. Now she’s Sankofa, one of the new myths and legends, walking the roads from town to town, admired and feared because the legends portray her as Death’s adopted daughter. You see, she can emanate a strange green light that will take the life of those who happen to be in her path if they cross her. And it all started with a strange seed that came from the sky with the meteor shower. It’s a mesmerizing internally-focused quiet novella blending folk tale and magical realism and just a hint of science-fictional happenings deep under its roots. It does not have a defined streamlined plot but instead is almost episodic, weaving itself along with Sankofa’s slow journey, slowly building up to something more, something that we just glimpse in the end. “She’d broken the bird just as she’d broken her family and her entire hometown.” At its heart, is the exploration of grief, trauma, facing your past, search for normalcy and belonging in decidedly abnormal circumstances. And it’s a story of a young girl growing up and coming to terms with herself. And it also is a story of betrayals, because the world is full of them, big and small. “It is me,” she called. “Death has come to visit.” In Okorafor’s world Sankofa walks the boundary between modern life and folk tales, the interplay between organic and technological. This is the place where drones and self-driving cars and hashtags and “jelli-telli” coexist with religion and legends and mud huts and shea tree farms. There are robocops and foxes. There are stories of Daughter of Death and sure signs of pervasive corporate reach. There is the age-old coexistence of fear and admiration when others meet the girl with the deadly green glow — the combination action out of which legends are born. All while Sankofa is on the quest that takes her to unexpected places — but also, like the sankofa bird suggests, back to the roots - literal and metaphorical. “Go back and get it.” “And this time, she did it on purpose.” I wonder if Okorafor plans to continue this story, given the buildup to the open ending, the stronger hints of science fiction by the end. I’ll be thrilled if she does, but if she chooses to leave this story as is, the ambiguous notes in the ending are strong enough to not need conventional resolution. It’s a novella, and brevity is the key, even if you really long for further developments and firmer resolutions. 4 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    Thank you so much to Tor.com for providing me a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own. As the new year approached I made a silent commitment to myself to try out a little more science fiction this year. I'm not a stranger to the genre; however, I've always felt as though I could read more. When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance to read something new from Nnedi Okorafor. Although I've only read Binti and her children's picture book, I knew tha Thank you so much to Tor.com for providing me a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own. As the new year approached I made a silent commitment to myself to try out a little more science fiction this year. I'm not a stranger to the genre; however, I've always felt as though I could read more. When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance to read something new from Nnedi Okorafor. Although I've only read Binti and her children's picture book, I knew that Okorafor was bound to do something amazing with this novella. Remote Control surpassed my expectations in both character development and plot development. Though short in length, it explores so many interesting and dynamic themes. Sankofa known as the adopted child of death, is granted strange, yet fascinating powers with dire consequences. The novella moves fast in highlighting various parts of her early childhood bringing the reader to the climatic event that shapes the rest of her entire life. You can't help but to root for and admire Sankofa. As a child she navigates grief, fear, death, freedom, harmony with nature, compassion in a balanced way surpassing the emotional capabilities of most adults. She's been given a life that she has not chosen and yet she seems to take in strides and earnestly attempts to make the best of it. She spends most of the novella searching for answers encountering a full cast of characters human, animal, and non-human (AI). These characters ultimately challenge and make readers question the basic meanings of humanity. Regardless of age, Sankofa finds harm doers as much as she finds those who are compassionate. I will be quite honest and say that I had tons of theories about where Sankofa acquired her powers, but I don't know if Okorafor intended that to be the central focus of the novella. This felt more like a science-fiction based study of human behavior which I ended up loving. Although I haven't read much by Okorafor, I will say that this novella appears to be a good place to start if a reader is interested in exploring her writing. It also feels like a great inroduction into afrofuturism. I recently heard that this may be tied to Who Fears Death so I'll be picking up that series soon. Overall, this was a great read and I definitely recommend checking it out.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Who decided this was Science Fiction??? When I think of science fiction, I think of advanced technologies, aliens, spaceships, quantum physics, wormholes, and an unfortunate astronaut trying to survive when his crew abandons him on the surface of Mars. Am I wrong for expecting at least one of those things in a book that's purportedly science fiction? Maybe. So I Googled "definition of science fiction" and the first thing it gave me, from Oxford Languages, is this: "fiction based on imagined future Who decided this was Science Fiction??? When I think of science fiction, I think of advanced technologies, aliens, spaceships, quantum physics, wormholes, and an unfortunate astronaut trying to survive when his crew abandons him on the surface of Mars. Am I wrong for expecting at least one of those things in a book that's purportedly science fiction? Maybe. So I Googled "definition of science fiction" and the first thing it gave me, from Oxford Languages, is this: "fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets." Ok, so yeh, that's kinda what I had in mind.  So how the heck did anyone think this book is Science Fiction??? It's a nice enough story.... a young girl gets a weird seed in a box which makes her glow green, endowing her with power to kill people. (view spoiler)[She accidentally kills her whole family after someone takes her seed away. Not really a spoiler because it happens near the beginning.) (hide spoiler)] She sets off to find the seed and the entire book is her walking around Ghana in search of the seed, followed by a companion fox, and occasionally using her powers to commit euthanasia when asked to do so.  There's no explanation of what this seed is or how it gives her the Green Curse of Death. No exciting made-up science-y bits to describe her power. Nothing, niente, nada.  Wait, you say, what about aliens? Are there any aliens in the story?  Good question. To which I would reply, No.  Ok then, you say. What about major social or environmental changes? Are there any of those in the book? To which I again would reply, No.  Space travel, you persist. Surely there's space travel if there aren't any of those other things!  Again, no. No space travel, no space ships. No humans walking around on other planets. No flying to other solar systems. Nothing like that.  Hmmm... it's not sounding very science fictiony, you reply. But there's still advanced technology; is there any tech in this book? Well, yes. There is one itty bitty bit of technology. It comes in the form of a Robocop.  How exciting, you say. I loved that movie! Don't get your hopes up too high, my friend. The Robocop in this book is little more than a glorified traffic light. It has three drones which act as its eyes and it lets people know when to cross the street and when the light for cars turns green. That's it. I guess it's that itty bitty bit of calling a traffic light a Robocop that landed this book firmly in the lap of a science fiction publisher, because it's the only thing even remotely science fictiony about it.  Such a let down.  As for the story, it's okay. Nothing amazing but, you know. It held my interest. The writing is okay, nothing remarkable but not terrible either. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't expected physics or spaceships or technology more advanced than a (semi)smart traffic light. I wonder if this is a re-telling of a Ghanaian tale, in which case I might appreciate it more. However, as science fiction, it doesn't work. It's not science fiction and I really wish we could go back to science fiction being about space travel and physics and aliens and flying through wormholes into other dimensions. You know, science fiction with science.  Is that too much to ask? P.S. The cover is gorgeous and science fictiony, so at least there's that.

  5. 4 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    ‘She wondered what story it would weave about her and how far the story would carry.’ There’s something I really enjoy about novellas. It is like the poem version of a novel, stripping down to the bare necessities while still expanding voluminously in your mind. Nnedi Okorafor excels at this in Remote Control, leaving signposts that evince a much larger and sinister world at play while confining the story to a sharp and singular tale within it. An Aftrofuturist book set amidst the shea fields of ‘She wondered what story it would weave about her and how far the story would carry.’ There’s something I really enjoy about novellas. It is like the poem version of a novel, stripping down to the bare necessities while still expanding voluminously in your mind. Nnedi Okorafor excels at this in Remote Control, leaving signposts that evince a much larger and sinister world at play while confining the story to a sharp and singular tale within it. An Aftrofuturist book set amidst the shea fields of Ghana, Remote Control follows the young girl Sankofa--dubbed the ‘adopted child of the Angel of Death’ in the legends that surround her--as she travels seeking something stolen from her. Her lost seed that fell from the sky has given her a great power of death. A green glow emanates from her when in danger and kills all it touches and just the simple touch of her hand disables all electronics. Leaving behind her village and the countless dead, she walks the land with only a fox as her companion. This tightly woven tale combines fantasy, sci-fi and culture in a brief but dazzling story about corporate imperialism under the guise of aid and the way legends shape us while we, through retellings, shape them. The day the young girl, seven at the time, lost her family and the life she knew, she also lost her name. In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, she renames herself Sankofa. Sankofa is one of the ‘sky words’ she would carve in the land to map the stars--which may or may have called down the mysterious seed which fell from space and gifted its curse upon her--and is associated with a proverb that translates as ‘t is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten’ as a message about drawing from the past to shape the future. In Ghana, the symbol of a bird with its head turned backwards to pick up an egg represents Sankofa, and her brother’s wooden Sankofa carving with the broken neck that the girl brings when she leaves her village is a chilling reminder of the destruction she unintentionally caused. ‘I am Sankofa, I belong wherever I want to belong.’ The storyline meanders like a journey, tracing her life back and forth as she weaves across the country following her internal pull towards her lost seed and leaving a trail of bodies behind her. Her reputation precedes her, with folks cowering in fear when she passes through town and spreading the legend of her far and wide and turning her into as much a mythological figure as actual flesh-and-blood. Her story has connotations with wandering witches, but the bringer of death may also be one of peace for those who are long suffering. Sankofa works almost as an inverse of the stories of Jesus traveling about and healing or raising people from the dead as she is often implored to put grant rest to the sick and dying. ‘I don’t know it to be evil,’ she says of her powers. Though it brings death she also thinks death is natural, ‘the world is euthanasia.’ While Sankofa only uses the power to kill, ‘when people threaten my life,’ (and one instance when she arrives with the intention to kill for vengeance) the power still kills beyond her control. While it is seen that being kind to one with such power is often the path to safety from her, misunderstandings lead to the death of those closest to her. She resents being powerless in the face of her power that is, ultimately, more powerful than one person should be able to hold. But still it is her. ‘It hurt because so much of it was terrible,’ Okorafor writes, ‘and still it was hers. Regardless.’ The foil to her character is the Robocop that protects the aptly named Robotown, a market village that thrives on sales of advanced tech. The robot keeps the town safe, but the process of doing so is creating a database of each citizen, scanning the data that passes along with them in their phones and other tech. Putting their entire safety structure on the shoulders of one superhero-like robot is not unlike trusting in Sankofa’s powers and expecting to never be harmed by it. Not only will their society break into chaos is the robot malfunctions but it is likely sending all their data to LifeGen, ‘that fucking big American corporation that’s probably going to eventually destroy the world.’ What seems to confuse the algorithm most is lacking any personal data to collect. Sankofa with her inability to touch electronics is an enigma, furthering LifeGen’s interest in following her and upsetting the social order of data-driven decision making upon which the robocop functions. This brushes upon modern social anxieties over private data and corporate social engineering. While fear of Sankofa influences behavior, as social psychologist Dr. Shoshana Zuboff discusses, ‘Personal information is increasingly used to enforce standards of behavior,’ and the robocop is reshaping village life presumably around the world in a way that benefits LifeGen. There seems to be an uneasy relationship between tradition and technology, best exemplified by a vendor Sankofa see’s with ‘tattoos of circuitry’ that ‘run up both arms like a disease.’ Slowly LifeGen is creeping across Africa, coming in like a true colonizer with one hand outstretched with the promise of improving life to distract from the other hand clutching a knife behind their back, as hinted at in passing references such as their desire to obtain Sankofa’s mystery seed or carved graffiti she sees stating ‘#AfricansAreNotLabRats’: ’LifeGen made a lot of the drugs patients took. The LifeGen symbol was a hand grasping lightning. But clearly, their drugs didn’t work very well. And clearly, pharmaceuticals weren’t their only focus.’ Where Okorafor most shines is her examination of the legends and the stories we tell and how they are shaped by our context for wanting to tell them. ‘Her story travelled like an ancestor, always ahead of, beside and behind her’. Sankofa hear’s many versions of her own story which always arrive in the villages she passes before her, some more accurate than others. Some versions are meant to scare, some are meant to be used for the benefit of the teller, such as the boys using the story to try and seduce Sankofa--not knowing it is her--by claiming they know how to stop the witch. ‘If there was one rule she lived by it was the fact that Stories were soothsayers, truth-tellers and liars.’ This is an apt description of fiction in general, where in every elaborate fiction there is a kernel of truth and an avenue to critique the world around us through transformation into stories. Okorafor wields this power well with her own crisp and effective writing where the implied travels further than the actual words on the page and build a lush landscape of the imagination. This is a smart, sharp and fun little novella that hits all the right notes of succinct sci-fi and is perfect for fans of books like N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth books. It is quite dark and intense, and the violence is very stylized to some pretty amazingly disturbing imagery. This is a world that feels so much larger than the reader is currently shown, and could be the launching point for a whole slew of works set in the world, though if not it wouldn’t feel like a waste. Okorafor’s use of shrouding the outside in translucent mystery is part of what makes this feel so dynamic and immersive without having to get into much, it is masterful really, and all her points have been aptly made without need to spell them out further. It feels reflective of sinister things lurking in our own world that we brush aside or relegate to the peripheries to avoid confronting due to the inconvenience of the systemic changes it would requite to properly address them. This is my first adventure into her work and I am already eager to check out her impressive back-catalogue. 4/5 ‘In Sankofa's years on the road, she'd learned that people were complicated. They wore masks and guises to protect or hide their real selves. They reinvented themselves. They destroyed themselves. They built on themselves. She understood people and their often contradictory ways.’

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Sankofa is given a dangerous gift that isolates her from her community. It also makes her a mystery to the drones who can't figure her out enough to include her in their surveillance. Set in near-future Ghana with possible aliens, this is Nnedi Okorafor's newest work and a interesting take on African Futurism. I heard it might tie to Who Fears Death but it's been ten years since I read that. It reminds me of the emotional tone of The Obelisk Gate where you have this person who has supernatural ab Sankofa is given a dangerous gift that isolates her from her community. It also makes her a mystery to the drones who can't figure her out enough to include her in their surveillance. Set in near-future Ghana with possible aliens, this is Nnedi Okorafor's newest work and a interesting take on African Futurism. I heard it might tie to Who Fears Death but it's been ten years since I read that. It reminds me of the emotional tone of The Obelisk Gate where you have this person who has supernatural ability, including the ability to wipe out groups of people. I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss; it came out January 19.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    3.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    Remote Control may not be genre-busting in the scifi department but the protagonist and story immediately came to stunning life as soon as it began. Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks Remote Control may not be genre-busting in the scifi department but the protagonist and story immediately came to stunning life as soon as it began. Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was a unique piece of African futurism that read more like a folktale, than science fiction. The young girl was a likeable character with a sympathetic backstory. My favourite aspect of the narrative was learning how others reacted to her abilities, both fearing and worshipping her. Overall, this novella had a compelling premise, but I was not completely immersed in the story itself.  I would recommend this one to readers who love myths and folktales. Personally, my reading tastes l 3.5 Stars This was a unique piece of African futurism that read more like a folktale, than science fiction. The young girl was a likeable character with a sympathetic backstory. My favourite aspect of the narrative was learning how others reacted to her abilities, both fearing and worshipping her. Overall, this novella had a compelling premise, but I was not completely immersed in the story itself.  I would recommend this one to readers who love myths and folktales. Personally, my reading tastes lean towards scifi and I found myself wishing that those elements had played deeper into the story rather than being simply peripheral aesthetics. However I did appreciate the African setting which provided a more unique perspective.  Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tor.com.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    CW: (view spoiler)[Girl loses control of her powers and kills people including her family (hide spoiler)] Well that was a remarkable and thought provoking fable-like story. Nnedi pulled me in instantly with a character that needed love and community, but received only fear and ostracization. There are so many interesting ideas that are explored in this novella. It is human nature to seek comfort with others and this was the most emotional theme for me. Stories where young children are alone, confu CW: (view spoiler)[Girl loses control of her powers and kills people including her family (hide spoiler)] Well that was a remarkable and thought provoking fable-like story. Nnedi pulled me in instantly with a character that needed love and community, but received only fear and ostracization. There are so many interesting ideas that are explored in this novella. It is human nature to seek comfort with others and this was the most emotional theme for me. Stories where young children are alone, confused, and seeking support and/or love, always hit me right in the heart. In essence however, this is a 'journey' story. Sankofa is on a physical and metaphorical journey to find her place and purpose in a futuristic, Ghana, whilst healing from the hurt of losing her loved ones and home. I honestly don't know how I feel about how it concluded. I really want to be the person who sagely nods at the openness of the ending and is content with pondering on what comes next, but I am not. I really am not. I need a sequel. And I needed it yesterday.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Monica **can't read fast enough**

    One of the things that I appreciate about Okorafor's writing is her ability to completely and quickly immerse me into her stories and characters which is why she is among a handful of authors whose novellas I can count on to be satisfying. Remote Control explores how a really young girl comes to know and accept unexplained powers and the fear and reverence it brings when she doesn't understand it herself. I'm a fan of characters taking a literal and/or emotional journey in order to figure out th One of the things that I appreciate about Okorafor's writing is her ability to completely and quickly immerse me into her stories and characters which is why she is among a handful of authors whose novellas I can count on to be satisfying. Remote Control explores how a really young girl comes to know and accept unexplained powers and the fear and reverence it brings when she doesn't understand it herself. I'm a fan of characters taking a literal and/or emotional journey in order to figure out themselves and their situations in life and in this little novella I didn't feel cheated in that there wasn't a prolonged and well explored experience. Sankofa renames herself, finds the ability to be confident even when she makes decisions that should be beyond her, and finally has to deal with something more powerful than she is. There's a lot packed into 159 pages and I know that I will be doing a reread at some point to see if I missed anything. I received an ARC from Tor in exchange for an honest review Where you can find me: •(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)• Twitter: @monicaisreading Instagram: @readermonica Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / 3 ½ stars “Fear of death is a powerful weapon.” Remote Control is Afrofuturism at its best. Nnedi Okorafor seamlessly blends folklore elements and aesthetics with sci-fi ones, delivering a unique and intriguing piece of speculative fiction. Set in Ghana, Remote Control opens in medias res: the appearance of Sankofa, a fourteen-year girl, and her companion, a fox, sends the residents of a town into hiding. They shout her name and the following: “Beware of / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / 3 ½ stars “Fear of death is a powerful weapon.” Remote Control is Afrofuturism at its best. Nnedi Okorafor seamlessly blends folklore elements and aesthetics with sci-fi ones, delivering a unique and intriguing piece of speculative fiction. Set in Ghana, Remote Control opens in medias res: the appearance of Sankofa, a fourteen-year girl, and her companion, a fox, sends the residents of a town into hiding. They shout her name and the following: “Beware of remote control, o! The most powerful of all witchcraft!”. Sankofa chooses a house in which she is treated like an honored, and feared, guests. The following chapters tell Sankofa's story and of her strange, and occasionally dangerous, powers. After a terrible tragedy forces her to leave her hometown Sankofa embarks on a journey in pursuit of the peculiar object responsible for her powers. As she is unable to use cars (since her 'change' she become a technology 'repellant') Sankofa walks, encountering both friendly and hostile people, seeking shelter in nature, finding comfort in the presence of her furry companion. Throughout the years she spends on the road we see the way people view her and her powers. Some see her as a 'witch' and seek to harm, while others seek her help. Time and again we see the damage caused by fear and hatred of the other or that which we do not understand. There were many harrowing scenes but thankfully there were also plenty of moments emphasizing empathy, connection, and love. As much as I appreciated the setting and the mélange of sci-fi and fable, what I loved the most about Remote Control was Sankofa herself. I don't think I have ever warmed up so quickly to a character. Perhaps it is because she is a child but to be honest, I tend not to like children (real and fictional alike) but Sankofa immediately won me over. There was something so endearing and wholesome about her that my heart ached for her. I found her level-headedness to be both sweet and amusing (“Being led out of town by an angry mob wasn't the worst thing that could happen, best to stay calm and let it be done”). My anxiety over her wellbeing did give the novella a suspenseful edge so that I finished it as quickly as possible. The only aspect that didn't quite 'work' for me was the ending (which could have been less ambiguous). Nevertheless, I would love to read more novellas set in this world! I would definitely Remote Control recommend to fans of speculative fiction: the writing is evocative and inventive, the main character is wonderful, and Okorafor raises interesting questions about power and fear.

  13. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    This cover is literally one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. WOW.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Boston

    Nnedi Okorafor never fails to amaze me with her storytelling, wordbuilding, and characters. Remote Control is a small novella, but it packs a punch and will stay with you for a long time. *Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    Transcendent, stunning, devastating. I've had a lump rising and resting in my throat since I began reading Fatima's journey. My heart is still tender and overwhelmed and so very full from this devastatingly beautiful allegory of self-destruction, awareness and compassion. The feels! I loved it. -Sara S. Transcendent, stunning, devastating. I've had a lump rising and resting in my throat since I began reading Fatima's journey. My heart is still tender and overwhelmed and so very full from this devastatingly beautiful allegory of self-destruction, awareness and compassion. The feels! I loved it. -Sara S.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Thistle & Verse

    What's it like to grow up as the most powerful person you know? Sankofa's powers elicit fear, which isolates her and gives her the leverage to demand most of the things she wants. What's it like to confront the one entity who could harm you? For full review, watch here: https://youtu.be/Y-AeKLn4FJ0 What's it like to grow up as the most powerful person you know? Sankofa's powers elicit fear, which isolates her and gives her the leverage to demand most of the things she wants. What's it like to confront the one entity who could harm you? For full review, watch here: https://youtu.be/Y-AeKLn4FJ0

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    3.5 stars There are not many books that can pull off African folklore mixed with sci-fi and this one did it admirably. I tried Binti a while ago and could never get past chapter 1 but as with most authors I am always willing to give them a 2nd chance. This is Ghana, set in the future but with its feet firmly planted in the old ways. A Ghana filled with high tech drones, robots and the study of aliens, juxtaposed against the loud, organized chaos of African markets, culture and local cuisine. This is 3.5 stars There are not many books that can pull off African folklore mixed with sci-fi and this one did it admirably. I tried Binti a while ago and could never get past chapter 1 but as with most authors I am always willing to give them a 2nd chance. This is Ghana, set in the future but with its feet firmly planted in the old ways. A Ghana filled with high tech drones, robots and the study of aliens, juxtaposed against the loud, organized chaos of African markets, culture and local cuisine. This is Sankofa, a young girl who lost her whole village and identity because of a gift from the sky. Sankofa becomes the bearer of misfortune, the daughter of Death and her search to understand her cursed gift will lead her to places she never imagined. I think the title could have been better but overall, this is a solid sci fi with a strong African flavour worth your time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Don’t be fooled by this novella. Okorafor brilliantly delivers a story about a young girl (Sankofa) gifted with the ability to execute people upon will in this africanfutristic Ghanaian setting. Sankofa navigates a life of grief, fear, death, and freedom as she comes to terms with her unusual abilities and its source. This book will make you question what is both power and control. Furthermore, you’re left wondering if killing another is ever justified and the morality surrounding such an act. I Don’t be fooled by this novella. Okorafor brilliantly delivers a story about a young girl (Sankofa) gifted with the ability to execute people upon will in this africanfutristic Ghanaian setting. Sankofa navigates a life of grief, fear, death, and freedom as she comes to terms with her unusual abilities and its source. This book will make you question what is both power and control. Furthermore, you’re left wondering if killing another is ever justified and the morality surrounding such an act. I’ve never read a book that balanced a life of isolation and barrenness while also showing civilizations completely dependent upon technology that is beyond our own. I don’t want to give anything away, so I highly recommend reading this book! Thank you to tordotcom for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shivvani Rao

    This one reined me in as soon as I started it. The mood was so eerie and uncanny. I had to know what happened to Sankofa. I wanted all the answers, fast. It’s my first book with an African place as the backdrop. It was cool to see the native food (yes, I googled all of them and they look so tasty!). I loved Sankofa’s journey. Her maturity. Her strength. I loved her time in Robotown the most, though I sensed the foreboding. The ending was good enough but it left me... unsatisfied. I wanted more plo This one reined me in as soon as I started it. The mood was so eerie and uncanny. I had to know what happened to Sankofa. I wanted all the answers, fast. It’s my first book with an African place as the backdrop. It was cool to see the native food (yes, I googled all of them and they look so tasty!). I loved Sankofa’s journey. Her maturity. Her strength. I loved her time in Robotown the most, though I sensed the foreboding. The ending was good enough but it left me... unsatisfied. I wanted more plot with LifeGen, her powers and all their mysteries (But it was not the author’s major focus). This seems like a stand-alone but I would read the sequel, if it’s written. All in all it’s a pretty good one-time read. (This is my first Nnedi’s book but I do plan on reading the Binti series.) Total time spent: 2h 14min.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    This novella challenges your preconceptions. Is it science fiction as advertised or fantasy? Well, I’d say both. Okorafor juxtaposes an ‘old’ world full of traditions and superstitions with a modern, even futuristic, one where you find advanced technology and the possibility of alien life. At first, this perplexed me, throwing me off my reading, but soon I enjoyed it and wondered where the author would take me. Fatima/Sankofa is a great character, very charming in her naivety, and who reminded m This novella challenges your preconceptions. Is it science fiction as advertised or fantasy? Well, I’d say both. Okorafor juxtaposes an ‘old’ world full of traditions and superstitions with a modern, even futuristic, one where you find advanced technology and the possibility of alien life. At first, this perplexed me, throwing me off my reading, but soon I enjoyed it and wondered where the author would take me. Fatima/Sankofa is a great character, very charming in her naivety, and who reminded me a little of Binti with her use of the shea butter (otjize). I did like her narrative, walking through the country, meeting some nice people, and unfortunately not so nice ones. It always shocks me how quickly people resort to violence, and I feel Okorafor is commenting on this, as well as how girls are so often disregarded in society, becoming practically invisible. However, give one the power of Death and see what happens. And finally the ‘seed’ - is it an ‘agent’ for good or evil, or something else entirely...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    A very satisfying and fully immersive tale, this science fantasy story is told with the resonance of Myth. What's unexpected is that a story about death, and the loss that inevitably surrounds it, could ultimately be uplifting. A very satisfying and fully immersive tale, this science fantasy story is told with the resonance of Myth. What's unexpected is that a story about death, and the loss that inevitably surrounds it, could ultimately be uplifting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristina (heartsfullofreads)

    When I read the description for this novella I was really intrigued. The adopted daughter of death in a futuristic Ghana was a really cool concept with lots of potential. Unfortunately, it just wasn't quite what I was hoping for. The writing was fine but the plot just kind of fell flat for me. I also wasn't expecting the protagonist to be quite so young. If you are a fan of the author or enjoy sci-fi I would say give it a try. It's a really short read and definitely unique. When I read the description for this novella I was really intrigued. The adopted daughter of death in a futuristic Ghana was a really cool concept with lots of potential. Unfortunately, it just wasn't quite what I was hoping for. The writing was fine but the plot just kind of fell flat for me. I also wasn't expecting the protagonist to be quite so young. If you are a fan of the author or enjoy sci-fi I would say give it a try. It's a really short read and definitely unique.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chidimma Desiree

    The way Okorafor creates a stunning story with intricate world building and character development in under 100 pages never ceases to amaze me. This got me out of my mini reading slump and it was definitely due to how quick I read it because of the short page length but also wonderful storytelling.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Sankofa. Her name strikes fear into each town she visits. Rumors about her fly. She is the adopted child of the Angel of Death, the destroyer of technology, a remedy of suffering, an agent of chaos, and wanderer, a loner, an indestructible glowing force of nature in search of something that she'll never find. It is a hard life for a pre-pubescent girl. Remote Control is an origin story about how a seven-year-old girl--a lover of nature, animals, and the world around her--is given a gift from the h Sankofa. Her name strikes fear into each town she visits. Rumors about her fly. She is the adopted child of the Angel of Death, the destroyer of technology, a remedy of suffering, an agent of chaos, and wanderer, a loner, an indestructible glowing force of nature in search of something that she'll never find. It is a hard life for a pre-pubescent girl. Remote Control is an origin story about how a seven-year-old girl--a lover of nature, animals, and the world around her--is given a gift from the heavens above and the earth below. Her body is changed, her world is changed, and she is pushed and pulled by forces she doesn't understand, but cannot resist. Sankofa's story is heartbreaking yet hopeful, as she seizes her abilities and dictates her lifestyle instead of succombs to it. She spends many years of her youth traveling throughout west Africa searching for answers to something just out of her grasp, encountering a wide range of characters that include wild animals, skeezy politicians, and Robocop. Yep. Fast moving and exciting stuff, all packed into a tightly-written novella. I hope to see a lot more Sankofa stories from Okorafor, who has once again created yet another winning anti-hero to add to her impressive body of work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I went into this not knowing it was a novella so that’s my bad. After reading reviews I guess this is more of an African folktale so within that genre I suppose it works? I just don’t know what the point of everything was. Was there a purpose to her powers? Why were there nods to an evil corporation that then did nothing for the story? Why was the fox there? What was learned in the end? An interesting premise but this did nothing for me. Almost kind of felt like a not-fully-fleshed-out prequel to I went into this not knowing it was a novella so that’s my bad. After reading reviews I guess this is more of an African folktale so within that genre I suppose it works? I just don’t know what the point of everything was. Was there a purpose to her powers? Why were there nods to an evil corporation that then did nothing for the story? Why was the fox there? What was learned in the end? An interesting premise but this did nothing for me. Almost kind of felt like a not-fully-fleshed-out prequel to something bigger.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Fatima/Sankofa is a wonderful character, full of energy and a sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, after gaining a strange power that allows her to kill everything around her, as well as render electrical devices inert, she finds herself wandering Ghana on foot, meeting a succession of people both kind and fearful, trying her best not to hurt others except for mosquitoes and the occasional person wanting to be released from life. The story has great scenes full of difficult decisions, along w Fatima/Sankofa is a wonderful character, full of energy and a sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, after gaining a strange power that allows her to kill everything around her, as well as render electrical devices inert, she finds herself wandering Ghana on foot, meeting a succession of people both kind and fearful, trying her best not to hurt others except for mosquitoes and the occasional person wanting to be released from life. The story has great scenes full of difficult decisions, along with little moments of kindness and silence. I loved the feel of this story and the terrific growth Fatima must make while learning to use her frightening power.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaa

    As other reviews have pointed out, this is a sci-fi folk tale rather than any sort of hard sci-fi. For me, that was a plus. I enjoyed the mystery of Sankofa's powers (although I'm still not clear where the term "remote control" came from), and I thought she was very powerful as a main character. I loved the way the timeline skipped around a bit, speeding up and slowing down though several years of Fatima/Sankofa's life. Listening to the story be told aloud was an especial treat - Adjoa Andoh is, As other reviews have pointed out, this is a sci-fi folk tale rather than any sort of hard sci-fi. For me, that was a plus. I enjoyed the mystery of Sankofa's powers (although I'm still not clear where the term "remote control" came from), and I thought she was very powerful as a main character. I loved the way the timeline skipped around a bit, speeding up and slowing down though several years of Fatima/Sankofa's life. Listening to the story be told aloud was an especial treat - Adjoa Andoh is, as ever, an incredible narrator, and I thought a good pick for this book. I didn't feel that the story had a lot of direction or plot, but the book is short enough that simply being immersed in Sankofa's world for a few hours was plenty of material to keep my brain engrossed. Overall, an unusual story with a compelling protagonist that blends a folk tale feel with a sci-fi setting

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    Sankofa, the Adopted Daughter of the Angel of Death, walks the roads of Ghana bringing death wherever her footfalls land. Is she a vengeful spirit? A benevolent angel of mercy? Okorafor's latest novella from Tor.com's imprint attempts to answer those questions in a character study in a near-future Ghana. The book is a page turner throughout: interesting mystery, great world building, and an interesting lead in a peculiar conundrum kept me wanting to pick up the book. I was a little letdown by the Sankofa, the Adopted Daughter of the Angel of Death, walks the roads of Ghana bringing death wherever her footfalls land. Is she a vengeful spirit? A benevolent angel of mercy? Okorafor's latest novella from Tor.com's imprint attempts to answer those questions in a character study in a near-future Ghana. The book is a page turner throughout: interesting mystery, great world building, and an interesting lead in a peculiar conundrum kept me wanting to pick up the book. I was a little letdown by the book's ending which is a drop more ambiguous than I'd hoped for. There's an entire subplot going on with a shady corporation that is only slightly resolved and the character moment at the end had me feeling like a sequel was being set up. I've seen Okorafor describe her writing as Africanfuturism, distinctly different from afrofuturism because of its cultural foundation in African worlds. Certainly this holds true for both Remote Control and Okorafor's previous trilogy (which I loved) Binti . It's a style that was one of the first to put me on to the diverse and exciting new worlds being crafted in the SF landscape. Compared with Binti, Remote Control is entirely Earth-bound but continues to expand that Africanfuturism genre in interesting ways. Nonetheless, you'd be hard pressed to call this a bad novella. Indeed, it's pretty damned good. It doesn't live up to the lofty expectations that Binti set for me, but it had a lot of cool elements (Jelli Tellis!) of world building that captured me for its brief ride. Do test Okorafor's writing out, but start with Binti and then drop over for this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." yes, a new fav "She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own." yes, a new fav

  30. 5 out of 5

    Milana M (acouplereads)

    Okorafor is one of my favourite authors. Her ability to blend African culture with science fiction futuristic technology is awe-inspiring. I always feel fully immersed in her books and I always always learn from them. With each new piece of writing from Okorafor I just feel fulfilled after reading. In Romote Control we follow a very young girl named Fatima through a recollection of how she became Sankofa, the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Learning about malaria was gut wrenching. Every Okorafor is one of my favourite authors. Her ability to blend African culture with science fiction futuristic technology is awe-inspiring. I always feel fully immersed in her books and I always always learn from them. With each new piece of writing from Okorafor I just feel fulfilled after reading. In Romote Control we follow a very young girl named Fatima through a recollection of how she became Sankofa, the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Learning about malaria was gut wrenching. Every fever Fatima went through punched me in the stomach. I am just overcome with sadness. After looking up some facts about malaria I found out that the highest increase in malaria reported from 2017 to 2018 was in Ghana. It’s easy to forget that these illnesses are still prevalent in our world as we are so removed here in our first world countries. Deep sigh, I digress. As we dig deeper into the novella we find a mysterious seed with Fatima. She is in possession of this seed for a very short period of time before it’s lost. Fatima sets off to find the seed. In parallel we walk in Sankofa’s steps as she walks from village to village using her deadly touch to take the pain away from the suffering, ultimately using euthanasia to bring about the persons death. Fatima/Sankofa is precious and I just want to jump right into the narrative and help her. I enjoyed this novella and will definitely pick up another if Okorafor has more to share about her story. Okorafor’s super power is making you feel emotions for characters in just a few words, just a few pages in. This incredible power is something I can only dream of possessing. Pick up Remote Control, you'll discover emotions you didn't know were brewing beneath the surface. Thank you Tordotcompub for sending an ARC my way, a great solid read.

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