Binti Question 4 - Transformations

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Binti herself starts out as human - half Himba and half Enyi Zinariya, though she does not know this at the time. She later becomes part Meduse and then part starship. One of these transformations is central to each novella. Each time, Binti grows in understanding, and consequently, in power. Interesting? Or Mary Sue-ish? Why do you think Okorafor has focused on this method of growth for Binri?

Comments

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    A consequence of this form of growth is, I think, that the assimilation of the change happens after the fact, rather than a kind of "go up a level because of experience gained" model. That seems a very interesting twist to me, and works. It's obviously a narrative ploy, and specifically one common in YA, to have all the changes happening to the same person.
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    I actually use the assimilation after change model for implants in my SF games. I find it very interesting as well!

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    I liked this, and it gave Binti an unusual character and unusual perspective on the world. In this context, she really is a harmonizer, only a biological one rather than a communicative one. Mary Sue? I didn’t think so - though I agree with Richard that there’s an element of wish fulfilment in all YA fiction.
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    @Apocryphal said:
    I liked this, and it gave Binti an unusual character and unusual perspective on the world. In this context, she really is a harmonizer, only a biological one rather than a communicative one. Mary Sue? I didn’t think so - though I agree with Richard that there’s an element of wish fulfilment in all YA fiction.

    Yes - I thought it worked well also.

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    I think I might like playing with the flux and hybridity possible in a bio-engineered setting like this, but so much would depend on the group. I think it's part of why fiction in these settings seems to be more about single-player stories than the dynamics of a group. I don't think this focus on individuals as protagonist solving external problems is restricted to YA either - I find it rare for stories to have the kind of complex motivations that I tend to like. Is Weir's The Martian considered YA?

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    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    Is Weir's The Martian considered YA?

    Not that I know, but then I am apparently a very poor judge of this. ;)

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    I wouldn't say it was YA (more like Bro Fiction, romancing the ultimate man-cave and solving problems with logic). It definitely had a huge wish fulfillment element and (as I said at the time) I thought the main character was a Mary Sue. None of which made it a bad read, mind.

    Someone gave me his most recent novel, Project Hail Mary, which I gather is very similar, but the main character is lost in another solar system and MacGyver's his way home.

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    @Apocryphal said:
    I wouldn't say it was YA (more like Bro Fiction, romancing the ultimate man-cave and solving problems with logic). It definitely had a huge wish fulfillment element and (as I said at the time) I thought the main character was a Mary Sue. None of which made it a bad read, mind.

    Someone gave me his most recent novel, Project Hail Mary, which I gather is very similar, but the main character is lost in another solar system and MacGyver's his way home.

    I tried reading his Artemis but struggled and gave up, despite loving The Martian - I just couldn't see where he was going with the story and the characters didn't click for me. Haven't yet tried Project Hail Mary though.

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    @RichardAbbott said:

    @Apocryphal said:
    I wouldn't say it was YA (more like Bro Fiction, romancing the ultimate man-cave and solving problems with logic). It definitely had a huge wish fulfillment element and (as I said at the time) I thought the main character was a Mary Sue. None of which made it a bad read, mind.

    Someone gave me his most recent novel, Project Hail Mary, which I gather is very similar, but the main character is lost in another solar system and MacGyver's his way home.

    I tried reading his Artemis but struggled and gave up, despite loving The Martian - I just couldn't see where he was going with the story and the characters didn't click for me. Haven't yet tried Project Hail Mary though.

    I liked Artemis. A lot! But it took some getting used to. It's very different from The Martian. You might like Project Hail Mary better.

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    @clash_bowley said:

    @RichardAbbott said:

    @Apocryphal said:
    I wouldn't say it was YA (more like Bro Fiction, romancing the ultimate man-cave and solving problems with logic). It definitely had a huge wish fulfillment element and (as I said at the time) I thought the main character was a Mary Sue. None of which made it a bad read, mind.

    Someone gave me his most recent novel, Project Hail Mary, which I gather is very similar, but the main character is lost in another solar system and MacGyver's his way home.

    I tried reading his Artemis but struggled and gave up, despite loving The Martian - I just couldn't see where he was going with the story and the characters didn't click for me. Haven't yet tried Project Hail Mary though.

    I liked Artemis. A lot! But it took some getting used to. It's very different from The Martian. You might like Project Hail Mary better.

    I should persevere then...

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    @RichardAbbott said:
    A consequence of this form of growth is, I think, that the assimilation of the change happens after the fact, rather than a kind of "go up a level because of experience gained" model. That seems a very interesting twist to me, and works. It's obviously a narrative ploy, and specifically one common in YA, to have all the changes happening to the same person.

    I like this observation. A lot of things happen to Binti, forced on her by circumstance. She shows her character by how she rises to these challenges, becoming more than she was before while still retaining her core identity. And she uses those transformations to bring further changes to those around her, and finding harmony because she was able to see new ways forward.

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    @NeilNjae said:

    I like this observation. A lot of things happen to Binti, forced on her by circumstance. She shows her character by how she rises to these challenges, becoming more than she was before while still retaining her core identity. And she uses those transformations to bring further changes to those around her, and finding harmony because she was able to see new ways forward.

    Agreed!

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