Cover Image: Remote Control

Remote Control

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Member Reviews

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor was like no other novella I've ever come across. She somehow manages to pen an entire well thought out and engaging story in less than two hundred pages. This story follows our main character, Sankofa, from her childhood into adulthood. Sankofa has a power that causes many to worship and fear her while at the same time isolating her. Once again, Nnedi's prose and ability to make you feel for every character she writes shines through, and I was hooked from the first page to the last. Fans of her Binti Series will no doubt enjoy Remote Control just as much!
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This book has an ambiguous ending, and a melancholy tone, both of which intend to avoid. But still, I loved it. The world building and social commentary are layered and memorable.

A girl finds a mysterious alien artifact that gives her power she struggles to control. As she wanders through a near-future Ghana, she meets many imperfect people, including a couple of fat characters who felt like complex people and not stereotypes. 

The novella length made this an easy read, it has the emotional punch of a short story, with enough space to really sink into Sankofa’s tale.

The book has many intersecting mysteries. I think I read the whole thing in one day. It’s a smart novella that made me think, and left me feeling cautiously hopeful after following the heroine through loss and redemption. Even though it’s a story about a girl who kills people—sometimes accidentally, and sometimes on purpose—I didn’t find it to be overwhelmingly depressing.
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I’m judging the L.A. Times 2021 fiction contest. It’d be generous to call what I’m doing upon my first cursory glance—reading. I also don’t take this task lightly. As a fellow writer and lover of words and books, I took this position—in hopes of being a good literary citizen. My heart aches for all the writers who have a debut at this time.  What I can share now is the thing that held my attention and got me to read on even though it was among 296 other books I’m charged to read. 

Spiders always had better things to do. She wondered what story it would weave about her and how far the story would carry.
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I haven't read anything by Okorafor that I've disliked, so I had high hopes going into this Afrofuturism novella. Suffice it to say, I was not in the least disappointed.

Remote Control tells the story of Sankofa, who, through odd circumstances involving an extraterrestrial seed, gains the power to take life from those she encounters. She becomes legendary, with people calling her the Adopted Daughter of Death. She doesn't exactly enjoy killing, though she does do it on request at times, when people's suffering becomes too great. She offers them that mercy.

But this power isn't an easy one to control. She kills any electronics that she's near, whether trivial or vitally important. Before she learned to control it, this new power stole the lives from not only her family, but her entire village....

Sankofa seeks the seed that gave her this power, a seed that was stolen, and along the way, we see someone who is fairly young and yet who carries the weight of ages and responsibility on her shoulders. She's an outcast, feared and respected, a wanderer in a near-future world that has increasing corporate reach and corruption. It's an interesting dichotomy, being the stuff of legends while also still thinking, "Gee, I wish I could use a smartphone again."

Okorafor sets up a complex future that is clearly deeper than the small slice of it we get to see here in this novella, but much as I would love to read more of Sankofa's story, I think it's well suited to this format. A small slice, a glimpse into a segment of one person's story. It's both greater than that, and doesn't need to be more than that. Okorafor is REALLY good at managing that sort of tale, and I love it.

Definitely give this a read if you have the chance!
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The story of a girl who gains power over death, and the new life she takes on because of it. The story behind how she gains her powers is interwoven with what she's doing in the present, first searching for something that was taken from her and then attempting to make a home when that thing comes searching for her. The protagonist goes from about 4-years-old to 12-ish from beginning to end, and that youth and innocence gives this story another layer of melancholy and loneliness. Okorafor's language is beautiful as always, painting pictures quickly. This novella is a super quick read and very satisfying.

Also, there's a city with a giant traffic cop robot, which is awesome.
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Brilliant, I had previously read Binti by this author and was disappointed by the lack of world building, that’s not the case for this one, it’s much more intricate and developed
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Thank you for this ARC. Okorafor always creates interesting worlds and characters that closely resemble our own. Although I found this story a little thin overall, I would recommend it for fans of hers.
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I really loved this book. It was short, but very well written and I would definitely recommend it to people looking for new and interesting Sci-Fi.
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This was an excellent novella; immensely evocative and imaginative. I loved the melding of the very realistic world with slight elements of futurism. The heart of the story is Sanfoka, a little girl who finds a strange artifact and becomes the adopted daughter of death. She is beautifully realised and very engaging. This book is one that works to break your heart and give you gentle hope; a wonderful journey. There's something very unique in this book and I can't wait to read more by Okorafor.
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Nnedi Okorafor is one of my favorite authors, so I was eagerly awaiting this one. I really love the way her stories evoke something new and at the same time familiar - you can recognize so much of humanity and human drive in her characters while examining a new world, scene, or power that brings that to life beautifully.
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Oh man, this is pretty disappointing. I have enjoyed the majority of what I've read from Okorafor. And while I should have picked this up sooner, I was still looking forward to reading it. But, I'm not sure what happened -mood or attention? Either way, I didn't make it very into this novella. Besides not knowing where the story was going, I didn't connect with the main character. Whose name I've forgotten. Instead of forcing myself to push through to finish it (it's a novella after all) I decided to just DNF it.
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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.
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We at Saga love Nnedi Okorafor, and her visiting us is a long-standing dream. Her writing is fearless, magical, and always relevant. We hand-recommend her work all the time to customers.
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Excellent story as always from Nnedi Okorafor, set in futuristic Africa but at the same time feels rooted deep in the local culture and lore.  Atmospheric and full of lonelyness and sorrow with a teenage protagonist that has taken on more than most.  I feel it is alway best to read Nnedi Okorafor books without knowing what they are about so I won't go into detail.
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Remote Control was not what I was expected but that's not a bad thing. It weaves together science fiction with a mythological vibe. Our protagonist is given unexplainable powers that can cause devastation and so a mythology builds up around her. People try to explain what they can't understand and it results in a mythic status for Sankofa who it uses to her advantage when she can and longs for the things that it denies her.

It's a story about survival, loss and being on the outside but wanting to belong somewhere. Also mysterious glowy green powers, a fox companion, high tech future Ghana and at one point a giant robot with drones for eyes. As always Nnedi Okorafor expertly weaves together a lot of ideas in a short amount of time.
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Once again, Nnedi Okorafor pens a masterpiece. And the narrator: Adjoa Andoh was absolutely brilliant. So much emotion and gut-wrenching heartache. Such a wonderful book.
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Thanks NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.  Nnedi Okorafor is the GOAT!!! The energy of Sankofa was strong in this one!  I absolutely adored this book and I can't wait for her newest.  She continues to fascinate and inspire me.  Absolutely one of my top recommendations!
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Been putting this on customer orders for Tailored Book Recommendations - http://mytbr.co

So thanks for the review copy! My netgalley reviews are slowing due to ocular fatigue, so I'm mostly taking print review copies from now on.
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This sci-fi novella incorporates elements of myth or fable to tell a beautiful and compelling story about trauma and isolation. Sankofa­­ has a mysterious power to bestow death, and the narrative explores the balance of power in the face of fear. A really excellent and quick read.
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This was my first Okorafor book and OMG, I finally understand the hype! Remote Control is a stunningly unique book. Usually sci-fi books don’t pick up until you’re six or seven chapters into it but I was hooked from the first page. I’ve recommended it to multiple book, an actually going to re-read it next month, and have bought all of Nnedi Okorafor’s books now.
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