Honestly, when there are no more instalments of the Murderbot Diaries, I’m going to be so very sad. I basically want to be Murderbot’s friend at this point, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be uncomfortable with that. So this is the third in the series after All Systems Red and Artificial Condition. And it is still …
There’s a woman named Pearl. Except she’s an angel. Well. She has wings like an angel, but she doesn’t actually know what she is or where she came from. But she knows that someone has stolen something from her and that thing is now in the shape of a briefcase, in the possession of Kisi Sorle. But it’s…sort of not Dr Kisi Sorle, orthopaedic surgeon but something else that occasionally inhabits him.
So, the book follows the history of a family, the Orchiéres, as they flea from France to life in England. The gift of witchcraft is passed down from mother to daughter but at all times they must keep it secret – or face a hostile world that fears women with such powers.
The plot is absurd. The Regional Office is a group of super-human women, guided by Oracles to defend the earth from all threats – alien, mystical, time-travelling, monstrous, etc. But its attacked! By first what seems a counter-agency but as we learn through the plot, has come from within.
To call it well written would be an insult. It’s brilliant. It’s a compulsive read – which in other circumstances could be trying to other authors given the range of subjects covered, papers mentioned, people interviewed. The narrative is so beautifully crafted that its easily one of the most accessible and fascinating non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.
This is the sequel to Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, which like the first in the series, it is also a novella. The story takes up a year after the events of the first book, with Binti taking up her place at Oomza university. She’s still friends with the Meduse Okwu.
So, it’s the future. There’s been some sort of disaster that has meant the population has been radically reduced, lots of people are born without bits of them (eyes, arms, legs etc) and computers are banned. In this world we have Nell Crane, daughter of famous inventors in this world. Owner of one mechanical heart.