Remote Control is an amazing story about a young girl that is controlled by something (nobody knows what) and how she figures out how to live with it. It is set in a modern world with robots and AI yet it seems like an old legend. What a stunning blend that I surely didn’t expect when I got this book.

Fatima is a young girl living in a small town of futuristic Ghana with her parents and sibling… However, when she finds an unusual seed-like article under a tree close to their home (or did it discover her?) she becomes Sankofa, the adapted girl of Death, with the ability to kill with a touch or a look. She can annihilate technology or even whole towns, and as she travels the country with only an escaped fox for company she gets both anger and kindness from everybody she meets. Her destiny appears to be attached to the puzzling seed that discovered her and was taken from her… However, is killing her only destiny, or is there a more noteworthy destiny waiting for her?

Nnedi Okorafor’s writing is solid and evocative, brimming with imagery and terrible feeling. Her style takes a bit of becoming acclimated to, substituting straightforward however solid articulations with exquisite symbolism. However I discovered I greatly enjoyed it as I became used to it. Furthermore, I love Sankofa and her journey, and watching her develop as her story advanced. She’s never portrayed as an amazing hero or a villain. However just as a young girl attempting to make her way on the planet and discover her place in it, and grapple with her past and with what she has become personally.

The plot in Remote Control, unfortunately, feels rather cracked, jumping from event to event and wandering a fair bit at times. Also, it leaves a great deal of questions unanswered. Where did the seed that gave Sankofa her power come from? For what reason did it pick her? What did this LifeGen corporation have arranged, and is Sankofa by any mean ready to stop them? I understand that occasionally an author does not mean to address each question they raise, liking to focus on character advancement over plot. However it is actually baffling when a story leaves things so open-ended.

Remote Control is in no way a bad book, and if you do not mind a few nagging questions unanswered, try it out. It’s an extraordinary sci-fi story that is bound with fantastic components and solid connections to African old stories, and makes for a short yet one of a kind and memorable read.

Podcast ( Remote Control : By – Nnedi Okorafor )