I recently reread Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death.
It remains an onslaught of a book, although being somewhat braced for the barrage of ANGER INJUSTICE GENOCIDE GONNA DESTROY A WHOLE CITY NOW does allow a little more time to, uh, stop and appreciate the occasional non-fraught thing that happens along the way? Onyesonwu makes friends with a camel at one point! That's nice!
(...for the record, my review from 2010 seems to indicate that at the time I understood and appreciated what happened at the end. Well, good job, past self, because my present self has no idea. ( Spoilers )
Anyway! Rereading Who Fears Death
got me thinking about the kind of books that are constructed around an ancient lore or a knowledge of the world that turns out to be fundamentally wrong, cultures constructed around poisoned lies. The Fifth Season
is the other immediate example that springs to mind of a book like this -- not that there aren't other parallels between The Fifth Season
and Who Fears Death.
It seems to me that I ought to be able to think of more, but since I can't I'm sure you guys can.
When I mentioned this to genarti
, she immediately said "YA dystopia! Fallout!
" and that's true, a lot of dystopias are built around a Fundamentally Flawed Premise that has been imposed upon the innocent population by a dictatorial government. Those feel a little different to me, though, maybe just because that sort of dystopia very clearly grows out of our own world. We know from the beginning how to judge truth and lies, we're WAY AHEAD of our naive heroine who believes the color blue is evil because the government put an inexplicable ban on it. But Who Fears Death
, while it may be set in our future, is in a future so distant from our own that there's no particular tracing back from it, and The Fifth Season
is another world altogether, and we don't have any home court advantage over the protagonists as they figure out where the lies are except a belief that something that poisonous has
to be wrong; maybe that's the difference.