Binti is a novella that focuses on Binti, a mathematical genius of the Himba tribe. Her father manufactures electronic astrolabes and she has learned to be a harmonizer by working with him in his workshop.
She applies to study at Oomza Uni, a prestigious school in another galaxy and gets accepted. She tells no one about the admission and slips away at night using a living starship.
The Meduse aliens that look like jelly fish, overrun Binti’s ship and everyone dies except Binti and the Pilot.
She seems to be protected by her edan, which is an ancient artifact that she found in the desert. She hides in her quarters and the edan translates for her. She finds out the Meduse are warring on Oomza Uni because scholars have stolen their chief’s stinger. They also want Binti’s otjize, a cosmetic made from oil and clay, which they realize from touching her that it has healing power on their flesh. They negotiate, and she offers to harmonize the situation with Oozma Uni.
When she feels a strong call to return to Earth, Okwu accompanies her as an ambassador of the Meduse. Binti hopes to engage in the traditional pilgrimage of the Himba, who live on the edge of the Namib Desert, to cleanse her outbreaks of anger. After traveling home in Third Fish, she finds out that the situation on Earth is complicated and her pilgrimage may not be possible. Strange happenings pressure her to choose her path into the future.
A very interesting must read, written by the Hugo and Nebula award winning writer Nnedi Okorafor.