Okay, yes, I know what I said. I am not neglecting Antiphon. I started it today. But my review of Kirinyaga sparked another enjoyable discussion with the author who then proceeded to provide me with manuscripts of all the other Africa books and stories I had yet to review, and this one was short and kept calling to me. I just had to read it.
An enjoyable entry in Resnick’s Africa series, this book is billed as a follow up to his award winning Kirinyaga, and indeed, the utopia built by fellow Kenyans uses the “Kirinyaga” failure as inspiration to get it right, and they do.
Led by historian David ole Saitoti, who becomes like a shaman for the Council and people, the Masaai establish their own Utopia, which, instead of focusing strictly on one lifestyle, focuses on a variety of settings enjoyed by the Masaai. These creates a sense of freedom and adaptability which serves them well, for, like the other utopia experiments, unexpected circumstances and inquiries lead to pushing the Council for change. How they handle that and where it leads is the heart of this story.
Written as a special release novella for Subterranean Press, it may be hard to find this book, but I tracked it down on Amazon with little trouble. Regardless, it’s worth the effort for those who enjoyed Mike Resnick’s previous Africa works, and it provides a unique look at another idea of utopia different from the others, yet, one which raises as many questions and leaves us to determine the answers.
The other uniqueness is that the narrator is not an instigator or protector of the utopia, but instead, a neutral advisor. He shows no particular inclination toward one particular approach over another, but merely seeks to advice the decision makers and let them proceed as they so determine. This is no Koriba, and, that makes his perspective all the more interesting for the reader.
Highly enjoyable and recommended. A bit edgier than his other books language-wise, probably because of its limited audience, but that shouldn’t keep most adults away.
A worthy addition to Mike Resnick’s Africa collection and to yours.