The Book of Phoenix (#31/50)

So I’ve said before that there’s not any book genre I actively dislike, but I’ve never been especially interested in sci-fi/fantasy. I’m still not convinced it’s my cup of tea, but this book was an interesting take on the ubiquitous dystopian novel and provided a nice change of pace from my usual selections.

Title – The Book of Phoenix

Author – Nnedi Okorafor

Page count – 232

This book is difficult to summarize because it’s so “out there.” Our main character is Phoenix, a woman with supernatural powers (no spoilers). She begins life as part of a larger genetic experiment taking place in various locations around the United States. Phoenix begins to realize that the only place she’s ever known as “home” is really more of a prison. She spends the book on escape, destruction, and freeing the other people trapped by this experiment.

I’m careful about criticizing technology because I know so many people who deride any new technological devise or method and the people who use them simply because they don’t like change. However, this book makes me think of the line in Jurassic Park where Malcolm says “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” A theme in this book follows the idea that technological advances shouldn’t come at the expense of denying people their right to humanity and bodily autonomy.

For quotes, I’ll start with a short proverb and end with Phoenix’s description of books (she’s a voracious reader):

“It is the calm and silent water that drowns a man.” (86)

“I love books. I adore everything about them. I love the feel of the pages on my fingertips. They are light enough to carry, yet so heavy with worlds and ideas. I love the sound of the pages flicking against my fingers. Print against fingerprints. Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud.” (p. 135)

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