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Friday, May 10, 2013

Revised: "African Sunrise" by Nnedi Okorafor

First appeared in Subterranean Press

Like "The Book of Phoenix", this is "excerpted from The Great Book", which--if/when it becomes real--may be a pretty nifty book, indeed.

There are seven towers, and Phoenix lives on Tower 7, a skyscraper where she was born on the 13th floor of thirty-nine, two years ago, although through aged acceleration she looks and behaves as though she's forty.  Saeed, eater of glass or dirt or rotten rice, is dead--her only friend in the tower.  Phoenix struggles to maintain her temperature.

In the aftermath of the Phoenix's destruction of Tower 7, Phoenix takes the tree's seed--which she realizes is alien--and takes it to Africa to grow.  Next, she meets a man, Kofi, whom she loves briefly, and later reunites with beings like herself--beings thought dead.  She plans destruction of this government facility.

The first part reads like a more deeply imagined version of the earlier Clarkesworld tale, but it continues beyond the first.  One might skip the Clarkesworld version.  Probably it is here to give the background to part 2.  A reader might, otherwise, feel he's missed out.

The new additions expand on Phoenix's super-human abilities as well as possible inklings of the researchers' military designs.  As with excerpts, many unanswered questions await.  For example, why does the government attack conventionally when it knows the result?  How were they planning on deploying her?  Why does she run?  Can anything stop her?

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