LaGuardia – Nnedi Okorafor, Tana Ford & James Devlin (Berger Books)

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My father, while being far from perfect, taught me that the world belongs to no-one and everyone in equal measure. He taught me that while, sometimes, it’s important to acknowledge and remember where you come from, the truth about humanity is a simple one.  We’re all the same. We’re all one tribe and no matter how much flag waving, fear mongers whose wealth and power are dependent on maintaining a policy of divide and conquer try to reinforce clichéd and tired ideas nations and borders, at the end of the day, we’re all global citizens.  That belief, that lesson that my father taught me way back when, and idea is central to Nnedi Okorafor’s LaGuardia.

Essentially a story of integration and immigration following first contact, the realisation that the universe is overflowing with beautiful, diverse life, aliens choosing to settle and live on Earth and the mainstream’s fear driven reaction to this new reality, LaGuardia is both magnificent in it’s overwhelming scale and the concepts that it deals in and incredibly personal and intimate in the small things that make up its wonderfully personal central plot that revolves around family, identity and individuality.  LaGuardia follows Future Chukwuebuka as, heavily pregnant and with a floral lifeform in tow, she flees Nigera, which is incidentally the site of first contact, to return to America to find a new home for her friend and have her baby surrounded by memories and familiarity in the comfort of her Grandmother’s home in New York.

Or at least, that’s how it begins, because nothing that emerges from the imagination of Nnedi Okorafor is ever that simple or straight forward and before you know up from down, she catapults the reader into a world filled with strange, incredible people, unseen conflicts and the fight for justice and equality in a country, and world, beset by fear and crass political manipulation. It’s a world brought to sumptuous life by the staggeringly exquisite art and colours of Tana Ford and James Devlin, both of which give LaGuardia a beguiling and unique look that adds a distinctiveness, and, oddly for a story with such a strong foundation in Science Fiction, a timeless quality that ensures the themes and story will continue to appeal to, and find a home with, audiences for generations to come. Astounding…  Tim Cundle


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