Book Review of Nnedi Okorafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH

Book Review of Nnedi Okorafor’s

Who Fears Death

by Dan Watt

Nnedi Okorafor, PhD. is a multi-award winning author including a Wole Soyinka Prize, The World Fantasy Award, Nebula Award, Hugo Award, and more.

Her current book: NOOR was released late November

However, this is about a book published eleven years ago by Daw Books, Inc. called:


Okorafor’s description of sand reminded me of Barry Lopez’s description of the many types of snow and ice in his Arctic Dreams (Vintage Publ. 1986, 2001).  Always shifting and changing.  Something to hide within during the night, or run from when the wind is so strong the granules tear gashes like tiny knives. 

Her writing felt so real it brought back memories of reading Elenore Smith Bowen and Laura Bohannan’s: Return to Laughter: An Anthropological Novel (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1965).  Both Return to Laughter and Okorafor’s: Who Fears Death creates natural interactions that could happen anywhere in the world.  Throughout Who Fears Death, Okorafor deals with the very real emotions of desire, fear, jealousy, and misunderstanding. 

Where Okorafor’s Who Fears Death becomes more mythological is her use of JuJu for both violence and healing and her very realistic description of physical transformation.

The main character is written in first person.  Her name is Onyesonwa, a girl born of rape between a Nuru and Okeke.  The child of a Nuru and Okeke is called an Ewu.  Here, Okorafor includes in her narrative, the conversation of how humans treat children of rape, and biases based on appearance and gender that can lead to slavery, war, and perhaps genocide.

Eventually Onyesonwa will head into the desert to fulfill what she believes is her destiny with a group of friends.  While journeying through the deserts we, as readers, will learn that camels and other creatures are much wiser than we may have considered.

The natural way Okorafor writes the spiritual connection both the Nuru and Okeke have to the goddess Ani; her use of ju ju; and the connection Onyesonwa has with the animal kingdom in such a clear way has me wondering.  Did she sleep to wake in the Wilderness, and upon returning, remember what happened?

This is a story that will pull you in so that the soles of your feet press against the warm sand.  You will feel, hear, and smell what Onyesonwu and the other main characters do; until the very end.

I won’t say more because I want you to experience Nnedi Okorafor’s: Who Fears Death for yourself.

To learn more about Nnedi Okorafor and her books:


ACHEBE:  The third book of the Children of the Myth Machine series
ACHEBE: The third book of the Children of the Myth Machine series Model: Gloria Antwi  Design Background star photo: Ethan Watt Photo of Achebe: Dan Watt

ACHEBE and her husband were once a part of the CINN, a group made up of Earth’s richest individuals. When Achebe and her husband found out the CINN were involved with using the Children of the Myth Machines to create slaves and gladiators they joined the draoi ársa. Now Achebe is imprisoned on the dead world Sårad Värld. So far she has refused to tell the Cinn where the other Children of Myth Machines are. Or where the mystical reliquia viviente is.

Now Available in Paperback or ebook through Amazon

Rita Walker (Blog One):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog One):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

This is a new blog and although it is under the fantasy/science fiction genre we will be adding current technology that is environmentally friendly.


Rita usually prefers to walk or lope but today her time is short and the distance long so she’s taking an electric sea plane from Graham Island across the Hecate Strait to the Prince George airport. From there she’ll take a flight to Toronto.

At the Toronto Airport Rita rents a Volkswagen e-Golf. As she drives along the 401 Hwy towards the 403 on her way to the Six Nations Polytechnic Brantford Campus she stares in the rear-view mirror. Her shoulder length hair is light brown. She sighs, normally it would be an iridescent pearl white but she doesn’t want to be noticed right now. On the radio she hears Buffy Sainte-Marie sing “The Big Ones Get Away”. She sings along with Buffy realizing how important the song is but it is not the one she wants to write. The World is full of chaos and distrust and she wants to shine a light of hope through the madness.  To discover what is being done positively on Earth and showcase it.

As she arrives at the school she gets out of the e-Golf and stares at the curved entrance. In the centre is sign that is white with the outline of a purple eagle whose wings encircle opposing thick lined triangles with thin lined ones. In the centre is a purple coniferous tree.

As she steps through the front doors she is greeted by a secretary behind a newly refinished counter made of hemp. The secretary glances at her left arm and nods.