Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia

5559 stars
Mike Resnick

Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia by Mike Resnick PDF, TXT, ePub, PDB, RTF, FB2.

Title Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia
Rating 5559 stars
Author Mike Resnick
Pages N/A
Isbn 0786167904
Review This is a story of obsession. Koriba is the leader of a group of people who live on a planet terraformed to be like Africa and designated as a Kikuyu Utopia. Koriba detests the European culture that has taken over Kenya, and how the European and Kenyan cultures have overtaken the identity of the Kikuyu people.

His Utopia is established as a place for the Kikuyu people to return to their original culture and live in harmony with the land. He is their mundumugu, or witch doctor. He is their “teacher, and the custodian of the tribal customs”. He believes that any tiny change in their culture will lead to its eventual complete loss.

This book is in the formant of ten short stories that blend seamlessly into one complete story. The first two stories effectively describe his ferocious devotion to creating this utopia and keeping the culture pure. The rest of the stories show Koriba’s continued struggles as different things challenge him, and the gradual changes in Koriba and his people.

I love stories that make you think, and this one does. I love it when a book can ask questions without any obvious preaching or explaining and this book succeeds. My favorite quotes from this book are things that characters actually said.


All living things change... they change or they die.

“You can direct change Koriba… but you cannot prevent it.”

Meaning of Utopia:

“No one is suggesting that we don’t want to live in a Utopia, Koriba,” interjected Sannaka, “But the time has passed when you and you alone shall be the sole judge of what constitutes a Utopia.”

“Perhaps there are no Utopias, and we must each be concerned with our own happiness.”

It’s also about control:

“You are not an evil man, Koriba,” She said solemnly, “but you are wrong.”
“If that is so, then I shall have to live with it,” I said.
“But you are asking me to live with it…”

“It was you who taught me to think, Koriba… Would you have me stop thinking now, just because I think differently than you do?”

I am sure you can tell that I loved this book. It was so interesting, the plot moved quickly, and the characters and situations felt very real. This one goes right on my favorites list!


I didn't hate this book when I read it, but the Afterword -- wherein Resnick congratulates himself over and over again for getting so many accolades and all -- is pretty odious. I'd recommend not reading that part, at least, and just diving into the text.

I'd be very interested to see a critique of this book from the perspective of someone versed in African history and cultures (broadly speaking about both its history and its cultures, of course) -- specifically focusing on Kenya, of course, but also with an eye toward stereotypes about Africa in general.*

*Found this, which might of interest.

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