Extract of the book of war girls inspired by the black panther of Tochi Onyebuchi

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Detail from the cover of War Girls.
Image: Penguin Random House

Black Panther it's a fantastic film for so many reasons, one of which meant that some people noticed that there were already so many science fiction and fantasy stories told outside of the default we had been served for so long. io9 recently brought Marlon James to light " Black Leopard, Red Wolfand now we have another interesting upcoming version to share: Tochi Onyebuchi War Girls.

Onyebuchi was hailed for his 2017 debut novel, Animals made at nightand its 2018 follow-up, Thunder Crown. Like that duology, War Girls it is set in an alternative version of Nigeria, but this time the author shares a science fiction story closer to the future, following a couple of sisters who are determined to realize their dreams of a better life despite the destruction devastated by the war that surrounds them.

Here is the official synopsis (just put it there, but War Girls it also seems that it would be a unbelievable film), followed by the revelation of the complete cover and an excerpt from the first chapter:

Two sisters are torn apart by war and have to fight off one another in a futuristic Nigeria inspired by the Black Panther.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have made most of the earth uninhabitable. Only the lucky ones fled to the space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using deadly and aerial mechs and soldiers are equipped with bionic limbs and artificial organs designed to protect them from the harsh climate of radiation. Throughout the nation, while civil war has lasted for years, survival becomes the only way to live.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. And yet, they dream of peace, hope, a future together.

And they are willing to fight an entire war to get there.


Chapter 1

South-eastern Nigeria, April 2172

The first thing that Onyii does every morning is to take his arm off. Other war girls have become used to sleeping without arms or legs. But Onyii's phantom limb haunts her in her sleep. In her dreams, she has all the arms and legs and can run. It can run far, fast and far from anything that pursues it. He can hold the gun and he can aim, and she can feel his face with all his fingers. But then he woke up and tried to touch his body with a right arm that was no longer there. She never got used to waking up without all her body, so now she sleeps with her arm attached, even if sometimes she accidentally crushes and bends some machines. Even if the sweat of his night terrors rusts some of the more delicate circuits. Even if she wakes up every morning with the imprint of metal plates on her cheek. That's why he gets up before the rest of the camp and spends the quiet hours of the morning at his bedside, lubricating his gears and fiddling with chips. In the darkness, the sparks from the metal as he works are the only light in his tent.

Ify sleeps through all this.

Onyii takes a moment to listen to Ify snoring. The birds outside have just begun their chirping, but they are still quiet enough that Onyii can hear the Ify patterns. Two smooth snores, then a sob. Onyii's dreams are a blot of chaos, blood and screams. Flashes of gunshots Rain that falls strong but never strong enough to wash the tears from your face. Ify's face is serene in sleep, the tribal scars the soft ridges on the cheeks. His lips rise to the edges. For most of his life, the child has only known peace.

When Onyii ends, he disconnects his arm from his position and places it against the point where his shoulder ends. He had left that battle a long time ago with a log. But the doctors had to cut the rest off his arm because he was infected. Now, there is only the network cabling above the opening, so that its socket is more like an electrical socket than anything else. The nanobots emerge from the base of the metal arm, drag the wires. The thread then attaches the metal to its flesh. The electricity flows through the body – a small explosion like the feet scraping against the carpet and then touching a handle. So it's able to flex your fingers. Try the elbow joints, bend the arm, slowly swing back and forth, turn the shoulder, then stretch and let out a huge yawn. Wait until it comes out of the tent to let the gas out.

The world is green and wet with recent rain. The dew has not yet dried from the grass. The leaves fold over their tree branches.

The wind lashes over her. The engines scream high, and Onyii looks up just in time to see mech planes, huge humanoid robots, with green and white stripes painted on their shoulders screeching in the sky, as they did for the past year. Shoulder guns and thrusters attached to their compact bodies. Advanced navigation systems. Yet they fail to spot the Biafran rebel camp right under their nose. As long as the signal damper they set up to hide this outpost from the Nigerian authorities is up and running, I'm safe. Government forces can't even see the rebel flag waving right under them. A blue background with half a yellow sun at the bottom, golden rays radiating outward like lightning.

Onyii stretches his arm and shoulder in flesh and blood, arches his back and listens to the cracks that ripple on his spine, then shakes. She still wears only the sheets – a compression bra and sports shorts that stick to the heavy humidity of the Delta – but it's comfortable enough for a morning run.

She does her usual tour of the field. First, it heads towards the outskirts of the camp, beyond the school for the little ones and one of the few shelters for the auto-body, a place where it is possible to tinker with faulty robotics, where the arms can be made and the legs. Where girls can become Augments, with more powerful limbs or organs than those with whom they were born. Sometimes it is a place where medical operations occur and people are given new eyes or bleeding in the brain is interrupted and a skull is installed. Onyii knows that some of the others giggle on the spot, as if people went there just to get out less than human, but some of those who look sideways at the people who work there and who have worked have never seen war. Half-arts become only half the arts because they are trying to make someone whole. An increase is not a bad thing.

He stops to the left and sees the orchard and the fruit trees that line it. Beyond the orchard, a vegetable garden is enclosed in a greenhouse large enough to allow some people to enter and move. The rotating supports programmed to automatically spray water on the plants hang from the ceiling and artificial light panels cover the walls. The field no longer needs them for a while, but when the nights get too long they can't allow the food to suffer.

Onyii turns to the outside for his run and passes in front of the canteen, usually empty early this morning. But while Onyii runs, he sees a girl in a jungle outfit with her jacket unbuttoned and draped over her shoulders as she leans on the rifle, dozing. Chike. At the sound of Onyii's feet grazing the grass, Chike wakes up and straightens up. It is amazing that he does not hoist his assault rifle and points it straight at Onyii; she is so nervous. When Chike understands where he is, he settles down and his posture relaxes.

It's just me, Think Onyii, who will pafuka your head when your commanding officer discovers that you have slept on your watch!

Onyii goes further. This morning he runs double as patrol surveillance. Backup for guard ones. The outpost could be hidden by radars and scanners, but what should prevent a Green-and-White from crossing their perimeter? At fifteen, Onyii is among the oldest in the camp. The younger ones, some of whom are new to living alone and some of them are just learning to be people again after becoming wild in the jungle, have difficulty adapting, staying awake during patrols, concentrating during school, not screaming in sleep . In some of them, their guns are bigger than them. But they are slowly turning into steel, turning into the kind of girls you can depend on during an attack, the kind of girls Onyii would be happy to have at her side in a fight. Proud, too.

His path takes her farther into practice fields where weapons training takes place. The jungle trees with their large, heavy leaves hide the girls from the top, and here there is enough foliage to absorb most of the noise they make as they shoot towards the shoreline. It arrives at the cliff and below it is the beach. Hand-to-hand combat also happens here, when it is scheduled, but during hot seasons, Onyii will occasionally arrive in his morning runs to see some of the girls already lying down, naked in the sun, giggling or rough, and recalled that many of them are still only children. And the sun for them is still a kind and loving thing. Some of them never looked up at a clear blue sky, at an unsuitable sparkle, and recognized a drone ready to drop a bomb on their homes. Perhaps some of them have seen and still don't care. Those always turn out to be good fighters. Reckless, but good.


Excerpt from Tochi Onyebuchi War Girls reprinted with permission. Copyright Penguin Random House.

Tochi Onyebuchi & # 39; s War Girls is out October 15, 2019; you can learn more and order it here.


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