The Science Fiction Element in the Novel
We’ve only just started reading Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson, but the tone of the book is already very interesting. This book is supposed to be a science fiction book, which it is, but so far it doesn’t really feel like that when I’m reading it. However, there are definitely elements of science fiction in the book. For instance, when it is describing Tan-Tan’s birth, it talks about Ione not really liking the whole idea of actually caring for a child and when Ione actually gives birth, almost immediately she “shouted at Antonio to activate the wet-nurse, purchased to help Ione with the breastfeeding” (Hopkinson, 46). This really gives the feeling of the wet-nurse being a robot of some kind, and it is a good way to bring in the science fiction element without making it seem over the top.
Reading farther, we learn about the eshu, which is the AI that’s connected to the whole planet. Something that we talked about in class, which I thought was interesting, was the fact that the eshu is almost the slaved inhabitant of the world. Not only that, but it also can speak up when it wasn’t needed, like when Tan-Tan was dressing, and it can apparently lie or at least not tell the whole truth: “‘Searching…’ the eshu whispered quietly. Usually it could get information instantly from the web data banks. ‘I don’t know plenty about them, young Mistress,’ it said finally. “Indigenous fauna, now extinct.'” (Hopkinson, 33). This is so interesting to me because it definitely suggests that the eshu is not telling Tan-Tan everything about her question and is actually avoiding answering. It really makes me wonder what part the eshu might have to play in the future of the book.