Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ku'gbo, by Dare Segun Falowo

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(African Fantasy Adventure; Àlá Stories) Akin hunts the invisible white rams that are said to be eating his village’s food (5,799 words; Time: 19m)

"Ku'gbo," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|18, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Akin is a young man from Lagos, Nigeria who committed suicide. He dwells in the land of dreams, waiting to be called to heaven to give account. At the end, by helping the ku’gbo get enough food (despite what humans stole from them), and for standing with them against the human attack, he achieves his goal and rides the waterfall up into the sky.

A few Yoruba words occur a lot, and definitions help make sense of the story:

“Ile Aye” is the “house of the world,” i.e. our world. Àlá is a Yoruba word that means “dream.” When Abeke says that Akin is “the one who dreams inside a a dream,” she’s being quite literal.

Likewise, “Oju” just means “eye,” in this case, the eye at the heart of dreams.

The white ku’gbo, which guides Akin, is (I think) the spirit of his dead father, since he calls it “baba,” which means “father.”

His destination, Takiti, means “humor” in Yoruba. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but it certainly speaks of a pleasant afterlife.

I’m not sure if there are any intentional similarities to Lovecraft here other than the exploration of a dreamworld that’s rich with strange places and unusual names, but it has a little of that feel to it.

Con: Akin doesn’t have a lot of agency for most of the story; he just sits around dreaming and waiting for a miracle to happen.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 05-06|18)
Dare Segun Falowo Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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