Short Story of the Day #5: “Hello, Moto” by Nnedi Okorafor

It’s baa-aack. I started the Short Story of the Day series in the spring of 2022, but was forced to discontinue it after our cat began her cancer treatment. But we’re back in the new year with the fifth Short Story of the Day pick: Nnedi Okorafor’s “Hello, Moto.”

Why “Hello, Moto”?

Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws are pretty tongue-in-cheek, but that hasn’t stopped generations of sci-fi nerds from latching onto them. The third gets the most traction, positing that: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Clarke was right; there is something downright magical about a scientific achievement so world-shaking that the layperson would believe it to be supernatural. I’m thinking here of the Corrino Empire’s Five Great Schools, or Marvel’s Wakanda and Asgard.

Fans of Remote Control and Noor will recognize many of the themes Nnedi Okorafor explores in her 2011 Tordotcom piece, and will likely appreciate her new tack on Clarke’s laws. In “Hello, Moto,” technological innovation gives a handful of women superhuman psychic abilities, but its inventor—a cyborg herself—soon sours on her creation. Narrator Rain, the aforementioned inventor, draws a line between technology and witchcraft in the story’s opening lines—and she’s quick to remind us that that delineation exists for a reason. Dangerous things happen, she says, when you “mix juju with technology,” and “both will conspire against you eventually.”

I can’t say much more without giving the whole story away. Go read “Hello, Moto,” and then let me know what you think.

My favorite line:

Her skinny jeans and t-shirt fit wonderfully snug. Her face was flawless. And her hair was power.

Click here to read “Hello, Moto.”

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Image credit: Olumide Bamgbelu on Unsplash