... gorgeous ... Episodic and organic, the story winds along with a limber rhythm that allows every rich detail of Sankofa's surreal world to surface. It's a cumulative narrative, a slow burn that builds in emotional urgency even as the scope of Okorafor's worldbuilding bursts into something breathtakingly vast ... By story's end, Okorafor pulls a neat trick: She uses the way in which legends morph throughout time to add another level of ambiguity to Sankofa's origin and fate. It's a delicious ambiguity, though, one that blurs the lines between worship and fear, between machine and flesh, between corporation and culture, and between death and reclamation ... multifaceted.
... a richly rewarding look at identity and independence as Sankofa develops her own convictions, even as everything she knows and loves—her home on a shea fruit farm, her family, her identity—is taken away from her. At times bloody and grim, Okorafor’s straightforward prose highlights Sankofa’s precociousness as she tries to make sense of her frightening new abilities ... One of the most striking sections of the novella is where Sankofa is persuaded to embrace the idea of normalcy. Here, Okorafor illuminates a painful part of the teenage psyche ... Okorafor adds just the right touches of adult condescension and pubescent compliance to build a familiar scenario that resonates with many a reader—memories of being young and confused and stubborn, but secretly hoping for guidance and acceptance ... while references to 'remote control' within the context of witchcraft escaped me, it conjured an elusive sense of mystery that kept the pages turning until there was nothing left to read ... Some of the most pleasant passages are where Sankofa spends time in the bush, away from prying eyes and opportunistic adults who might use or abuse her. It speaks to a long heritage of fiction that explores young personhood and its place in nature, where human concepts of control are absurd and arbitrary ... Okorafor smartly avoids needless worldbuilding details—instead, she drops neatly-sized crumbs that draw easy parallels between our current reality and Sankofa’s world ... a charming read, opening up a universe of possibilities for more (or perhaps, in a world where we expect things to go on forever, perhaps Remote Control is, in fact, just right as it is).
Easy to read, emotionally gritty, and wildly imaginative, this is a short novel that takes readers into that wonderful place in fiction where genres collide and great character development leads to unforgettable protagonists ... the kind of narrative that seamlessly blends together the best of various genres ... Despite the plethora of enjoyable elements present, what truly makes it a satisfying read is Okorafor’s writing. Okorafor has a deep understanding of human nature and knows the ways a single element can make someone an Other even within their own culture ... Remote Control shines ... this is a great addition to her already stunning oeuvre.