In Deji Olukotun’s new novel, a Nigerian scientist stuck as a mid-level employee in the Houston laboratories finds himself with an opportunity to rip into the space-time continuum, to reclaim personal and national honor by returning the rocks to the moon “on behalf of all colonized people.” Equipped with such material, Olukotun would hardly ignore classic science fiction experiments and clichés. Nigerians in Space captures the cocksure attitude and dignified clip of the 1950s radio play, with more mischievous and macabre elements that reflect the frustration of anti-colonial and Pan-African politics.
The paroxysmal ethics of private military ventures are in the news again after The Wall Street Journal’s recent “Saturday Interview” with Erik Prince. He is now “chairman of Frontier Services Group, an Africa-focused security and logistics company with intimate ties to China’s largest state-owned conglomerate, Citic Group.” If you read the interview, then you know Prince is a savvy businessman, because he is a savvy like that. Why? Chinese trade surpassed American trade in Africa back in 2009. And, as WSJ’s David Feith is quick to point out, China-Africa trade could reach $385 billion by 2015.
Following the publication of Elizabeth Rubin’s profile of Shannon Sedgwick Davis (“How a Texas Philanthropist Helped Fund the Hunt for Joseph Kony”, posted October 21, 2013), readers have raised concerns about the New Yorker’s fact-checking process, as well as its apparent lack of interest in the legal and ethical implications of funding private military operations with secretly managed funds.