LaGuardia

Dated Nov 30, 2021; last modified on Tue, 30 Nov 2021

LaGuardia. Nnedi Okorafor; Tana Ford; James Devlin. 2019.
LaGuardia (2019) by Nnedi Okorafor. Image from nnedi.com

LaGuardia (2019) by Nnedi Okorafor. Image from nnedi.com

Winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Novel, and the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album - Reprint.

Aliens exist (first landed in Nigeria); human-alien in the world. Main character: Future, a Nigerian-American doctor. Future sneaks in LetMeLive, an alien, into America to escape a genocide (largely imperceptible to humans) on LetMeLive’s kind.

Anti-alien rhetoric appeals to fear of alien threat, and used to justify an alien travel ban in America. Human chides alien housemate for not being eager to attend the travel ban protests, but alien notes that they have more to lose being there. Another alien shapeshifts into a white man before joining the protest.

Sudanese foreign students stranded in LaGuardia by the travel ban that will go into effect in a couple of hours. The ban blanketed Sudanese arrivals, regardless of alien/human status. They note that the ban has nothing to do with them. However, they show anti-alien sentiment via backtalking them in Nuer (Sudanese language).

Neo-Biafra movement by Igbos in Nigeria who want to secede from Nigeria because of discrimination. The movement grew rigid that they burned the floral aliens (“contaminations”) who had sought refuge in Future’s and Citizen’s house.

One would logically expect the Sudanese and Neo-Biafrans to empathize with the plight of the aliens, but this is not always so. Happens in real-life too with different minority groups.

Future’s grandma in New York works as an immigration lawyer. Guides incoming immigrants through the unforgiving legal system, e.g. getting a Thai passport for an incoming human who has some alien DNA, because people with a Thai passport are somehow exempt from DNA screens.

Even without a language barrier, immigration law is hard to navigate, because of its complexity and ever-changing nature. Knowing how to navigate the system efficiently is yet another hurdle that an immigration attorney can help with.

features the idea that some words in an alien language cannot be translated into any human language.

Similar motif in Ted Chiang’s Understand , when the main character constructs a new language that is better suited for his superhuman intellect.

  1. LaGuardia. nnedi.com . www.thehugoawards.org . www.comic-con.org . Accessed Nov 30, 2021.