Lagoon (President is broadcast to all screens)

Brief description

Ayodele, the aliens' ambassador, has healed the ill Nigerian President, and he gives a televised speech to the nation that the alien technology causes to be broadcast to every screen in Nigeria and the surrounding countries, whether or not the screen was turned on: mobile phones, televisions, computer screens, advertising screens, everything. The President explains to the people that the aliens are friends that have brought new technologies and will make things better. Almost everyone in Nigeria instantly sees the speech, and they feel comforted and confident about the situation. 

[See similar situation in Bjørn Vatne's Død og oppstandelse, except there it is a digitised consciousness that sends the message.]

Pull Quotes

His guards followed behind him as he walked with the woman. “When the broadcast goes live,” she said, “it will appear on all of your people’s screens. As it did before. Everything with a screen will turn on, whether it is plugged in to anything or not.” He stopped walking, looking at her. She stopped too, and smiled a small smile. “Mobile phones,” she said. “Computers, desktops and laptops, televisions, e-readers, all things with screens.” “How?” he asked. “How do you do that?” She laughed. “The knowledge is in you. Ayodele made sure of that. We will explain, later. But for now, just be aware, you are reaching everyone in this city.” She paused. “Unless you’d like it to reach farther?”

He considered it. “Can you make it reach all of Nigeria?” “It won’t be exact, there will be some spillover into other countries, but sure.” “Okay, do it.” He considered his speech. No, he wouldn’t have to change much of what he was going to say. He hadn’t been thinking only about Lagos. He’d been thinking of his entire country. Yes, it was right.

Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon (pp. 268-269). Gallery / Saga Press. Kindle Edition. 

Then he spoke of alien technology and how the land would be pure and palm nuts, cocoa, and other crops would grow as they never had before. Extinct creatures would return and new ones would appear. Nigeria would have much to give the world—and to show it. “In the coming months, we will set up solid programs. The change will be both gradual and swift.” He paused. “Corruption is dead in Nigeria.” Then he smiled.

Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon (p. 272). Gallery / Saga Press. Kindle Edition. 

A woman who’d been walking down the middle of the busy dirt road that passed through the market wanted to throw her mobile phone away. She’d never liked mobile phones. She knew it sounded crazy, but she had always been sure that they could do more than anyone let on. She had a feeling that they could watch you. That they could speak to you at night when you were asleep and brainwash you. “Maybe this is why Ghana is still the way it is,” she’d proclaim. “Because we all use phones and they all control us.” Nevertheless, her boyfriend insisted she carry one. She’d only agreed because he was a sweet, sweet man and she liked the way he spoke Ewe, the language of her mother, whom she missed very much. She’d done exactly what he asked her to do, which was to carry the phone. When he called she answered, but that was as far as it went. She never used it otherwise. She wrapped it in tinfoil and kept it deep in her purse where it wouldn’t harm her. She’d never set her phone to vibrate, but vibrate and vibrate it did as she walked through the market. Finally, she brought the thing out and unwrapped it. It was talking. And it was showing the Nigerian president. It wasn’t made to do any such thing! Her boyfriend had assured her. And what the Nigerian president was saying made her stop and stand still for many minutes. When he finished talking, he disappeared from her phone’s tiny screen and there was the date and time again. Like normal. She frowned, her nostrils flaring. She squeezed the phone. Then she

Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon (pp. 277-278). Gallery / Saga Press. Kindle Edition. 

Work that the situation appears in

Title Publication Type Year Creator
Lagoon Narrative, Novel Nnedi Okorafor
Who does what?
Machine P.O.V
Not machine P.O.V.
I put the technology as cameraphone, but really it's screens, and I feel like I'm pushing things a bit to even include this. However, it's one of very few African works we've seen that touch upon machine vision. Perhaps it's telling that it doesn't use the technologies we see in other scifi.

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