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Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E.…

Bloodchild and Other Stories (original 1984; edition 1996)

by Octavia E. Butler

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7882111,673 (4.18)35
Title:Bloodchild and Other Stories
Authors:Octavia E. Butler
Info:Open Road Integrated Media (2012), E-book
Collections:Read but unowned, Kindle

Work details

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler (1984)

  1. 30
    Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars by Nisi Shawl (goddesspt2)
  2. 10
    Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams (sturlington)
    sturlington: Contains the Butler story "Speech Sounds." If you like that story, you might like other stories in the collection.

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Friday Flashback: Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild and Other Stories

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler (Open Road Media, $14.99).

If you’re already a fan of Octavia Butler, you won’t need to be told how good these stories are; if you’re not a fan, what are you waiting for? Go read them now.

The most famous is the title story, “Bloodchild,” which is a sort of “if men could get pregnant” tale—although in this case, the men in question have more in common with invertebrates.

That’s what’s so wonderful about science fiction. You can call someone spineless and it’s not an insult.

Also in this collection is ”The Evening and Morning of the Night,” a sort of pseudo-creation story (“and it was morning and evening, the first day” is from Genesis), but in this case, a hereditary disease brings madness and self-destruction.

And one of my all-time favorites, “Speech Sounds,” set in a post-apocalyptic L.A., where people can neither make nor understand speech—in fact, they can no longer recognize words. The gypsy bus driver puts up pictures of what he’ll take in trade for rides, and people who recognize language are suspect. It’s not an accident that this story was selected for a Hugo Award.

This collection also includes two essays on writing, ”Positive Obsession” and “Furor Scribendi,” as well as two previously uncollected stories, ”Amnesty” and “The Book of Martha.”

Bottom line: Whether she’s dissecting human nature by looking at aliens or making humans seem alien by questioning our assumptions, you won’t do better than Butler. ( )
  KelMunger | May 8, 2014 |
There are too few stories in this book. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
There are too few stories in this book. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
Second book for the twenty-four hour readathon!

Bloodchild and Other Stories is -- unsurprisingly -- a collection of short stories. The book comes with an introduction by Octavia Butler which explains that she wasn't very good at short stories, because most of them weren't meant to be short stories. The ones in this volume, however, were. And each story comes with an afterword by Butler, explaining what she thinks needs to be said about the story.

Bloodchild: I found this quite disturbing, especially when I'd read Butler's afterword about what inspired the story. Her ideas, though, are fascinating, and it's fascinating to know where they came from. It didn't take long for me to pick up what was happening in the story, though I felt a bit at sea at the start. It has themes that link in with her other writing, not surprisingly -- people being bound together, the responsibilities people who are bound together have for each other, co-existence of different races, and though she says it isn't about that, yes, slavery.

The Evening and the Morning and the Night: A story about genetic diseases and self-destruction, and again, about responsibility -- if you can help someone, do you have to? Scary, yes, and always likely to be relevant. The afterword offers a little reading list, which is nice.

Near of Kin: A sympathetic story about incest, as the afterword says. Not at all speculative fiction.

Speech Sounds: This one reminded me of Day of the Triffids and books like that. It's sort of post-apocalyptic, with the apocalypse being the loss of communication for most people. It's a punch in the gut, in the middle, but it does end with hope.

Crossover: I didn't like this one very much, and wasn't entirely sure what was going on. Again, not speculative fiction, more like realism. The afterword does make sense of it.

Positive Obsession: An essay about how Octavia Butler came to be a writer, with the last section being about what use this has been to black people. Worth reading, and not at all tedious -- quite short, actually.

Furor Scribendi: A very short piece on what you have to do to write. Pity I only have this on my Kindle, I'd like to print it out and show it to the other members of my creative writing group. Particularly the guy who refuses to listen to me when I correct his grammar and punctuation. I like the way she called a creative writing workshop "rented readers".

Amnesty: Back to short stories. The usual themes of Octavia Butler's work crop up here, and if I wasn't in the middle of a readathon, I'd be looking up the story that inspired this -- the real life of Doctor Wen Ho Lee. It's an interesting story, another aliens-coexisting-with-humans one.

The Book of Martha: A black female author is asked by God to make the world a better place. Octavia Butler's attempt at creating a utopia -- a fascinating idea, and I agree with her that a utopia is a very difficult thing to construct, because it would be different for each person.

The one irritating thing about this book was that, unlike many Kindle books, you couldn't jump between the beginnings of the different stories. You just have to go straight through linearly. No complaints about the content -- the stories were different, though they had similar themes in several cases, and Butler's writing style is matter of fact and easy to read. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This is spooky and good. ( )
  veracite | Apr 7, 2013 |
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The truth is, I hate short story writing.
If you work hard enough at something that doesn't matter, you can forget for a while about the things that do.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Collects these stories
"The Evening and the Morning and the Night"
"Near of Kin"
"Speech Sounds"
"Positive Obsession" (essay)
"Furor Scribendi"(essay)
"The Book of Martha"
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A collection of chilling fiction, including Hugo and Nebula Award-winning stories, from Octavia E Butler.

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Seven Stories Press

2 editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.

Editions: 1583226982, 1583228039

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