Friday, February 19, 2010
I read the short story Bloodchild years and years ago and forgot how good it was. I didn't know it was in a larger short story anthology, and was happy to find the chance to read more Octavia Butler. She mentions in one of the extra essays in the back of the book that she's the only black woman who makes her living writing sci-fi, and after reading the short stories, I want to read some of her novels. The stories in the mix touch on interspecies love (via a parasite kind of relationship); biblical incest in present-day life; disease's effect on progeny and coping; a total breakdown of language's affect on society; and finally what the lives of the crazy people who work in dead-end jobs that we quickly look away from must be like. The one about disease was very interesting in the way the characters deal with a degenerative genetic disease and how that affects their plans for creating a family. Of course she takes the plot on a perpendicular turn from there, but I thought the whole story was interesting.
That's all I'll really say without ruining more of the plots than I already have, but if you like alternative fiction, give her a shot. I'm going to give some of her novels a shot, perhaps even this year.
Also, in another essay she recommends audiobooks to gain a further understanding of the way language is used, so take that, audiobook doubters!