Six extraordinary stories from the author of Kindred, a master of modern science fiction—including a Hugo and Nebula award–winning novella.
Octavia E. Butler’s classic “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards, anchors this collection of incomparable stories and essays. “Bloodchild” is set on a distant planet where human children spend their lives preparing to become hosts for the offspring of the alien Tlic. Sometimes the procedure is harmless, but often it is not. Also included is the Hugo Award–winning “Speech Sounds,” about a near future in which humans must adapt after an apocalyptic event robs them of their ability to speak. “The Evening and the Morning and the Night,” another esteemed title in this collection, is a Nebula Award finalist. In these pages, Butler shows us life on Earth and amongst the stars, telling her tales with characteristic imagination and clarity. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.
Collected in this slim volume is the entire output of short fiction from the pen of MacArthur Award winner Butler (Parable of the Sower). ``I hate short story writing,'' Butler admits in her preface; not surprisingly, then, there are only five tales here, ranging in date from 1971 to 1983. Two essays round out the volume: one an inspirational piece about making writing a habit, the other a more personal reminiscence about what it's like to be poor, female, black--and to persist in the writing of SF anyway. ``Bloodchild'' (which won both a Hugo and a Nebula ) is a compelling and horrifying novella combining a love story between a human and an alien with a coming-of-age tale; it is, as Butler puts it, a ``pregnant man'' story. ``The Evening and the Morning and the Night'' concerns genetic disorders, personal responsibility and pheremones; ``Near of Kin'' takes a sympathetic look at a dysfunctional family; and ``Speech Sounds,'' another Hugo winner, depicts a near-future society in which a virus has nearly destroyed people's ability to communicate. Here, too, is ``Crossover,'' Butler's first published story, which deals with the ghostly by-products of hopelessness and drudgery. Following each entry is an enlightening afterword that provides a refreshing look into Butler's writing process and that helps to clarify what excites and motivates this exceptionally talented writer.
Great Collection of Octavia Butler’s Short Stories
“Bloochild and Other Stories” is the only collection of Octavia Butler’s short stories published during her lifetime. In this collection, she explains that she was primarily a novelist, but rarely produced shorter works. This is one of the great things about these stories, they each have an afterward by the author explaining the genesis of the story, and her thoughts about each one. There are also two essays, that focus on Butler’s experience as a writer, one of which is autobiographical.
Ms. Butler is known for her tales that deal with the relationship between aliens and humans, and how very different that can be. This is exemplified in the titular story, “Bloodchild,” which explores the horrifyingly alien symbiosis that humans have developed with the Tlic who have allowed them to live on their world. “Amnesty” likewise explores the relationship between humans and the alien Communities who have come to Earth and learned to communicate with humans by experimentation. Noah is a child abductee that has become a willing translator for the Communities, because she finds them less cruel than her own species.
There are other types of tales as well. "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" deals with a horrifying new form of genetic disease, from the point of view of those who suffer from it. “Speech Sounds” is a form of post-apocalyptic story, where a viral pandemic has robbed humans of their ability to speak. “The Book of Martha” is a different story where a SF author is charged by God with the improvement of mankind. “Crossover” and “Near of Kin” aren’t necessarily speculative fiction at all, but are investing stories regardless.
Octavia E. Butler
You are truly an inspiration to all humans. So thankful you never gave up and pursued your writing. Sci-fi is the hardest genre to write, in my opinion because I read it almost exclusively. Bless you and yours.