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Bloodchild and Other Stories Paperback – October 4, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
What really struck me about Bloodchild was the sheer emotional impact of each story. Because each story is such a perfect little world, and because the characters are so well realized, every story really packs a punch. I put down the book between each story, incapable of doing any real thinking because I was so blown away by what I had just read. I think the effectiveness of the stories comes from a mix of excellent writing and characterization and the way Butler uses those characters to explore complex ideas. One of Butler's strengths is in never letting her work become preachy or one-sided. Butler's ideas are as complex as her characters, and that makes her stories resonate in a very real and powerful way.
Usually, this would be the part of the review where I would tell you which stories were my favorite and which ones to skip, but I can't really do that with this collection, because they are all absolutely worth reading. I believe that Butler's most famous stories are Bloodchild and Speech Sounds, both of which are in this collection and both of which are absolutely mind-blowing. Bloodchild actually left me speechless and shaking by the time I finished it. Her other stories are more subtle, but are still incredibly well-written.Read more ›
My favorite of the collection, however, is her Hugo winning story "Speech Sounds". Some sort of cataclysm has hit our planet, one which has robbed humanity of the ability to speak and in some cases regressed the mental development of humanity to a more base level. Set in Los Angeles, "Speech Sounds" shows the loss of communication and what that does to society and we see it through the eyes of one woman who was on a bus when an incident occurred.
"The Evening and the Morning of the Night" is a story which sticks with the reader, though with me it was for the wrong reason I believe. This story features a hereditary disease which causes some people to lose their mind and try to dig their way out of their own skin and it is that image of people trying to do that to themselves that sickened me a bit, even though all that action occurred off camera, if you will. Interesting as a concept and well written, it is also one I would rather forget.
"Near of Kin" is Butler's one non-science fiction story and it is a story about family and perceived family. Quite good, but it would belong more in another collection than in a genre collection like this.Read more ›
Although the most famous piece is "Bloodchild" (Butler's "pregnant man story"), for my money the gem of the book is "Speech Sounds," about a woman who has mysteriously retained her functions of speech after a deadly disease has robbed nearly all the surviving population of the ability to communicate. (The basic set-up reminds me a little of Saramago's "Blindness," which was of course written much later.) The mute survivors attack the healthy for their "superiority" and so even those who can speak are forced to be silent and armed. The woman struggles to survive in the anarchic violence of a world "where the only likely common language was body language."
The final selection, "The Book of Martha" (one of the stories written in 2003), also shows why, five years after her death, Butler continues to be regarded as one of the best of science fiction writers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really cool and somewhat subversive stuff! Good horror and mystery/sci-fi stuff.Published 9 days ago by Kenneth
I read them for my english class, and boy was it weird. I should've known from the dystopian theme, that this book would be very different from conventional sc-fi novels. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joshua Emilio
Octavia Butler is brilliant. This is thought provoking and engaging.Published 3 months ago by Diane P
I am not an avid sci-fi reader but Butler's work has sucked me in. I read Kindred and Fledgling first then finally got around to this one. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Christina Harris