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Bloodchild and other Stories Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 145 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888363363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888363364
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Collection of SF stories about gender and race.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA?Collected together for the first time are the complete shorter works of the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author. "Blood Child," her "pregnant man story," both a coming-of-age and a love story, revolves around a young man and an alien. In "The Evening and the Morning and the Night," two lovers faced with the stark reality of their deadly genetic inheritance have tough choices to make. The three other selections deal with incest and a dysfunctional family, alcoholism, and a disease that destroys humankind's ability to communicate through speech. The author leaves readers with a glimmer of hope in otherwise bleak situations. Each of the selections has an insightful afterword about Butler's inspiration for writing it and her own thoughts and comments about each one. Two very literate and readable essays about persistence in writing and growing up as a black, female science-fiction writer round out the collection. The youthfulness of some of the protagonists and the contemporary tone of the themes, viewed through a glass darkly, should appeal to YAs. Five intense, thought-provoking tales of people caught up in extraordinary situations.?John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

There are good science fiction writers.
Michael J. Mazza
If you enjoy science fiction, or utopian/dystopian reading, this is the book for you!
This is a very emotionally involving story.
Antoine Tardif

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This contains most of Octavia Butler's published short work, and it's a small book. But that does not mean that you should pass it up. At least two of the stories, I believe, are must-reads for anyone interested in science fiction.
* "Bloodchild" -- This is likely my favorite SF story. The situation is horrifying, yet believable, and, within context, entirely rational. Humans on a far away planet are forced to enter into a relationship with the native alien race that is strangely reminiscent of both slavery and concubinage, yet Butler actually was working from insect natural history. This is a powerful story, one that wakes up your mind.
* "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" -- This is the other fabulous story in this collection, another case of believable SF that comes near to horror. A disease that incites people to unthinkable crimes and the solution to the disease--as well as a close study on the type of people who administer the solution. You really can't do much better than this in SF.
* "Near of Kin" -- Not SF, and not a fantasy, yet not horror either. The subject matter is taboo in most fiction, so maybe that's how it ended up in an SF anthology. Well done. Enjoyable.
* "Speech Sounds" -- Really good story about a plague that affects the speech centers of the brain. Fast, but compelling, with an economy of plot--just enough to present the worse and the best of the situation.
* "Crossover" -- Boring, although not bad for a first published story. You can see how her background infused her stories early on.
* "Positive Obsession" and "Furor Scribendi" -- Reprinted essays on writing that should provide quite inspiring for burgeoning writers. Economical and smart.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on September 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are good science fiction writers. There are great science fiction writers. And then there are those extraordinary science fiction writers whose work both transcends and ennobles the genre. Such a writer is Octavia E. Butler, and "Bloodchild and Other Stories" is a stunning testament of her talent and vision. The pieces in this book have garnered two Hugo Awards and one Nebula (very distinguished honors in the SF world).
"Bloodchild" contains 5 stories (2 of them on the longer side) as well as two illuminating essays. In addition, Butler provides an afterword for each piece. The best of these stories are true masterpieces. "Bloodchild" is about the strange symbiotic relationship between a colony of humans and a very different alien species. In "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" the author creates a haunting portrait of a human subculture that has evolved as the result of a terrifying new disease. Also outstanding is "Speech Sounds," about what happens after a mysterious force impairs humanity's ability to communicate with written and spoken language.
Butler's essay "Positive Obsession" is an illuminating exploration of her distinctive life as a African-American woman who is also a successful SF writer.
Butler's writing style has a stark, painful clarity to it. She writes scenes of horror and despair, but also includes moments of tenderness and hope. Through it all, her stories are rich with insights into the universal human condition. If you are interested in science fiction, in African-American literature, in women's writing, or in the art of the short story, read this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Octavia E. Butler is a novelist, and her short fiction is sparse in quantity but incredibly generous in it's quality. As in her novels, she has this ability to take you deep down into the dark depths of the soul, and show you things both strange and fantastic. Concepts and torments of everyday existence wrench your emotions and make you think, then re-examine, then ponder the very substance of what makes one human....

The eerie novella "Bloodchild" was first published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1984, and it grips you with fascination whether this is the first time you have read it, or the fifth. Butler has described this as her "pregnant man story", but it is far more than that. Exceptionally well wrought and filled with wonder and amazement, it won her the Nebula and Hugo Awards for the stark portrayal of what it is like to be a human valued chiefly for your reproductive capacity. Only this time, the child is not human, and the "parent" keeps mankind as a much beloved but still unequal partner.....

The rest of the fiction in this collection is of the same superb quality and each piece has an afterword that brings into perspective Butler's thoughts and inspirations. There is a bonus in two autobiographical pieces at the end of the collection on what she calls "the art, the craft, and the business of writing." Whether you are a reader, or a writer, these pieces should not be missed....
The stories are as revealing about the reader as they are about the writer; they expose your own prejudices, emotions and motivations-as those of the protagonist are revealed in the writing on the page
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More About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the "grand dame of science fiction," was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter's Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.

Butler's first story, "Crossover," was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology. Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977. Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay's Ark (1984).

With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, "Speech Sounds," and in 1985, Butler's novelette "Bloodchild" won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.

Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995). Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The book's sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.

In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.


1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA
1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds
1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1995, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant
1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents
2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing
2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame
2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

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