- Hardcover: 145 pages
- Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Pr (September 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 156858055X
- ISBN-13: 978-1568580555
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 166 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,321,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bloodchild: And Other Stories Hardcover – September, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1995 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.
Top customer reviews
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. An extended dialogue between a woman and God, it is Butler's "utopia story," but her take on the perfect world explains much about why the ironies in her fiction still resonate: "I don't like most utopia stories because I don't believe them for a moment. It seems inevitable that my utopia would be someone else's hell." There is some version of heaven or hell for every reader in each one of these stories, but all of them are immaculately rendered.
From stories about a post-alien landing on Earth to humans who have traveled to other universes themselves, we see the desperation and drive that is ever-present in history and will continue into the future. This collection of short stories really drives home the fact that humans will always BE human and will always shine through no matter how difficult or dark the circumstances are. Our compassion may be hidden in some, but there will always be someone caring. One of my favorites stories is "Speech Sounds," where we see a woman struggling to hide a secret while protecting herself from the world surrounding her. "The Book of Martha" is the last tale told, highlighting how impossible it is to make a Utopia that everyone will be happy with... and a unique solution discovered along that way.
About halfway through the collection, we take a look into the past as we see a young Octavia struggling to make her way as an author... not only a science-fiction author, but a black female science-fiction author. As a young girl born black, in the south, poor, and in the 1940s, we see the determination of a woman who wouldn't take NO for an answer. She should be an inspiration to all aspiring authors.
Overall, I was very happy with this collection. It was great to view the world through Octavia E. Butler's eyes, and I can see why she won both Hugo and Nebula Awards. When she passed away in 2006, the science-fiction community lost a wonderful and talented storyteller, though her dreams will follow us into the future.
Our tale begins with several short stories included in this small, black, red, and yellow-covered book. The first story is the well-studied title read, "Bloodchild." I LOVED IT!!! From the moment that I read it as a college requirement, I loved this story. It is a Sci-Fi love story and I won't give anything away. I will say that Butler introduces the dynamics of the altogether otherworldly yet vaguely familiar creations of her head with the brilliance of Michelangelo's best hewn marble. There is never a moment's rest - never a moment that doesn't have you drooling and begging for more. This story is amazing and I LOVED IT! Oh ... I said that already. OK, moving on.
The next story is "The evening and the Morning and the Night." I wish I could just give you the first page so that you could get some sense of what this woman does when she puts pen to paper.
After I'd read the one story that I'd purchased the book for, I planned on putting the anthology to the side. I happened to just glance at the pages of the next story and I never put the book down again until I had read all four of the remaining stories.
If you enjoy science fiction, or utopian/dystopian reading, this is the book for you!
There was a story that I didn't like in the book, I think because it was totally outside of what I was used to reading from Butler. See if you can determine what that was and then post a comment to this review.
Enjoy this great read!!!