Book Review: Bloodchild

13_br_bloodchildRead for: Feminist Science Fiction Fans – March 2014 Selection
Rating: 5/5
Octavia E. Butler is my FAVOURITE. EVER. Reading Bloodchild was bittersweet for me, I loved the collection so my instinct was to tear through it in one sitting. But then once it was over it was really for reals over because now I have read everything she has published and there will never be any more! *SOBS* Octavia was a self-professed novel writer (she has written 12 total, all wonderful) but this collection is of short stories she wrote over her career, including 2 non-fiction essays. She had such a great writing style; accessible, straight forward and incredibly creative. She wrote in her Positive Obsession essay that “as far as I know I am still the only black woman who does this [writes science fiction]” and as the only black woman writing science fiction she nailed it. Her stories predominantly featured black female protagonists with strong character development, and she often made very intelligent statements in her writing about race as well as feminism. This collection is no exception. My one and only complaint is that they were too short! They were like teasers! I want endless numbers of novels from Octavia so I can suck them all into my brain. Unfortunately Octavia has passed and we will all just have to savour what she has left for us. Boodchild swept a ton of awards including Hugo, Science Fiction Chronicle and Locus awards for Best Novelette in 1985, and a Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 1984. It’s hard to describe the title story without giving anything away, so you’ll just have to read it yourself! The Evening and the Morning and the Night was a strong story featuring a young couple infected with a disease which stood out for me. Speech Sounds was definitely my favourite though, taking place in a world where a virus has affected the population. Speech Sounds also won a Hugo award in 1984 for Best Short Story, and certainly deserved it. It could easily have been made into a novel, the premise was great and the characters had lots of room for growth. The two more recent stories included at the end, Amnesty and The Book of Martha, were also very engaging. Amnesty in particular would have made a great novel, and reminded me a bit of the Lilith’s Brood collection in that it was about relationships between the human race and an alien species (Bloodchild also involved this theme). Overall this is a fantastic collection of work by the late Octavia E. Butler, and if you are looking for a good starting point to get into her works, this is the place. I also strongly recommend the rest of her novels (all of them!). Here is my obsessive hoard of Butler books for your viewing pleasure:



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