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Bloodchild and Other Stories {second edition} (2005)

de Octavia E. Butler

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1,0663014,277 (4.26)4

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Short stories aren't my thing. Bloodchild was OK, but I liked the second story best, followed by the third. Octavia Butler has creativity and writing talent. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
3.75. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 4, 2021 |
In her introduction to the second edition of this book (which includes two new stories not in the 1995 edition), Octavia E. Butler admits that she is not great at writing short stories: most of them turn out to be part of a novel, and the ideas she wants to explore in her books don't fit the length of a short story.

What follows in the seven short stories and two essays that comprise the collection, however, are excellent works - mainly of science fiction - that explore all manner of life, whether it be human interaction with alien species or the results of a terrible genetic disease that causes people to mutilate themselves. The two essays delve into Butler's thoughts on writing, one autobiographical one that describes how she became a writer and the other her advice on writing. The pieces included span her writing from 1971 to 2003 and her afterwords sometimes explain the origin of the story or her unvarnished opinion of it. I haven't read enough of Butler's work to be able to say with any authority if this is a good starting point, but it does give you a flavor for the breadth of topics and genres she'll use to explore topics that interest her and inform her writing. ( )
  bell7 | Feb 21, 2021 |
In this short story (Speech Sounds; it was registered separately, but merged with this anthology; see the topic in Goodreads Librarians) - which can be downloaded for free from here or here, for example, or even listened to on YouTube: see here -, two men have a dispute, mildly put. It doesn't take much for the situation to escalate and both men to fight each other, or at least one of them to strike the first blow. And it happens, if only because of the bumpy road and the two men landing into each other.

The dispute doesn't occur through normal speech. Due to a virus of some sort, many can't speak any more - hence the title - and thus garble something to make themselves clear; if that is ever possible. Of course, gesturing is a good alternative. Rye, the main character, sees it all happening on the bus, but is far away enough to get away and not get hurt. She has not lost her speech, but the virus affected her read and writing abilities. This means that all the books she's written are of no use any longer. But she has too much respect for her own work to use it as fuel, next to wood.

But the row escalates, and Rye is saved by a man (named Obsidian, because of his necklace) wearing an LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) uniform and badge. He's also armed, as is Rye, if only to protect herself from the devolved state of the city's inhabitants. He's one of the many (so-called?) cops out there without a proper police force controlling the situation.

Rye was on her way to family in Pasadena, to seek a new life. Obsidian offered to play taxi, which she accepted, since her original plan (by bus) was no longer an option. During the ride, it becomes clear that he can read (maps and other things), but can no longer speak or understand spoken language. As Rye can no longer read or write, they communicate through gestures and touches. And so, one thing leads to another, especially when taking into account that Rye has been alone for the past three years, having lost her husband and children.

But as fresh as this new, possible relationship is, one intervention makes an end to it. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, as they say. Or was she (!), as sole survivor of the dreadful act? Two surviving kids, who still can (!) speak, give her hope. Hope that not all is lost, that mankind is not completely done for. Hope that there will be a better future, that people will learn to properly communicate with each other (again) and not revert to primal fighting to solve matters.

This quick read is not a happy one, far from it. Mrs. Butler explained at the end how the story (based on a true event) came to be. In fact, it's one of those stories that still take place, almost everywhere in the world. While it was written in the early 1980s, it could have been written anno 2017. Many disputes, for in many cases very trivial matters, are dealt with in an aggressive way (fighting, stabbing, kicking, punching, ...). Is it something genetic? Only to be controlled through social rules?

Anyway, heavily recommended food for thought. And only 13 pages long, eh, short. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
A great collection of essays and fiction (both sci-fi and not). My favorite is "The Book of Martha," where a person going about her normal business is called on by God to take his place. ( )
  jasonrkron | Jan 15, 2021 |
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There are two, similarly-titled versions of this anthology. This work is the second collection (2005) containing 7 stories and 2 essays. See contents in the Book description CK below.
The print and e-book editions contain the same stories, essays, and afterwards by Butler and should be combined.
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Média: (4.26)
2 5
2.5 1
3 24
3.5 12
4 99
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Seven Stories Press

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Seven Stories Press.

Edições: 1583226982, 1583228039

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