Monday, December 8, 2014

Bloodchild by Octavia Butler

Aliens, stronger than we, are coming

Assorted stories and essays by Octavia Butler (her last book perhaps?) The strength of these stories is the unadorned and quietly ferocious voice. The reader is lulled into accepting perfectly normal American circumstances, followed in a page or two by the disorienting twist. What the reader assumed was normal will turn out not to be normal at all. Many of the stories have alien creatures, ugly all powerful creatures from other planets newly arrived on earth, needing something vital. These creatures are not deliberately cruel, they can be reasoned with, however, they demand complete submission from the initially confused humans. Bodily integrity is violated and the human victim does not overtly dislike it – they have learned to take pleasure in it.

The imagery is invasive and memorable. I especially liked the story, “The Evening and the Morning and the Night” about people trying to chew their way out of their own body. All the stories have a philosophical spine fused to a crazy imaginative skin.

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