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Bloodchild and Other Stories

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  14,643 ratings  ·  1,509 reviews
A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes "Bloodchild," winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and "Speech Sounds," winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, "Amnesty" is a story of a woman named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between hum ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 214 pages
Published October 2005 by Seven Stories Press (first published August 1995)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,643 ratings  ·  1,509 reviews

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Maggie Stiefvater
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, adult
Excellent. Disturbing. Distressing. Hopeful. Reading this collection reminded me of the lurching discomfort and curious longing I often felt when reading fantasy as a child. All the things I want out of speculative fiction.
Kevin Ansbro
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Those whom we love are often the most alien to us."
—Christopher Paolini

My review centres on Bloodchild, the better-known segment in this anthology - an extremely short sci-fi story, recommended to me by @apatt and @cecily.
As the story’s curtain rises, we are led into an intriguing scene of surreal domestic bliss, whereby (view spoiler)
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, recs
A collection of seven speculative short stories, featuring a pair of essays on writing, Bloodchild uses the tropes of science fiction to probe existential questions and imagine alternatives to the present. The fiction ranges from considering what a world stripped of speech might look like, to questioning how one might create a utopian society if granted godlike powers. In precise prose, Butler moves at a measured pace in all the stories, lending herself enough time to delve into the subtleties o ...more
My last night of childhood began with a visit home.

The short sci-fi/horror-lite story of the title, Bloodchild, opens thus. You know something significant, and probably not good, will happen. But at first, it’s a pleasant enough domestic scene: among the family, sipping a soporific but rejuvenating egg, snuggling against the velvet underside of someone’s (something’s?!) embrace.

The awareness of mysteries and taboos grows slowly, seeded by careful choice of vague but uneasy words: the need for
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, anthology
“I believed I was ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially hopeless. I also thought that everyone would notice these faults if I drew attention to myself. I wanted to disappear. I hid out in a big pink notebook—one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath.… There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these.”

This anthology includes two essays, one of which is autobiographical. I don’t no
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I love everything Octavia E. Butler writes. Though not every story was 5-stars from me, this collection of short stories was quality writing. Just really true perfection here. Made me want to re-read Octavia Butler's entire body of work.

Bloodchild- 4 stars
Very intense. I find it interesting that the author says in the discussion that this isn't a commentary on slavery because that is what it felt like to me. Sickly fascinating, I couldn't stop reading. My first time seeing mPreg outside of a ro
Emily  O
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: basically everyone
Bloodchild is a collection of short stories by the famous science-fiction writer Octavia Butler. The problem with most short story collections is that they are usually a mixed bag, populated with mostly mediocre stories speckled with a few stinkers and a few gems. Well, I am happy to report to you that Bloodchild is not like that at all. Every single story in this collection is captivating, intelligent, and written in a style that is clear and accessible without losing any of its sophistication. ...more
Octavia Butler never fails to delight me, make me think about things differently and make me feel... well, an awful lot of feelings!

I will not attempt to summarize the stories in this collection of short fiction: that whole book can be devoured in a couple of sittings, and if you enjoy speculative fiction, you owe it to yourself to check this out. These are stories about survival, love, family, language, intimacy, dreams and faith. Sometimes there are aliens, sometimes there is a disease and som
Raul Bimenyimana
Where do I begin with this treasure trove of a book? This book has fortified my love for Octavia E. Butler, a collection of eight wondrous short stories and two incredible essays all with afterwords from Butler herself.

The stories explore human relations with each other, with their environments and to those that are alien and unlike them. All bursting with lurid imagination, the short stories examine human experience and the essays told in simple wise words, some that I'd seen in quotes but foun
I gotta hand it to Octavia E. Butler. This is the first collection of short stories that I really, really liked. Usually I dislike them because as soon as I start getting into them, they end. I start the next only to flounder around still thinking about the previous story, and by the time my brain catches up and gets in the present one, it ends. Repeat the process throughout the book.

However, Ms. Butler was able to pull me into each new story on the very first page. I didn't have that moment of
As grim and bleak as Octavia E. Butler’s work is in many ways, there’s also always a sense that she believes in the possibility that individuals can, and do, find ways to survive any difficulty, although often at a great cost. She writes with a clear-eyed simplicity that allows the power of her ideas to come through without heavy neon signage or melodrama. Hugely influential, with very good reason, I wish that more SFF writers would trust their readers’ intelligence as much as Butler seems to ha ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Speech Sounds"

In a dystopian setup, people lost their abilities to read, understand words, speak, hear, etc because of a disease. Still, in such a dark, somber and depressing world, there is hope and humanity might still have the will to survive and to communicate with each other.

It is one of those short stories with a weight beyond words; loved it to pieces.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, anthology
“I believed I was ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially hopeless. I also thought that everyone would notice these faults if I drew attention to myself. I wanted to disappear. I hid out in a big pink notebook—one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath.… There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these.”

This anthology includes two essays, one of which is autobiographical. I don’t no
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
HOLY FUCKING COW! I rarely read sci-fi but Butler has the potential to become an author for me. I love her writing style and her ideas are really clever and engrossing! I usually struggle with sci-fi because I have a hard time understanding what's going on and how the world is shaped etc. but Butler's world building is so vivid and clear, it was confusingly easy to get lost in her writing. :D

Also, reading the foreword and all the afterwords for every single story has me convinced that the two o
Book Riot Community
Octavia Butler hit me with the humanity and relatability I didn’t know I was seeking in the often cool and clinical world of science fiction. This was my first Butler book and, as it turns out, I adore the writer as much as I adore the writing. Who couldn’t fall for someone who sets out to write a pregnant man story (“Bloodchild), and gets real about that day she was so disgusted with humans and our inability to communicate with each other that she had to tell a grim tale about the end of commun ...more
Read By RodKelly
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I must now read everything she's ever written!' ...more
Gretchen Rubin
OCTAVIA BUTLER, HERE I COME. I loved these stories, so thought-provoking. Butler has been on my reading list forever, and now I plan to read several this month.
Janelle Janson
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A new favorite!
Carla Remy
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
My favorite story is The Evening and the Morning and the Night, about the effects of Duryea-Gode disease.
Dawn C
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
A while ago, going by the frankly disturbing subject matters Butler always seemed to circle around, I commented that I felt like she wrote in order to deal with issues, that it was therapeutic for her. Now I finally picked up this collection of short stories, essays and afterwords, and there it was in her own foreword. That’s exactly why she writes. If she has a phobia, she turns it into a story. If something is upsetting to her, she explores it by writing about it. Both because of that and the ...more
Kimber Silver
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bloodchild outlines a symbiotic relationship between earthlings (Terrans) and the Tlic, native inhabitants of a new world that humans have fled to for safety. The Tlic, looking somewhat like crustaceans, provide Terrans with a safe haven in exchange for their willingness to assume a certain unsavory role. The story is told from the perspective of Gan, a young human male on the cusp of becoming one of those chosen. Gan explores what being selected means to him and his family, as the horror of bec ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Expecting the titular "Bloodchild" to be the pinnacle of the collection, I passed over most of these tales. Boy, was that stupid. "Speech Sounds" and "Amnesty" are equally fascinating and compelling. A personal and enthralling collection. ...more
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
Will try finishing one day. Below are the stories I actually finished

Bloodchild ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Evening and the Morning and the Night ⭐⭐⭐
Near of Kin ⭐⭐
Speech Sounds ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Crossover ⭐⭐⭐
I am never a fan of an author telling one’s readers what one was trying to accomplish when one set out to write one’s story, and I am even less a fan of an author telling the readers what one’s story means or doesn’t mean, so being faced with Octavia E. Butler’s afterwords for each story was not my favourite part of what was an otherwise strong cycle of her short works. But Butler, herself, is so amazing that her afterwords didn’t kill the experience for me (as I feared they would) and, once or ...more
Althea Ann
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think that everything Butler ever wrote deserves 5 stars.

This book is much too short (as was Butler's time on this earth).
It includes five previously published stories, an autobiographical essay, an essay on writing, and two new-to-this book stories.
As well, it includes brief 'afterwords' by Butler about each piece.

Everything in the book is superb, thought-provoking and fascinating.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I am floored. Every single story knocked me out. This is my first work by Butler. What I love about the 2 essays in particular is that she takes the most mundane happenstances and turns it on its head. She pulls this knotted, nasty, tangled web of characters out of anything from a bus ride or disease. I was enthralled the entire time.
Krista D.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I mean, really. She's the grand dame of science fiction. Of course this was excellent.
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Octavia E Butler is one of the greatest writers I have discovered in a long while. Intelligent and thought provoking - I found myself in green-eyed envy of her skill at taking such a simple writing style and imbuing it with such depth and meaning. Her contribution as a black American woman is invaluable to the usually Caucasian male dominated Science Fiction genre and this collection is an example of how very good Science Fiction writing can be. Not shying away from difficult and heavy ideas, th ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing. Powerful. You can't look away. ...more
Happy Birthday Octavia! Thank you for forever changing our imaginations and paving the way for women in speculative fiction! p.s. check out the google header for today. :)
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

After her father died, Butler was raised by her widowed mother. Extremely shy as a child, Octavia found an outlet at the li

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