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Bloodchild and Other Stories

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  8,850 Ratings  ·  795 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, 2nd, 214 pages
Published October 2005 by Seven Stories Press (first published 2005)
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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)
...more
Cecily
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cecily by: Apatt
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
...more
Apatt
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthology, sci-fi
“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
...more
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
Kimber Silver
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Once you go alien, you really do never go back."
—Gini Koch

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
...more
Apatt
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
...more
Gabrielle
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 settings, 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
...more
fromcouchtomoon
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.
Britt
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Negativni
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bloodchild - ljudska kolonija na nepoznatom, naseljenom planetu mora "platiti stanarinu" tako što će biti domaćin larvama parazitske rase koja tu živi. Osvrt.
- 5/5

The Evening and the Morning and the Night - genetska bolest DGD izaziva samoozljeđivanje i psihozu pa se oboljele već na prve znake bolesti zatvara u institucije gdje mogu samo sebi nauditi. U odgađanju završnog stadija pomaže posebna dijeta, a oboljeli moraju nositi i posebne ambleme. U pogovoru Octavia kaže da je ova priča nastal
...more
Amanda
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
Dylan
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Stories

Bloodchild: 5/5
The Evening and the Morning and the Night: 3.5/5
Near of Kin: 3.5/5
Crossover: 2/5
Speech Sounds: 3.5/5
Amnesty: 3.5/5
The Book of Martha: 4/5

Essays:

Positive Obsessions: Positive reaction
Furor Scribendi: Positive reaction
Rod-Kelly Hines
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
I must now read everything she's ever written!'
Sara Mazzoni
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I racconti contenuti in Bloodchild and Other Stories di Octavia Butler (inedito in italiano) spaziano dalla fantascienza all’horror, fino a inattese incursioni nel realismo. Il clima non cambia, a prescindere dal genere di riferimento: si percepisce la presenza di un mistero da svelare, che si chiarirà con lo scorrere delle pagine; le società e gli spaccati di vita ritratti sono sempre carichi di elementi oppressivi e angoscianti; ad essi però si accompagna la fortissima volontà di resistere dei ...more
Parvoneh
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Octavia Butler writes with such clarity and inertia that I don't even mind that I didn't like this collection much. Missed my subway stop as pages turned and turned. She's got big ideas and I like big ideas. She does admit that she's a novelist over a story writer, though, and I agree. The prose wasn't really very different from Parable of the Sower, it's just the pacing--stilted. Many of these stories felt like ideas, ideas that are tacked to the board, stark. Ok, I see what you're doing here. ...more
Wendy
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing. Powerful. You can't look away.
Anna
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the smartest, most thought-provoking books I've read in a while. I can't believe it took me so long to discover Octavia E. Butler.
Theo
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't know if it was a refreshing read after a bout with Cormac McCarthy, but this small collection of short stories and two essays was amazing. Butler is characterized as a sci-fi/fantasy writer, but these shorts have only have trace amounts of those genres. The stories themselves are strong narratives that employ slight variations on reality to move the plot while quickly developing readers' understanding of the characters.

This collection perked my interest in picking up a couple of her nov
...more
Valyssia Leigh
This was a rare gem among anthologies. One of the few, in my experience, that was well deserving of a five star rating, and I compared it to the creme of the crop. Anthologies by such august authors as Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Flannery O'Connor and Isaac Asimov didn't resonate as well. What parted Bloodchild and Other Stories from many of its contemporaries, in my opinion, was its sense of purpose. These stories weren't written simply to entertain. They were aimed at specific issues that trou ...more
katwiththehat
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
What a superb collection of short stories in the sci-fi genre by the wonderfully talented Octavia Butler. I loved all of them. Bloodchild was particularly creepy. I also loved all the medical/ethical questions raised in each story, which is really one of the core values of sci-fi and dystopian writing, but that sometimes gets lost in crazynew worlds and the like.

Please excuse typos. Entered on screen reader.
Sunil
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2013
Bloodchild is my introduction to grand dame of science fiction Octavia Butler, but like most short story collections, it's a mixed bag. The two non-genre stories ("Near of Kin" and "Crossover") are the weakest, and the award-winning "Bloodchild" and "Speech Sounds" are the strongest, both powerful and evocative. The former deals with a horrifying arrangement between aliens and humans, and the latter tells a story without dialogue, as humanity has lost the ability to communicate with words. I als ...more
Downward
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Octavia Butler's Bloodchild collection serves as a clinic on worldbuilding, and how to deal with social issues in fiction without sacrificing story in the name of politics. These stories, all but one science fiction, each feature a world unique in its depiction of future dystopias of disease, violence, alien occupation, or alien visions of pregnancy that mostly feature female protagonists grappling with moral issues. The most obvious and effective lens through which to evaluate these stories is ...more
Chon Mkliiry
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The story 'Blood Child" is fucking crazy. It is a well thought out post-colonialist allegory to the experience of living as a fringe member of society. I do not want to spoil it too much, but the story takes places in the future as humans are made the servant class of an extraterrestrial race. We are used as house pets, "friends" and as a vessel for their reproduction. This story is uncanny, creepy and genius. Very well thought out and an example of science fiction doing what it does best- illum ...more
Antonio
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it


Bloodchild: A+
The Evening and the Morning and the Night: A
Near of Kin: B+
Speech Sounds: A
Crossover: A (reads like something good written by Raymond Carver)
Amnesty: A+
the Book of Martha: D (annoying, pointless, preachy, reads like a ridiculously self-centered mashup of those movies where Morgan Freeman plays God, videos of Sunday school, and The Matrix)

I found the essays Birth of a Writer and Furor Scribendi enjoyable reads, A for both.

Overall, this is a great collection. I recommend it to scif
...more
Liz
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m almost angry that I’m not teaching my science fiction soon because I really really want to teach the stories in this book. All of them are fascinating in their own way and as a collection that illustrates how different Butler is from anyone else writing then. Her approach to fiction as a way of refusing a kind of naive optimism without allowing her pessimism to end in nihilism makes her work unlike anyone else's. And her commitment to working out the implications of her premises and their ef ...more
Bob Rust
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Preface (Bloodchild and Other Stories) • (1995) • essay by Octavia E. Butler
Bloodchild • (1984) • novelette by Octavia E. Butler
The Evening and the Morning and the Night • (1987) • novelette by Octavia E. Butler
Near of Kin • (1979) • short story by Octavia E. Butler
Speech Sounds • (1983) • short story by Octavia E. Butler
Crossover • (1971) • short story by Octavia E. Butler
Positive Obsession • (1989) • essay by Octavia E. Butler
Furor Scribendi • (1993) • essay by Octavia E. Butler
Vincent Stoessel
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one is for the fans. Great individual of stories of people and possibilities. In my opinion Octavia was one the best dystopian creators in fiction. Right up there with George Orwell and Margaret Atwood but unique in that it incorporates the experiences of African American characters and their history and culture. This book also provided 2 great essays that gave me more insight into the life of the late Grandmaster of SF, Octavia Butler. 2 books to go before I've read all of her works.
Beverly~Lady B
Did not finish this short story. It was the subject matter and not Octavia Butler's brilliant and descriptive writing that, unfortunately, did not sit well with me. And as to the subject matter, I wouldn't exactly classify the relationship between the Tlic and Terrans(humans) as symbiotic, especially when humans are utilized as host vessels to propagate an alien species.

P.S.
This was my very first Octavia Butler and Sci-Fi read, I will read from this author again, her writing style and imaginati
...more
Tim
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ea ...more
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5,587 followers
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.
More about Octavia E. Butler
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice.” 308 likes
“Positive obsession is about not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts. Positive obsession is dangerous. It’s about not being able to stop at all.” 14 likes
More quotes…