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Bloodchild and Other Stories

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  11,748 ratings  ·  1,126 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 ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 214 pages
Published October 2005 by Seven Stories Press (first published August 15th 1995)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  11,748 ratings  ·  1,126 reviews


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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
Michael
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2018
My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my blog.

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
...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: 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
...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
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
...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 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
...more
Claudia
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.
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
...more
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 ...more
Read By RodKelly
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I must now read everything she's ever written!'
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 ...more
Brad
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
Britt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, ...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.
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 ...more
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.
Naori
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. :)
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
...more
Kat
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-1
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.
Andreas
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic-sff, 2015
My full reviews of the stories aren't on GR but at my blog.

Octavia E. Butler didn't produce a large amount of shorter works, her favourite length was the novel. This collection gives a good impression to her work.

The stories seem to be hit or miss for me - when she uses phantasical elements or writes SF, I love the stories. But her dramatic writing doesn't work for me at all, as good as they might be.


“Bloodchild” • 1984 • novelette by Octavia E. Butler • huge insects use human males as child
...more
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 ...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- ...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
...more
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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.
“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.” 379 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.” 18 likes
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