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An original and eerily prophetic writer, Octavia E. Butler used the conventions of science fiction to explore the dangerous legacy of racism in America in harrowingly personal terms. She broke new ground with books that featured complex Black female protagonists—“I wrote myself in,” she would later recall—establishing herself as one of the pioneers of the Afrofuturist aest An original and eerily prophetic writer, Octavia E. Butler used the conventions of science fiction to explore the dangerous legacy of racism in America in harrowingly personal terms. She broke new ground with books that featured complex Black female protagonists—“I wrote myself in,” she would later recall—establishing herself as one of the pioneers of the Afrofuturist aesthetic. In 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, in recognition of her achievement in creating new aspirations for the genre and for American literature. This first volume in the Library of America edition of Butler’s collected works gathers her 1979 masterpiece, Kindred, one of the landmark American novels of the last half century; her final novel, Fledgling; and her collected short stories. In Kindred, Dana, a Black woman whose husband is white, is pulled back and forth between the California present and the pre–Civil War South, where she finds herself enslaved on the plantation of a white ancestor whose life she must save in order to preserve her own. Gripping and suspenseful, the novel uses the conceit of time travel to plumb the mutilating structures of slavery and the terrible cost they continue to exact. A woman wakes up covered in burns in a mountainside cave with no knowledge of who she is or what has happened to her. In time she discovers that she is a vampire, and that there are others like her. Among the long-lived Ina, though, Shori is something new: an experimental birth, containing African American human DNA that gives her brown skin and the feared and fearful ability to go out in sunlight. Part murder mystery, part fantasy thriller, Fledgling is Butler’s incomparable take on the vampire novel. This Library of America volume also includes eight short stories and five essays—including two previously uncollected—as well as a newly researched chronology of Butler’s life and career and helpful explanatory notes by scholar Gerry Canavan. Butler’s friend, the writer and editor Nisi Shawl, provides an introduction.


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An original and eerily prophetic writer, Octavia E. Butler used the conventions of science fiction to explore the dangerous legacy of racism in America in harrowingly personal terms. She broke new ground with books that featured complex Black female protagonists—“I wrote myself in,” she would later recall—establishing herself as one of the pioneers of the Afrofuturist aest An original and eerily prophetic writer, Octavia E. Butler used the conventions of science fiction to explore the dangerous legacy of racism in America in harrowingly personal terms. She broke new ground with books that featured complex Black female protagonists—“I wrote myself in,” she would later recall—establishing herself as one of the pioneers of the Afrofuturist aesthetic. In 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, in recognition of her achievement in creating new aspirations for the genre and for American literature. This first volume in the Library of America edition of Butler’s collected works gathers her 1979 masterpiece, Kindred, one of the landmark American novels of the last half century; her final novel, Fledgling; and her collected short stories. In Kindred, Dana, a Black woman whose husband is white, is pulled back and forth between the California present and the pre–Civil War South, where she finds herself enslaved on the plantation of a white ancestor whose life she must save in order to preserve her own. Gripping and suspenseful, the novel uses the conceit of time travel to plumb the mutilating structures of slavery and the terrible cost they continue to exact. A woman wakes up covered in burns in a mountainside cave with no knowledge of who she is or what has happened to her. In time she discovers that she is a vampire, and that there are others like her. Among the long-lived Ina, though, Shori is something new: an experimental birth, containing African American human DNA that gives her brown skin and the feared and fearful ability to go out in sunlight. Part murder mystery, part fantasy thriller, Fledgling is Butler’s incomparable take on the vampire novel. This Library of America volume also includes eight short stories and five essays—including two previously uncollected—as well as a newly researched chronology of Butler’s life and career and helpful explanatory notes by scholar Gerry Canavan. Butler’s friend, the writer and editor Nisi Shawl, provides an introduction.

30 review for Kindred / Fledgling / Collected Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories by Octavia E. Butler It was after I read a review for Butler's story Kindred, that I found that I could read this book with several of Butler's novels, short stories, and essays. I was especially drawn to Kindred, the story of a black woman in 1974, who is whisked back to the early 1800s, whenever one of her white ancestors is in dire danger. After two such trips back in time, the third time Dana's white husband is pulled back in time with Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories by Octavia E. Butler It was after I read a review for Butler's story Kindred, that I found that I could read this book with several of Butler's novels, short stories, and essays. I was especially drawn to Kindred, the story of a black woman in 1974, who is whisked back to the early 1800s, whenever one of her white ancestors is in dire danger. After two such trips back in time, the third time Dana's white husband is pulled back in time with her, making things safer for Dana since now she has a white "overseer". Dana has to make sure some of the atrocities that happened to her ancestors happen again. If things don't happen as before, many people in the time onward won't exist.  It's a very cruel situation and all Dana can do is try to change the attitude of her white ancestor, hoping to insert compassion and empathy into his already hardened and corrupted heart. We are there in the lives of the black slaves and free black people, people who can lose that freedom at the drop of a hat or the whim of a cruel white slave owner. This was my favorite story that I read in this book although it was strange reading something written in 1974, knowing that the wording would be different, if written in today's times.  Fledgling is the story of a young black woman with amnesia. She discovers that she is a vampire and she's not alone. Because of her dark skin, she is able to be outside in the daylight so this gives us one of many new takes on vampire stories. This is only my second vampire story so I don't have much to compare it to but it's obvious that Shori and her black kind are unique in the world of vampires.  All of Butler's work is interesting and this book led me to learn more about her through research of her history. Much of the work drew me in because I enjoy Sci Fi. Butler did a great job with this genre.  Publication date: January 19th 2021 Thank you to Library of America and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pat (not getting friend updates currently)

    Octavia E. Butler This is an interesting compilation. It contains two entire novels - the first and last books she wrote and a series of short stories and essays on the art of writing. Butler is apparently a legend in the sci-fi community, her stories are a sort of blend of sci-fi, fantasy and horror - it’s an interesting combination of genres I don’t read very often. I had, however, read Kindred before. It remains one of my favourite books. Dana, a 26 year old African American woman from 1976, i Octavia E. Butler This is an interesting compilation. It contains two entire novels - the first and last books she wrote and a series of short stories and essays on the art of writing. Butler is apparently a legend in the sci-fi community, her stories are a sort of blend of sci-fi, fantasy and horror - it’s an interesting combination of genres I don’t read very often. I had, however, read Kindred before. It remains one of my favourite books. Dana, a 26 year old African American woman from 1976, is thrust back in time over and over to save the life of Rufus Weylin, the very white son of a Maryland plantation owner, so that he can go on and father her great-great grandmother. It is a very dangerous time and place for her, one which she has no training for and little understanding of. Although Rufus likes Dana and knows she is saving his life over and over he is still the product of his own upbringing. He is nice to her but cannot see her as anything other than a man’s property. This was nothing like any other slave memoirs or epics I’ve read or seen on film. It’s somehow more confronting in being told from the point of view of a modern black woman and poses the question of how easily can people be trained to accept slavery. The last book Butler wrote, Fledgling, was completely different. This a vampire story but not the usual kind of vampire. These people (tall, thin, pale and fair haired) called Ina, live among humans and, although they do drink blood, they don’t generally kill and their human ‘blood donors’ choose to be with them in a mutually advantageous arrangement. The humans are called symbionts. Many reviewers in the past made a thing about the main character, Shori, looking pre-pubescent (even though she was 53) and feeling uncomfortable about that or how this story is a triumph for LGBTQI people. I have to say I didn’t take any of that from the story, I saw it as simply a celebration of diversity and acceptance and a more communal and different way of living. Apart from that, I was absolutely riveted by this tale told very convincingly from Shori’s POV after she awakes, in pain, injured and with no memory. She has to find her way in the world but there are forces arrayed against her as she is a unique genetic blend with black skin and the unique ability to withstand sunlight. She has to fight for right to live. The short stories are all very different. Some appear almost normal and some really lay on the ‘ick’ factor. They are all Octavia E. Butler though - subtly exploring humanity and relationships in all the variations and forms. I highly recommend this to all readers. Huge thanks to Netgalley and the Library of America for providing me a copy to review. My opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kaa

    On the whole, a very strong collection of Octavia Butler's work. This compendium includes Kindred and Fledgling (her only two novels that were not, at the time of her death, part of a longer series); eight short stories with afterwards by the author (all seven of the stories collected in Bloodchild and Other Stories as well as one of the two stories in Unexpected Stories); and five essays (three from Bloodchild and two others). This manages to cover almost exactly the portion of Butler's oeuvre On the whole, a very strong collection of Octavia Butler's work. This compendium includes Kindred and Fledgling (her only two novels that were not, at the time of her death, part of a longer series); eight short stories with afterwards by the author (all seven of the stories collected in Bloodchild and Other Stories as well as one of the two stories in Unexpected Stories); and five essays (three from Bloodchild and two others). This manages to cover almost exactly the portion of Butler's oeuvre that I had not yet read before picking up this book, a feat of serendipity that I greatly appreciate. It also includes an introduction by Nisi Shawl - a thoughtful and fitting tribute to Butler's work and life - as well as a chronology of Butler's life and notes on texts at the end. It also includes an introduction by Nisi Shawl - a thoughtful and fitting tribute to Butler's work and life - as well as a chronology of Butler's life and notes on texts at the end. I had previously read Kindred, and did not re-read it in this collection. Suffice to say that it is an incredible work - one of my favorite Butler novels, vying only with the combined Earthseed series for the top spot. This is an extraordinarily powerful work of literature. Five stars. Fledgling was the only remaining Butler novel that I had not previously read, and unfortunately, it is also easily my least favorite of her books. While her writing is as engaging as ever, I found the story a bit tedious, occasionally overwhelmed by description and exposition. The juxtaposition of Shori's childlike appearance with her sexual encounters was too uncomfortable for me, even though Shori's voice never sounded childlike. Two stars. However, although I didn't like Fledgling, I think that this novel, in combination with the other stories collected here, does give a good sense of Butler's writing style and themes that were of interest to her - namely power, morality, sexuality, communication and compromise across difference, the creation of community, choice and free will. I loved all but one of the short stories. They touch on all of the themes just mentioned, and do so with Butler's characteristic creativity and originality. Her stories include ideas that also appear in her novels, like aliens and telepathy. I think it was a good choice to end this section with "The Book of Martha", which combines cynicism and hope for a truly Butlerian utopia. The third section of the book consists of five essays, including the preface to Bloodchild. These are all fairly short, but provide a nice way of rounding out the book. They express a little more explicitly some of the thoughts and experiences that underlie Butler's fiction and offer some insight into how she viewed herself and her work. Finally, there is a chronology of Butler's life, some notes on the selection and presentation of the texts, and reference notes, which will be useful for anyone looking for more information about the author or the works included in this collection. In sum: there isn't really anything new in this book, but it does a good job of gathering together several separate works and arranging them with a nice introduction and some informational closing material. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    As stated in the title, this lengthy collections offers the reader a broad perspective of Butler's work. It includes her most renowned novel, Kindred, her final novel, Fledgling, eight short stories, and five essays. This is probably not a volume to be read in one sitting. The two novels are wholly different in tone, subject matter, and writing style. The short stories are all remarkably good, which is interesting because Butler did not enjoy the constraints of that medium. Finally, the essays a As stated in the title, this lengthy collections offers the reader a broad perspective of Butler's work. It includes her most renowned novel, Kindred, her final novel, Fledgling, eight short stories, and five essays. This is probably not a volume to be read in one sitting. The two novels are wholly different in tone, subject matter, and writing style. The short stories are all remarkably good, which is interesting because Butler did not enjoy the constraints of that medium. Finally, the essays are fairly short, intriguing, and includes lots of advice for budding science fiction writers. “Kindred” was not Butler’s first novel, but is her most well-known novel. Kindred is a heartfelt, passionate novel that explores what happens when a modern African-American woman of 1976 is magically transported to Maryland of 1812, which apparently was actually a Slave state, not a free state, at that time. What makes this time-travel historical fantasy work so well is that Butler has a character with modern sensibilities thrust into history, powerless to effect change, and condemned to personally experience slavery, not clinically removed as a reader of history, but experiencing it in the here and now. In doing so, Butler gives us real human characters on all sides of the plantation, not caricatures, people who are complex. Butler also shows how people are often so much products of their time and how difficult it is for them to break out of the paradigms of that time, both practically and intellectually. First of all, though some may question whether this is science fiction, Butler’s mode of time travel is similar to the magical transportation that Edgar Rice Burroughs used to transport John Carter to Barsoom. Here, Dana starts to suddenly disappear and wakes in a different time. She returns when her life is in mortal danger. A couple of interesting twists on time travel is that months in 1812 only are experienced as a loss of hours or days in 1976. Thus, every time Dana appears in 1812 or subsequent years, she has barely aged, although every one else has aged. The other thing is her time travel is intrinsically linked to danger to the life of her distant relative, Rufus, heir to a plantation-owning family. Her mission it seems is to save him from fate. At times, he seems to understand that slavery is wrong, but other times he turns about to be as hard and cruel as imaginable. The linkage between the two is an odd fixture of this novel and can lead one to wonder if it is was only just imagining rather than real time travel. The other interesting part of that is that Dana’s genetic past is linked through both sides of the equation: through Rufus, the slaver, and Alice, the slave. Thus, she bears both the scars of pain and the guilt of the oppressor. Kindred is well-written and boldly crafted. Butler doesn’t shy away from anything in this novel and it’s power cannot be denied. Fledgling was Butler's final novel and it simply does not measure up to the talent Butler displays in Kindred and Parable. It's a fairly unique take on the vampire myth, but it just feels flat. There's no music here. The words don't have any melody, no texture, no rhythm. Renee/Shori is an amnesiac Ina or vampire who lives off the blood of humans in a symbiotic relationship. The enzymes she emits allow them to feel ecstatic for her bite and prolongs their lifespans. Like others of her species, she lives for centuries, not decades, and at 53 years, not fully mature, but appears like an eleven year old. Which brings us to the creepy aspect of this novel as Shori's bite is sensual and her connection with her symbionts is on a sensual level, a sort of unnecessary plot device. In the end, Fledgling is a disappointment, but perhaps worth a second look down the road. Overall, quite a collection in one little volume.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leticia

    Original, deep, and thought provoking. I will continue to read other books by Octavia E. Butler after this awesome collection. Kindred - Not an easy read, but deeply touching. - 5 stars! *********************************************** Fledgling - This YA vampire style story with weird adult content (pedophilia) is well written but the mentioned content made me not like this part of the book. Adding to that, I have already read too many vampire stories so it's nearly impossible for me to be surprise Original, deep, and thought provoking. I will continue to read other books by Octavia E. Butler after this awesome collection. Kindred - Not an easy read, but deeply touching. - 5 stars! *********************************************** Fledgling - This YA vampire style story with weird adult content (pedophilia) is well written but the mentioned content made me not like this part of the book. Adding to that, I have already read too many vampire stories so it's nearly impossible for me to be surprised by any vampire tropes. - 2 stars *********************************************** Collected Stories I really like the short stories, they are extremely well written. Childfinder - Interesting short story. I would like to read a whole novel about that world. It felt like a chapter of a longer story. 4 Stars Crossover- Great, well-written and deeply touching short story of real life struggle. 5 Stars! Near of Kin- I won't say much not to spoil it, but quite original. 4 Stars. Speech Sounds - Well written, dystopic short story with a dash of hope, beautiful and touching. - 5 Stars! Bloodchild - Original story about humans and aliens. - 4 Stars The Evening and The Morning and The Night - 3,5 Stars Intriguing story about a genetic disease and its implications. Amnesty- Very original story about alien invasion and first contact. - 5 stars! The Book of Martha - A short story that makes you wonder what would you do if you were in Martha's place. 4 stars. ******************************************** Essays: Her essays have a lot of awesome advice for writers. I was writing down my favorite quote: "It's amazing what we can do if we simply refuse to give up." - 5 stars! ******************************************** Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    TimInCalifornia

    This collection is a necessary and meaningful recognition of Octavia Butler's brilliance as an author. Reading Kindred nearly 20 years after I first read it, I recalled all over again what an education it was about life in the ante-bellum south. The complexity of human relationships within the plantation slave economy on a day-to-day basis is vividly depicted. Butler must have been an incredibly brave and resilient woman to take the journey she must have taken to write all those characters so sy This collection is a necessary and meaningful recognition of Octavia Butler's brilliance as an author. Reading Kindred nearly 20 years after I first read it, I recalled all over again what an education it was about life in the ante-bellum south. The complexity of human relationships within the plantation slave economy on a day-to-day basis is vividly depicted. Butler must have been an incredibly brave and resilient woman to take the journey she must have taken to write all those characters so sympathetically. I remember liking Fledgling when I first read it but also being somewhat disappointed, having hoped for another novel along the lines of the Earthseed series. I enjoyed Fledgling much more this time, finding more layers in the symbiotic relationship, the mutualism of the humans and vampires. In the isolation here of 2020, where human contact and connection is so reduced, I was particularly struck by the emphasis on a relationship structure where no person, no being, could survive on their own. Survival literally depended on having several close relationships and on physically touching and being touched, not necessarily in a sexual way but in a way that lets others in, allows for casual, caring contact. The short stories were a nice addition but the jewels in this Butler collection were hearing her own reflections on the writing of and meaning of those stories. Like the essays that were included, Butler's voice reflecting on her work adds a warmth that makes this feel like a personally curated selection of her stories. Truly an author we lost too soon. Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy of this book and the opportunity to give a review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received a copy of Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories in exchange for a fair and honest review. Octavia E. Butler is a foundational author of science fiction – yet I had never had the pleasure of reading her works. Not until very recently. Horrible of me, I know. When I saw Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories, I knew that this was my chance to finally correct that mistake. Included in this collection are two full novels (Kindred and Fledgling), eight I received a copy of Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories in exchange for a fair and honest review. Octavia E. Butler is a foundational author of science fiction – yet I had never had the pleasure of reading her works. Not until very recently. Horrible of me, I know. When I saw Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories, I knew that this was my chance to finally correct that mistake. Included in this collection are two full novels (Kindred and Fledgling), eight short stories (Childfinder, Crossover, Near of Kin, Speech Sounds, Bloodchild, The Evening and the Morning and the Night, Amnesty, and The Book of Martha), and several essays. Together, this collection gives a cohesive view at Octavia E. Butler's writing. Mind you – this is far from being a collection of everything she's written. That would make for a significantly larger and more unwieldy tomb. Kindred ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Kindred is one of those foundational science fiction/time travel novels that I've been hearing about all of my life. Written by Octavia E. Butler, it's been a novel sitting on my TBR list for way too long. Time to correct that mistake. Kindred is a blend of science fiction, and historical fiction, with strong time travel, fantasy, and memoir elements mixed in for added elements. It follows Dana, a woman with a strong connection to a dark time in America's history. She is the descendant of slaves, a fact that is thrown into the forefront thanks to the unexpected ability to travel back in time. But only to one focus. Over the course of this novel, she learns about the causes for her trips, as well as the history – and horror – of her family's past. “Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of "wrong" ideas.” Honestly, I am so blown away by Kindred. I don't even know where to begin this review. I can already see why Octavia Butler is so highly talked about – and can't wait to continue reading through her works. This novel is moving for a variety of reasons. The combination of fiction and fact makes for a raw and painful read – but it's also powerful and beautiful. It addresses many issues, but it does so through a specific lens, and I hope that this will make it more approachable. It certainly worked well in regards to increasing the impact. As this is a book that had me crying on more than one occasion. “Like all good works of fiction, it lies like the truth.” Kindred is a novel to read if you want to be fascinated, horrified, blow over, and more. It portrays a darker side of history, and humanity, all while raising many interesting points and questions. It'll shake you to your core, as it should. Fledgling ★ ★ ★ Before now, I've only read one other novel by Octavia Butler, and that was only recently. Still, I just knew that I had to read her take on vampires. Seriously, I had such high hopes, even before reading the description of this tale. Fledgling begins with our girl waking up. She has no memories, she's hurting, and she's hungry. Slowly, her functions and her memories return. As does her understanding. Of the world, and of herself. She's a vampire, and she knows what that means. What she has to do to survive. This is Octavia Butler's take on vampirism, blending common tropes and elements known to vampire lore together with her own unique take and twists on the matter. Despite the vampire elements, this is wholly a science fiction story, as further reading will reveal. “When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.” I'll confess, Fledgling left me stumped. Mostly on how to review and rate it. On the one hand, I love that it surprised me. It has been a hot minute since I read a vampire novel that was more firmly set in science fiction rather than fantasy. On the other hand, this novel made me fairly uncomfortable at times. And not for the reasons you might be assuming. I know that vampires can come in all ages and sizes – and that the way they look is not automatically representative of how old they actually are. Still, it was off-putting to read about a young-bodied (read: child) vampire with an old soul and history. It's a theme I try to avoid when diving into vampire books, so this is not a dig aimed at Octavia Butler. I want to be clear on that count. “Or it's happening because Shori is black, and racists—probably Ina racists—don't like the idea that a good part of the answer to your daytime problems is melanin.” Thankfully, Butler's writing is still really amazing and impressive. Once again she managed to raise so many other elements and questions to the surface, and that made this read worth it. Even if I didn't enjoy the parts I already mentioned above. Fledgling is probably not a vampire story for everyone. Still, it did make for an interesting and emotional read. Just not for the reasons that I had anticipated. Childfinder ★ ★ ★ ★ Childfinder is a fascinating yet thought-provoking story. It is one that feels like it both begins and ends in the middle – yet that actually works in its favor. Though I don't think any reader would say no to learning more about this world, or the characters within. Crossover ★ ★ ★ ★ Crossover is a short story that cuts to the quick, especially for anyone who has spent any time in a factory. The soul-crushing nature of the tale really does jump right out at the reader here, once again showcasing how talented of a writer Octavia Butler was. Near of Kin ★ ★ ★ ★ Near of Kin is another heartbreaking and poignant short story. What I'm starting to get at here is, this is a collection everyone (especially science fiction fans) should be putting aside some time to read. Also, as the afterward made a point of emphasizing – this short has absolutely nothing in common with Kindred. They do not share the same world, or anything else. It seemed obvious while reading, but now it feels important to clarify. Speech Sounds ★ ★ ★ There are stories that break your heart, and then there's Speech Sounds. This entire short reads as being so very tired and worn out. It leaves a somber impression, which after reading the afterward, was at least partially the intent/mindset at the time. Bloodchild ★ ★ ★ ★ Bloodchild, in many ways, felt like the heaviest science fiction short of the bunch (so far), something that must be appreciated. Honestly, this world and concept are really heavy, and yet it is so tempting to say that I want to see it explored further. It delves deep into a dark implication, and leaves the reader lost in thought. The Evening and the Morning and the Night ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Oh god, I honestly think that The Evening and the Morning and the Night might just be my favorite short story out of this entire collection. Yes, it's dark. But it's also brilliant and so intense. I would have given anything to keep reading. Amnesty ★ ★ ★ ★ Amnesty is inspired by the events surrounding Doctor Wen Ho Lee of Los Alamos (1990s). You can feel the weight of the words, and perhaps it's just me, but the connection to the real world felt so very strong in her writing here. The Book of Martha ★ ★ ★ ★ The Book of Martha is the only Utopian story in this collection, and it is so different from many of the options floating out in the world. I really appreciated this unique view, including the twists of this particular conversation. Lost Races of Science Fiction Lost Races of Science Fiction is the first essay included in this collection. I've decided not to leave star ratings for these – but I do strongly urge them to be read as well. They're fascinating and insightful. Here, Octavia Butler speaks out about the treatment of minorities in fiction. Her personal experience, history, and observations. But also the impact, and the importance of their inclusion. It's a powerfully written essay. Positive Obsession Originally titled “Birth of a Writer” (in Essence magazine), Positive Obsession is Octavia Butler's story of how she came to be a writer. From where and how she learned to read, to her driving passions as a child, and forward on as she kept up the battle. Furor Scribendi Furor Scribendi is probably the easiest essay to summarize: it's a condensed guide/speech for new writers. You can tell that this is something she probably had to repeat on several occasions over the years! The Monophobic Response This is an introspective essay. Just as much so for the readers as for the writer, as is surely intended. This one is absolutely worth reading, for the ways it will get you thinking. Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Blackburn

    Octavia Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Stories and Essays: Library of America. This is a large omnibus of Octavia Butler's writings including: two very good novels, eight of her best stories, and several essays on science fiction, race, and other things. In Kindred a young black woman is transported back in time and place over and over in order to save her great-great grandfather from himself or she will cease to exist. In Fledgling, a young black girl finds out through harsh realities that she is Octavia Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Stories and Essays: Library of America. This is a large omnibus of Octavia Butler's writings including: two very good novels, eight of her best stories, and several essays on science fiction, race, and other things. In Kindred a young black woman is transported back in time and place over and over in order to save her great-great grandfather from himself or she will cease to exist. In Fledgling, a young black girl finds out through harsh realities that she is part of a vampire clan and seeks to re-join them. The stories are excellent, like the award winning "Bloodchild" and the equally stunning "Childhunter". The Library of America volumes are always done very well. I don't read much paper anymore (digital/eyesight), but I've got their Philip K. Dick collections and Gary K. Wolf's Science Fiction Novels collections. They do a good job. This Butler collection is a great introduction to her work and a great collector's volume

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Not surprisingly, a solid collection of stories from a well-respected author. Her talent shines brightly here, and this will likely appeal to most sci-fi fans, particularly those interested in stories dealing with racism. Recommended. Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Opal E

    Octavia Butler has been on the top of my too read list for many years. I do not know why I hadn’t gotten round to reading her just yet, but I know that I couldn’t pass the opportunity when I saw this collection. I have only read the two novels so far, but they pack quite a punch. I have to take a break from it to think, but I look forward to reading the short stories and the essays to better understand Ms Butler. Her writing style is uniquely her own, drawing you in intimately through the thought Octavia Butler has been on the top of my too read list for many years. I do not know why I hadn’t gotten round to reading her just yet, but I know that I couldn’t pass the opportunity when I saw this collection. I have only read the two novels so far, but they pack quite a punch. I have to take a break from it to think, but I look forward to reading the short stories and the essays to better understand Ms Butler. Her writing style is uniquely her own, drawing you in intimately through the thought and emotional process of the protagonist. The stories are very personal, exploring contradicting and difficult emotions, always making you face the power struggles of the world, advocating communication and making you horrifically aware of the barbaric injustices of the past and of today just because of a person’s skin colour. I could not put down her books, and even though the pace was deceptively gentile, the tension was there to keep you wanting to know how it all ends. In both Kindred and Fledgling the hero is a black woman, and her life being threatened arises directly from that. While Kindred is a time travel book (can you imagine the horror of being a modern dark skinned woman transported back to the slave period in America?), Fledgling is about the first darked skinned vampire thanks to genetic modification. Both books deserve a lot of analysis and debate, but while Kindred was just plain amazing, I had a lot more trouble with Fledgling. I can understand that Ms Butler wanted the most symbolically powerless form of person imaginable as a hero: a black female child with amnesia. And obviously she wanted to turn all the world’s prejudices on their head, giving that child power. Including sexual power. And that’s where I could not sit happily reading that book. I know it is metaphorical, I know Shori is not meant to be human at all, but a vampire alien creature who has a different biology/needs/culture (which by the way is amazingly well created and believable), I know she is actually over 50 years old, but only a child in her species too and looks like a 10 year old human. And sexualising a child is monstrous. That is the reason I do not know how to feel in general about Fledgling. So much of it is important in the xenophobia fighting front, and at the same time it builds and integrates in its storyline, and as a positive at that, something I am horrified with. Paedophilia is a horrendous crime still in existence, and not enough is done to fight it effectively. I am now the bearer of a terrible dilemma that right now I do not know how to deal with, and even after finishing the novel, and it’s powerful ending words, I cannot say if it was good or not. It aims, I’m sure, at making readers uncomfortable but I can’t help but think if could have been achieved in a little less shocking way. One that wouldn’t further hurt people that have been powerless victims too. I don’t want to end the review that way. Because Kindred was excellent on all levels, and held some essential messages, but I feel a little sucker punched, and I think there should be a fair warning to any reader. I will keep reading the stories, but I do think I might need a little pondering before I can go on.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    This initial Library of America edition on Octavia Butler includes two novels (Kindred, Fledgling), a number of short stories, some essays, and a cogent introduction by Nisi Shawl. There is also a chronology that provides a biographical outline of her life and work, plus notes on the texts. As Shawl notes in her introduction, Butler's work could be unsettling and disturbing. This was intentional. It is also clear from her essays that Butler used her writing to examine issues that were personally This initial Library of America edition on Octavia Butler includes two novels (Kindred, Fledgling), a number of short stories, some essays, and a cogent introduction by Nisi Shawl. There is also a chronology that provides a biographical outline of her life and work, plus notes on the texts. As Shawl notes in her introduction, Butler's work could be unsettling and disturbing. This was intentional. It is also clear from her essays that Butler used her writing to examine issues that were personally unsettling to her. She was not an optimist about much of humanity, but wanted to offer hope. The first Black woman to succeed in publishing science fiction, she achieved some financial stability only when she was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. She died at 59 from the result of a fall on an icy sidewalk; she would have been 73 this year had she lived. She was working on material for a sequel to her last book, Fledgling. Who knows what else she would have developed? Her novel Kindred is often taught in school. This LOA compendium would make a good text for teaching, as it enhances the text of Kindred with notes and also provides perspective on Butler's life through the introduction and the chronology.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Court

    I got this for the short stories but highly recommend this absolute steal to anyone who isn't familiar with Kindred or Fledgling already. My sentiments remain the same after reading any of Butler's work. It's timeless. It's legendary. It's the blueprint. Simple as that. I got this for the short stories but highly recommend this absolute steal to anyone who isn't familiar with Kindred or Fledgling already. My sentiments remain the same after reading any of Butler's work. It's timeless. It's legendary. It's the blueprint. Simple as that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC. This is a collection of works from Octavia Butler, the "grand dame" of American fiction. I've read Kindred before, and the previous exposure didn't lessen my fascination. The book really conveys, among many things, how dangerous time travel would be if you aren't a white man. It was a singular experience to reread it while votes were tabulated for the 2020 US election and we elected a woman of color as Vice President. I struggled more with Fled Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC. This is a collection of works from Octavia Butler, the "grand dame" of American fiction. I've read Kindred before, and the previous exposure didn't lessen my fascination. The book really conveys, among many things, how dangerous time travel would be if you aren't a white man. It was a singular experience to reread it while votes were tabulated for the 2020 US election and we elected a woman of color as Vice President. I struggled more with Fledgling, Butler's final novel. It's about a young vampire who has been genetically engineered with more melanin so she can withstand sunlight. It's a cool premise and a fascinating story about power in a very different way than Kindred, but there's an awfully squicky element that felt utterly superfluous. I really wish the editor had discussed this in the introduction and set in in context. The essays and short stories that make up the rest of the book are stellar. I particularly enjoyed "Bloodchild" and "Speech Sounds", two of the finest science fiction stories I think I've ever read. As an unexpected treat, we have Butler's comments after each story that more information about the inspiration and her thought process.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    A huge thanks to NetGalley for sending these works by Octavia Butler!. I have read Parable of the Sower, but other than that, had not read anything else by the author. Because of this, I was extremely excited to discover how much I would enjoy some of her other works, and I was not disappointed! In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I have already ordered several more of her books!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ab

    This was an excellent collection of Octavia Butler works (see table of contents at the end of this review) and perfect for long time fans and readers new to Butler. Prior to reading this collection, I had only read "Parable of the Sower," though "Kindred" had long been on my TBR shelf. I felt as though I read the full range of Butler in this collection. I'll leave my full reviews of "Kindred" and "Fledgling" with their respective full titles, but know that both are masterful explorations of race This was an excellent collection of Octavia Butler works (see table of contents at the end of this review) and perfect for long time fans and readers new to Butler. Prior to reading this collection, I had only read "Parable of the Sower," though "Kindred" had long been on my TBR shelf. I felt as though I read the full range of Butler in this collection. I'll leave my full reviews of "Kindred" and "Fledgling" with their respective full titles, but know that both are masterful explorations of race, gender, and power dynamics with elements of science fiction. "Kindred" involves mysterious time travel, and "Fledgling" involves vampires. The short stories are all wonderful, and each felt like they were seedlings for full blown novels. I am in awe of Butler's creative and imaginative mind, from alien creatures to post-apocalyptic worlds to stories of cultural heritage and family and mind reading. And the essays were the icing on the cake! Reading the collection in exactly the order presented was absolutely PERFECT, and the essays brought full illumination to Butler's mind and interior workings. She actually mentions in one essay that short stories were always her least favorite to write, finding them difficult to separate from novel projects. She also provides "afterword" for each of the stories, further illuminating where the idea sparked from or what the story was actually about, not leaving it to critics to find something that might not be there. From her autobiographical essay, we learn that Butler has always been painfully shy, finding it difficult to gain a foothold in the world. She also struggled with writer's block at varying parts of her life, and poverty, working odd jobs to piece together a survival. The book is a must read for any fan of Science Fiction - her essay on race in the genre was brilliant! Especially in today's world of continued racial issues and the book world movement to bring writer's of color and diverse voices to the publishing world en masse. Her mind was such a powerhouse, and I feel so lucky to have been able to read this wonderful collection. Titles included in this collection -- NOVELS: Kindred Fledgling COLLECTED STORIES: Childfinder Crossover Near of Kin Speech Sounds Bloodchild The Evening and the Morning and the Night Amnesty The Book of Martha ESSAYS: Lost Races of Science Fiction Furor Scribendi The Monophobic Response Preface to Bloodchild and Other Stories

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shannan Hicks

    It makes me so happy that Octavia Butler's works are being compiled in this amazing collection. I didn't know that she had so many short stories. I have been a huge fan since I read Kindred in college. What a great addition to a personal or public library. She is a master of science fiction, and I say that as a person who really only reads her science fiction. I highly recommend nd will be purchasing. It makes me so happy that Octavia Butler's works are being compiled in this amazing collection. I didn't know that she had so many short stories. I have been a huge fan since I read Kindred in college. What a great addition to a personal or public library. She is a master of science fiction, and I say that as a person who really only reads her science fiction. I highly recommend nd will be purchasing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    Octavia E Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories (LOA #338) is a wonderful volume of Butler's work. Like all of the Library of America volumes it is both attractive and includes an excellent introduction. Though not in the title, an element that makes this even more valuable for me is the inclusion of her essays. They are powerful and still, to this day, relevant. Like many Kindred was my introduction to her writing. I quickly went back and caught up then waited eagerly for any new works. Octavia E Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories (LOA #338) is a wonderful volume of Butler's work. Like all of the Library of America volumes it is both attractive and includes an excellent introduction. Though not in the title, an element that makes this even more valuable for me is the inclusion of her essays. They are powerful and still, to this day, relevant. Like many Kindred was my introduction to her writing. I quickly went back and caught up then waited eagerly for any new works. I taught Kindred several times and it never failed to generate amazing discussion among my students. And between rereading it and what my students talked about, I always learned something new each time. Such is the nature of Butler's writing. I realize different people have books for reading repeatedly and those for reading once or twice. I will never get rid of my copies of her novels, but this volume, like similar volumes for other writers, seems to offer me something close to a fresh look. What I mean is this: when I pick up one of my weathered copies of Kindred, for example, I will remember previous readings of that specific copy. There will be notes in the margins. In other words, there is no way to even trick myself into approaching the novel as something new. When I open this and start reading, a nice copy that is not marked up either physically or psychically, it is as close as I can come to reading a familiar work with new eyes. And I welcome such an experience. If you have not had the opportunity to read some of her essays, I think you will find them to be both powerful statements about her life and experiences as well as offering new insights into her fiction. Don't skip them, they are wonderful. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kel

    There are no words adequate enough to shower praise on this collection of works by Octavia Butler. One of the most prolific science fiction writers there ever was. An area where not many of people of color ventured, she opened the door widely. You can travel back in time or imagine a woman Professor X, keeping children with special abilities safe. She even breaches the subject of mental illness. This collection will enthrall you, as Ms. Butler's stories pull you in. There are no words adequate enough to shower praise on this collection of works by Octavia Butler. One of the most prolific science fiction writers there ever was. An area where not many of people of color ventured, she opened the door widely. You can travel back in time or imagine a woman Professor X, keeping children with special abilities safe. She even breaches the subject of mental illness. This collection will enthrall you, as Ms. Butler's stories pull you in.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angel 一匹狼

    What a treat! This book should be recommended reading everywhere. It was an amazing read and a welcome surprise, because, even if I had heard of Butler, I had never read her before, and I entered the book without expectations. The book includes two novels and some short stories, and also a couple of short essays at the end. The two novels are "Kindred" and "Fledgling", both of which touch on gender and, in particular, race issues. Those topics are also more or less relevant in the short stories. " What a treat! This book should be recommended reading everywhere. It was an amazing read and a welcome surprise, because, even if I had heard of Butler, I had never read her before, and I entered the book without expectations. The book includes two novels and some short stories, and also a couple of short essays at the end. The two novels are "Kindred" and "Fledgling", both of which touch on gender and, in particular, race issues. Those topics are also more or less relevant in the short stories. "Kindred" is the best of the two novels. It is just astonishingly good. It tells the story of a woman who time travels to the past, without her having a say in it. She finds herself around 150 years in the past and soon discovers that her time travelling seems to be connected to her ancestor and that her mission is to save his life. The thing is that she is a black woman and this ancestor is the son of a slave owner. Butler does an amazing job in creating a really good time travel story that touches on very important topics in a very sensitive and intelligent way. It is a story that makes the reader think, wonder, keep guessing and is a conversation starter. It is really well written, with great rhythm and very well developed and well-rounded characters. You won't find caricatures here. Everyone feels like a real person, and Butler is able to set up some very smart and ambivalent moments that don't give easy answers. "Fledgling" is also really good, but it is not as well rounded as "Kindred", in particular because the way Butler handles the topics of the story is way more heavy-handed. Here we have a little girl that we soon learn is a vampire (or kind of), with amnesia, alone and lost. The first part, with her lost and trying to make sense of the world that surrounds her is amazing, and Butler creates a world that is believable and an array of very interesting characters. The second part, though, falters, is a tad too long and the behavior of a couple of the characters seems out of a B-movie as if she was in a rush to finish the story. It is a pity because it takes a little from the story and from the impact it has on the reader. The short stories are all of good quality, with original set-ups and a surprising focus on relationships and what makes beings connect and respect one another. A couple might be a tad too short, but that is a minor quibble. The essays are also short, but interesting, even though she seems to be criticizing herself in one of them (in regards to the way of introducing characters of color and women in the stories when you compare it with the heavy-handed way in which she does this in "Fledgling"). Of course, being decades old, some of those paths have been well trodden, but it is always interesting and important to revisit why sci-fi and fantasy were (are?) so male and white dominated and how, because of that, some ideas and messages became habit (or rule). To summarize: one incredible novel, one really really good one, some very interesting short stories and a couple of essays that will make you think. What else can you ask about a book? Little more. So, go and grab a copy as soon as you can! The best: "Kindred" by itself is worth the price of admission; Butler is not afraid of raising questions and of giving answers The worst: the second part of "Fledgling" is too B-movie-ish Further reading: Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ, Heinlein and Herbert 8.5/10 (English, original) *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy*

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I read this as an introduction to Octavia Butler. I had somehow never read her work before. This was a wonderful introduction to an author who everyone should know about and who should be on those "read at least something by this author before you die" lists. First, this is a tome. It includes two full length novels, a short story collection, and a collection of essays about writing as art and craft. I doubt all of these items will speak to one person, unless they are already in love with all th I read this as an introduction to Octavia Butler. I had somehow never read her work before. This was a wonderful introduction to an author who everyone should know about and who should be on those "read at least something by this author before you die" lists. First, this is a tome. It includes two full length novels, a short story collection, and a collection of essays about writing as art and craft. I doubt all of these items will speak to one person, unless they are already in love with all things Octavia Butler. But it was a great introduction to her work that is able to display her range and imagination. Kindred is her first, and most famous, novel. It is the least like what I think of as science fiction. A black woman is pulled back through time to save her ancestor, and her ancestors' enslaver, whenever he is near death. Short periods of time pass for the woman and her white husband, living in California in the 1970s, but years pass on the Maryland plantation she visits where her ancestors lived. Themes of race, identity, freedom, and enslavement are of course evident. But there is also exploration of fate, heritage, and how the past may wound the present. I wish I could have a literature class exploring this work alongside an American history course. Next is Fledgling, Butler's last work. This is a vampire novel, but no one sparkles. They are all pale and almost all blonde though. Except our black protagonist, whose human, black, DNA provides advantages linked to natural selection for the Ina race. The book is entirely first person, and our protagonist is very likable. There is murder and conspiracy. There is a lot of sex and sexual-like interaction (the form the vampire biting takes here). It is easy to forget that our protagonist looks like a prepubescent girl, since she is actually 54, but that fact remains. There is much for the poly and LGBTQIA crowds here. And then there is a three day trial. There are questions of racism of course. With black and human being synonymous this also seeps into the ideas of what is "animal" and not. The Ina rely heavily on their sense of smell, reminiscent of animal predators, but humans are seen as the uncivilized animals here. Lots to pull apart, but had sections that were quite the slog for me. The short stories come next. If you are also new to Octavia Butler, I think the best decision I made with this book was to start here. Dip a toe in at a time and go through time, space, and thoughts. These also have short notes from the author, so you get to know her a bit before the deep dive of the novels. The essays are really meant for other writers or would be writers who need motivation or advice, I'm writing a dissertation, so take this with a large helping of salt, but I just did not find these helpful or something to relate to. Overall, you should know who Octavia Butler is, and this is a great way to learn. It's huge and comprehensive, but organized in such a way that you can take it in portions if that suits you better. Just read it! Thank you to Netgalley, Library of America, and Octavia Butler for providing an advance ebook in exchange for an honest review

  21. 4 out of 5

    Josh Hedgepeth

    Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for an e-arc in exchange for a fair and honest review. Library of America has composed a collection of Octavia E Butler's two standalone novels along with all of her essays and short stories and with extra commentary and notes as well. While I received an e-ARC, I have already ordered my copy. That should hint at my review 😉. When I first heard about this it was a little disconcerting because at first glance it felt like a fraction of her entire catalog of books Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for an e-arc in exchange for a fair and honest review. Library of America has composed a collection of Octavia E Butler's two standalone novels along with all of her essays and short stories and with extra commentary and notes as well. While I received an e-ARC, I have already ordered my copy. That should hint at my review 😉. When I first heard about this it was a little disconcerting because at first glance it felt like a fraction of her entire catalog of books. Then I stopped and realized that she only had two standalone novels. Her only short story collection was Bloodchild, and that entire collection is included here, including the addition in the 2015 edition. There is also her first published short story that was never in Bloodchild as well as at least one, hitherto unpublished, essay. This work is a comprehensive collection of Butler’s standalone works. Having the works compiled is nice by itself, but with her extra pieces, it becomes almost invaluable. What’s more, LOA includes the standard annotated notes of each work for a new level of reading. It also includes a fascinating introduction that discusses Butler and her writings, and it includes the standard timeline of OEB’s life and publications. For all these reasons, this is a must buy for any Octavia E. Butler fan. In full transparency, I've only read the two novels in here. I have not read the essays or the collected stories. This review is of the Library of America edition. Of course, I’ve read enough to be able to highly recommend Octavia E. Butler’s writings at large. If you never read her, you absolutely should, and there's no question that Kindred and Fledging are amazing novels. Kindred is probably my favorite book of all time. Octavia E. Butler is the epitome of intentional writing. Her work is both engaging and creative, but it's also thought provoking and really stretches the mind. While I have not read everything in this collection, I can still say with confidence that it is worth buying.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Guarino

    Disclaimer: I received an e-Arc of this book from NetGalley and Library of America to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not familiar with Octavia Butler or her body of work. When presented with the chance to read and review Octavia Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, and Collected Stories (Library of America edition #338), I couldn't pass it up. Little did I know when I started this mammoth edition of her works, I would find a new favorite author. At 790 pages, this collection i Disclaimer: I received an e-Arc of this book from NetGalley and Library of America to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not familiar with Octavia Butler or her body of work. When presented with the chance to read and review Octavia Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, and Collected Stories (Library of America edition #338), I couldn't pass it up. Little did I know when I started this mammoth edition of her works, I would find a new favorite author. At 790 pages, this collection is a masterclass in the genius that was Octavia Butler. This includes 2 full novels, 8 short stories, and 5 essays that discuss her writing process and how her race affected her work. There is also a chronology detailing the significant events of her life, which is interesting to see in comparison to where she was in her writing process and how it may have influenced her work. The first novel in the collection is one of Butler's best known works, "Kindred." This story is about a young black woman named Dana who is sent back in time from 1976 California to Maryland 1819 rescue her white ancestor, who is also the eventual owner of her black ancestors . When Dana finds herself in danger, she mysteriously returns to present day California with little to no time passing. The next time Rufus, Dana's white ancestor, finds himself in peril, Dana and her white husband Kevin come back to 1819 to save him with serious ramifications to their future. The second novel in the collection was "Fledgling," which was the last novel Butler published before her death. The main character of the book is a 53 year old vampire named Shori, who appears and is mentioned repeatedly as looking to be ten years in age. Shori awakens after a fire and experiences amnesia . She is found by a young man named Wright walking down a highway at night, who brings her home with him and allows her to feed on him. They begin a symbiotic feeding/sexual relationship. While investigating her origins at the site of the fire, she is met by her father who explains that unlike other vampires, she is the creation of genetic modification and can move about in sunlight. Soon after, her father and his compound of vampires are destroyed in a fire much like the one that killed Shori's mother and siblings in the beginning of the story. She, Wright, and two symbiotes from her father's colony seek to find who is set to destroy Shori and bring them to justice. In addition to the novels, this volume also includes the following short stories and essays: Childfinder Crossover Near of Kin Speech Sounds Bloodchild The Evening and the Morning and the Night Amnesty The Book of Martha Lost Races of Science Fiction Positive Obsession Furor Scribendi The Monophobic Response This collection was carefully curated to show the best of Ms. Butler's work and is a great opportunity to either start an Octavia Butler collection or to fill in the missing pieces in an existing collection. #OctaviaEButlerKindredLibraryofAmerica #NetGalley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ed Kazyanskaya

    Octavia Butler has long been a blindspot in my reading and I was so glad to see it remedied by her induction to the literary canon with this inaugural Library of America volume. This edition collects her standalone novels together with her short stories and nonfiction. Kindred is a rightfully hailed classic and makes a strong case out of the gate for Butler's inclusion in the series. I wish I could say the same about Fledgling. The world it creates has such potential and it is sad to see it used Octavia Butler has long been a blindspot in my reading and I was so glad to see it remedied by her induction to the literary canon with this inaugural Library of America volume. This edition collects her standalone novels together with her short stories and nonfiction. Kindred is a rightfully hailed classic and makes a strong case out of the gate for Butler's inclusion in the series. I wish I could say the same about Fledgling. The world it creates has such potential and it is sad to see it used to support clunky and expository dialogue. Perhaps with a lot of the set-up out of the way, the sequels could have been much better but alas that will never happen. In addition, as someone who likes to visualize what is happening on the page, the numerous sex scenes between someone with the body of a 10 year old girl and a grown man in his 20s were extremely disturbing. Made even more disturbing on further thought when you realize she is actually 53 and has essentially drugged him into loving and serving her unwittingly. The short stories are, as usual a mixed bag. Crossover and Near of Kin are forgettable but Bloodchild and Amnesty stick with you and do so much with so little, like all great stories. Thank you to NetGallety and Library of America for the ARC.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Purple Lorikeet

    Although my reading interests tend more towards fantasy, I do enjoy a lot of science fiction too. This collection of works by Octavia Butler is an excellent introduction to the writer. I've been hearing about Octavia Butler for the past decade or two but hadn't taken steps to finally read her work until this collection appeared. I certainly intend to read much more. The highlight is obviously Kindred, a novel that evokes quite a few different emotions in the reader, particularly about race. The Although my reading interests tend more towards fantasy, I do enjoy a lot of science fiction too. This collection of works by Octavia Butler is an excellent introduction to the writer. I've been hearing about Octavia Butler for the past decade or two but hadn't taken steps to finally read her work until this collection appeared. I certainly intend to read much more. The highlight is obviously Kindred, a novel that evokes quite a few different emotions in the reader, particularly about race. The Fledgling does so in different ways with a totally different sort of story that is part fantasy and part science fiction. These novels are the centerpiece with a selection of short stories and other writings to complete this volume. Again, it's a wonderful selection to get the reader into Butler's work. I would like to thank Netgalley and Library of America for sharing an advanced reader copy in exchange for a fair review. I rate this 4.5 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Luc

    Finally! A oversight that was long overdue has been put right. This collection of the best works of the late Octavia E Butler, the queen of Afrofuturism and one of the best science fiction writers in America is a welcome addition to the Library of America. "Kindred" is her masterpiece published in 1978 and still highly relevant today, was my first foray into African American literature upon my arrival in the US in the early 80s. A captivating story from start to finish, a time travel story that Finally! A oversight that was long overdue has been put right. This collection of the best works of the late Octavia E Butler, the queen of Afrofuturism and one of the best science fiction writers in America is a welcome addition to the Library of America. "Kindred" is her masterpiece published in 1978 and still highly relevant today, was my first foray into African American literature upon my arrival in the US in the early 80s. A captivating story from start to finish, a time travel story that beautifully brings together science fiction, history and psychology. I never got tired of reading this wonderful novel over and over since I purchased it almost 40 years ago. This new edition of some of her best works should definitely attract new readers. To be enjoyed without moderation Many thanks to Netgalley and Library of America for the opportunity to read this wonderful collection prior to its release date

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sharondblk

    I received a free e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review - thanks NetGalley. I've wanted to read Octavia Butler ever since I heard one of her stories on LeVar Burton's podcast, so when this came up on NetGalley I was thrilled. This is a compilation of two of her novels, I think her first and last published, and a fair few short stories. The problem here is how can I review two very different books and a bunch of short stories? Particularly books that have been so thoroughly reviewe I received a free e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review - thanks NetGalley. I've wanted to read Octavia Butler ever since I heard one of her stories on LeVar Burton's podcast, so when this came up on NetGalley I was thrilled. This is a compilation of two of her novels, I think her first and last published, and a fair few short stories. The problem here is how can I review two very different books and a bunch of short stories? Particularly books that have been so thoroughly reviewed elsewhere? I'm going to say that I can see why her novels are considered important - from a race and gender point of view. Similarly, her short stories are disturbing, but never without hope. To summarise, as much as is possible with such diverse material - worth reading, although it's not obvious why these are compiled together.

  27. 4 out of 5

    dee

    One of Octavia Butler's popular novels is Kindred, which is my introductory into this amazing writer and sci-fi genre. A story of family, identity and race with some time travel. How does one wake up one day and is pulled into slavery-just to save an ancestor and a family tree?! My least favorite Butler story in this collection is Fledgling. I couldn't get into this vampire story. It was slow moving and I forced myself to finish. Overall, Octavia Butler is the Queen of afro-futurism where she expl One of Octavia Butler's popular novels is Kindred, which is my introductory into this amazing writer and sci-fi genre. A story of family, identity and race with some time travel. How does one wake up one day and is pulled into slavery-just to save an ancestor and a family tree?! My least favorite Butler story in this collection is Fledgling. I couldn't get into this vampire story. It was slow moving and I forced myself to finish. Overall, Octavia Butler is the Queen of afro-futurism where she explores social issues, racial conflict and gender roles. Everything she wrote gives meaning to the past, present, and future. Thanks NetGalley for this ARC. Find me on IG @wordsandcyphers

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian Landon

    This was my first experience with Octavia E Butler - I went in not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised. “Kindred” has a depth so profound that it’s easy to except the time-shifting device as totally normal. “Fledgling” was a different take on the vampire genre, and I loved the concept of the protagonist’s African-American skin color being a super power, protecting her from the sun and therefore being more evolved than her vampire counterparts. This is definitely an author I’ This was my first experience with Octavia E Butler - I went in not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised. “Kindred” has a depth so profound that it’s easy to except the time-shifting device as totally normal. “Fledgling” was a different take on the vampire genre, and I loved the concept of the protagonist’s African-American skin color being a super power, protecting her from the sun and therefore being more evolved than her vampire counterparts. This is definitely an author I’ll be spending more time reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    A perfect collection for new fans and longtime fans alike. A great gift to someone or yourself for your library shelf. The collection has two full novels, and a great assortment of short stories. Basically these stories help to show the reader why Ms. Butler is often called the Mother of Afrofuturism.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zody

    This is a fabulous collection of Butler's work and every library should have a selection of her works since she is a groundbreaker in many rights. The story capture pain, heartbreak and sorrow but also give us a glimpse into hope, courage and bravery. This is a fabulous collection of Butler's work and every library should have a selection of her works since she is a groundbreaker in many rights. The story capture pain, heartbreak and sorrow but also give us a glimpse into hope, courage and bravery.

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