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Posts Tagged ‘Octavia E. Butler’

coloronlineMy guest review of Dawn by Octavia E. Butler is up at Color Online today. This book was amazing, along with the two that follow it in the trilogy. I hope you’ll head over to read and leave some great comments. This is a seriously thought-provoking book, and one of my favorites by Butler.

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New weekly feature: Every Wednesday I’ll review two short stories from two different authors. This week’s short stories are:

Amnesty by Octavia E. ButlerBloodchild
Part of the Bloodchild and Other Stories anthology
Paperback: 145 pages
Publisher: Seven Stories Press (July 1, 2003)
ISBN-13: 978-1888363364

Noah Cannon is the survivor of alien abduction. She not only survived captivity for twelve years from the time she was eleven, she now works willingly for her former captors as a Translator. The Communities, as the alien invaders are called, are entities each made up of hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of separate creatures living together as a colony. They travel in ball shapes, each their own little hive of multiple minds working together.

They’ve come to Earth on a one way trip to either co-exist with us, or enslave us. Noah has decided, after a close-up experience of the true nature of both how the Community people work, and how humanity works, to try her damnedest to get the two species to live together and accept each other, perhaps even work peacefully together. The reader gets to sit in and listen as Noah goes to work on a group of job seekers looking to become Translators.

Amnesty is a fascinating look at how we might be forced to adapt, as individuals, to some outside force beyond our control. Each day we must do this on a smaller scale, but we at least feel like we have some kind of free will. In Amnesty, you either accept that The Communities are here to stay, or you throw your life away by trying to fight the inevitable. Noah does the only thing she can, by trying to work within the system that has sprung up.

Read Amnesty for a taste of the possible future, and read the rest of Bloodchild and Other Stories for some even more bizarre and fascinating scenarios and essays from Butler.

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spell singersBitch by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Part of the Spell Singers anthology
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: DAW (December 6, 1988)
ISBN-13: 978-0886773144

In this gender bending, shape-shifting short story, the Adept of the Blue Star, Lythande, is tricked into the shape of a female dog. Lythande has a secret that none of the other Blue Star Adepts must ever find out: she’s a woman disguised as a man. In the all male Blue Star order, it is forbidden for a woman to become a magician, but Lythande managed it by disguising herself. Her punishment, upon her gender being revealed, was that should any man find out she is a woman, she would lose all her protection against her fellow Blue Star Adepts.

When both Lythande and her traveling companion, the Blue Star Adept Rajene, are transformed into dogs, her worst fear is close to realization. Will Rajene believe the “change” from male Adept to female dog is part of the spell, or will he understand that Lythande is in fact a woman? If he does, all her carefully gathered power will be his for the taking, along with any other Adept she encounters. And of course, how ever will they change back to their rightful human shapes?

This a short, fun little story, playing on Lythande’s predicament in a tongue-in-cheek way. Bradley always has a little too much fun with Lythande, her constant tragic character. Read Bitch, and the rest of theSpell Singers anthology full of short stories by many of today’s best fantasy writers, and don’t miss Lythande, the complete collection of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s stories about the Adept with a terrible secret.

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coloronlineOne of the things I’ve become passionate about is promoting books by and/or about people of color, and specifically women of color. I think the science fiction and fantasy genres are severely lacking in diversity, and that’s not going to change unless we start talking about the little known or the less read books, the books that feature characters that are diverse and non-stereotypical. Showing fans, authors, and publishers alike that anyone can enjoy these books is so important.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that I’ll be writing bi-monthly guest reviews on science fiction and fantasy books by women of color at Color Online. Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, you can find me over there, talking about books and doing my best to diversify a genre I love, but would love even more if it were inclusive and representative of all sorts of people.

You can read my first review there today, covering Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. Thanks go to LaTonya for giving me this great opportunity. Please take the time to read my guest post and leave your comments there.

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