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Octavia E Butler

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I read Kindred recently and was so surprised that I had not read her work before. The first black scifi woman writer. I really enjoyed the novel but saw some mixed reviews esp the ones stating that this particular book wasn't scifi enough. thoughts?

Topic starter Posted : July 12, 2021 12:59 am
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Posts: 57

I wonder if those reviews are from readers who picked up her other work first. Kindred is sort of an outlier in her science fiction career. In comparison, the other books are conceptually wilder because she's using the fantastic elements to dramatize ideas, instead of to move characters. Kindred's closer to the edge of the genre and to the literature shelf in my opinion (but it has been several years). 

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Posted : July 12, 2021 12:12 pm
John Goodwin
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As a note, I met Octavia when in Seattle for a Writers of the Future Awards event in 2005. I wanted to meet up with her as she had earlier written an article for Writers of the Future called "Furor Scribendi." She agreed to become a judge for Writers of the Future. Unfortunately, she became ill and passed in Feb 2006. She was a wonderful person, an incredible story. Her home was one huge library of books!

Posted : July 12, 2021 6:36 pm
MountainSpud, NVHaskell, Wulf Moon and 1 people liked
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Posts: 159

I haven't read Kindred by her but her short stories are fantastic and I highly recommend reading Dawn. It starts with a person waking up essentially but for a great reason. Her ability to write aliens is so convincing and immersive. Nothing quite like it and that's not to mention her delicious prose and heavy themes. 

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Posted : July 12, 2021 7:33 pm
Dustin Adams
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Posts: 1032

Whoa, I happened to read Furor Scribendi last night. (Volume IX)

She talked about the habit of writing being more powerful than inspiration. Put in the reps...

I'm desperately seeking the bestest idea ever for Q4, but I've got a few "smaller" ideas that I'm ignoring, waiting for the home run. She reminded me that butt in chair and words to page is the way to go. Smile /p>

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Posted : July 16, 2021 6:44 am
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The butt in the chair works for most, but K.J. Anderson and Martin Shoemaker like the digital recording method. Tell a story as you hike through the wilderness(K.J.) or, in Martin's case, commute to a destination. I practice that technique but, it ain't easy. It sure is good exercise though.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney

Posted : July 17, 2021 10:12 am
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Posts: 159

I bumped Kindred up my reading list. Such a great book and so immersive I couldn't put it down and wound up finishing it in one sitting. I can see why there would be mixed reviews regarding its speculative elements. The essay at the back of my version by Robert Crossley mentioned that "Butler herself has repeatedly insisted that Kindred should be read as a “grim fantasy,” not as science fiction, since there is “absolutely no science in it.” I can see why in her time she considered it more as fantasy than scifi given how the time travel in the book was explored (and exploration was little done). I think the most appropriate term now for Kindred would probably be slipstream coined by Richard Dorsett.  "Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. "

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Posted : August 7, 2021 6:51 pm
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Posts: 210

Thanks for the recommendation, gang! Just borrowed Kindred for my next audiobook.

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Posted : August 9, 2021 5:46 am
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Posts: 102

While on the topic, her Parable series (Parable of the Sower & Parable of the Talents) is scary good. Further, if you want to read a drop-the-mic, this-is-how-you-succinctly-yet-masterfully-world-build, read Bloodchild. It's a novelette and in a collection, titled Bloodchild and Other Stories. I have yet to read Kindred, but will. Octavia Butler is one of the masters. 

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Posted : September 14, 2021 10:47 am