This is the first of Butler’s work that I’ve read, or listened to in this case. The narrator is Janina Edwards. I listened to it on the Prime Channel “Worlds Away: Sci-Fi Classics” and am so glad I saw it there. I decided to make this my Task 22 for Read Harder 2017, Read a collection of stories by a woman. I was going to use another book, and though that one fits, the stories are actually part of a series that I haven’t read yet, which made it hard for me to keep up with.
Sci-fi is my preferred genre in fiction but reading challenges and the desire to read more diverse authors has pulled me away from it in recent years. I’ve found some great books that I am so glad to have read and a love for historical fiction I never thought I’d have. But this book is full of some of my favorite things about my favorite genre and written by prolific author that I’m glad I can go back to for more worlds.
Each story had its own world to build, though most took place right here on Earth. I enjoy stories on far off planets are alternate worlds but rarely have I read any that sit so well in this in between space. These world could be called dystopian, which there are plenty of, but most of these stories take place in that early transition from the world we know to something radically different like the Hunger Games. It sits in the same in between as the Walking Dead in most cases.
Of the stories, of which there were seven, none let me down at all. Sometimes short story collections have one or two stories that aren’t up to par with the others but all the worlds were different and engaging. This, of course, doesn’t meant that I am without my favorites. I found “Book of Martha” and “The Evening and the Morning and the Night” were favorites.
Butler’s stories that revolved around alien contact and the way we might live with that were interesting in a way that was completely new for me. I love that she was toying with the idea that we would have invaders that didn’t want to exterminate us and that we couldn’t exterminate. I loved the ‘silent war’ that took place in one story. Mostly, what I enjoyed about these cohabitation stories was the concessions that both sides may have to make, what might develop from it.
My favorite thing about this collection is that each story made you think about the world, our responses to change or unavoidable situations. These are the things that I love about science fiction the most. I already had Kindred on my list to read for Litsy A to Z but I’m sure I’ll be coming black to Octavia Butler over the years for my sci-fi fix.