Tag Archives: Octavia Butler

T-giving 1-line Book Reviews

Here are some books I’ve lately enjoyed, boiled down to concentrated truisms useful for holiday table talk, you’re welcome.

Octavia Butler: Young black women should rebuild our communities.

Wild Seed: The real fantasy here is that a woman can make herself wonderful/beautiful/powerful/loveable enough to ensure the dude won’t kill her or those she loves.

Fledgling: White supremacy is as timeless as a vampire’s ability to survive it.

Colson Whitehead: White capitalist supremacy has poisoned our land.

Zone One: Our consumption-fueled society undeads us, undeads everyone, transforms our sense of time, suffocates relationships, spreads gore and death, and FILLS NEW YORK WITH ZOOOOOOOMMMMMBIIIIEEEEEEEEES.

The Underground Railroad: Black communities engineer their own survival, and our country’s truest beauty, wrested from this desperation, steams along out of sight; bonus Holocaust reference reminds us of the universality of racial domination.

Claire Messud: Women’s primary relationships are with other women.

When the World Was Steady: Middle-aged sisters can take their mom’s advice, flirt with criminals, abandon their religion, repress their lust for women, fight and reconcile, and do any other damn thing a teenager can do thank you.

The Burning Girl: Class determines the life choices available to you, sure,¬† and women’s lives are forever obscured by our fabrications about them, yes, but no way can a high school junior write like that narrator.

 

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Feminist SF Throwdown: Atwood V. Butler

I finished Maddaddam in a plot-fueled daze. Then I immediately began rereading Octavia Butler’s “Xenogenesis Trilogy,” which is conveniently/frustratingly published in one volume entitled “Lilith’s Brood” with cover art that looks like it’s soft core porn.

The thing is, the trilogy is bona fide SF. Aliens, apocalypse, ethics, science. The “nature of humanity.”

If that publisher thought for half a second about how bullshit that cover is, they’d realize that if they pretended Octavia Butler were a dude, and put some flipping aliens and stars on the cover, and a big blobby spaceship that itself is alive, to more accurately represent the book’s actual content, maybe they’d DOUBLE THEIR CUSTOMERS.

DOUBLE. THE SALES. DOUBLE THEM.

Instead, they made the book look like it’s about a skinny black woman having sex.

Which, technically, happens in the trilogy. But only through a gender-neutral being who mediates between her and another’s nervous system in a mandatory threesome, and no one touches anyone. Etc. Science fiction sex. You know how we do.

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