Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bloodchildren

Bloodchildren is a collection of short stories published by the Carl Brandon Society to help funds and to celebrate what would have been Octavia Butler's 66t birthday. It's no longer available unfortunately and that's a shame because it's a great read.

It features stories by Indrapramit Das, Shweta Narayan, Caren Gussoff, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Lisa Bolekaja, Chris Caldwell, Jeremy Sim, Erik Owomoyela, Dennis Y. Ginoza, Mary Burroughs, Kai Ashante Wilson and of course by Octavia Butler herself. To my shame, I have to admit that I had never heard of Butler before, let alone any of the other authors. That's why I love short stories, they are a good way of getting to know new authors.

My favourite piece is Steal the Sky by Erik Owomoyel, a steampunk story that explores themes of slavery and the theft of culture (in colonial schools for example). Apart from the thrilling race between two airships, I loved the ending, the main characters throwing a wrench into the well-oiled machinery of the Empire...maybe.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s “Dancing in the Shadow of the Once" introduces us to a woman whose job it is to show off her cultural heritage to people, like a living museum piece. She has been heavily augmented to help her remember it all and she acts as an ambassador for a culture already dead or at least dying, killed by the very people who now gawk at her. On a few pages, a vivid world is build and I would love to see more of it.

The authors come from very diverse backgrounds and it's obvious in their stories. It's rare enough to have non-white protagonists in book or movies, let alone as the main characters. I enjoyed their different voices and the diversity presented here. I do hope that Bloodchildren will be made available once more and if that happens, I recommend you go and buy it.

Reviews 2013

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