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Both of these are published in the collection Bloodchild and Other Stories, collected 1995. This seems like a good post to show the cover.



Butler won Hugos for both Speech Sounds and Bloodchild, and Bloodchild won wide recognition elsewhere as well. I am not aware that I read Speech Sounds prior to this month. Bloodchild is a different matter. I remember Bloodchild. I don't think anyone who read it at the time could forget it.

I'm not surprised that the author of Speech Sounds wrote Clay's Ark. Similar landscapes, similar elements: cars and roads, sex, violence, children, survival of the individual and the race. Similar question: how can you remain human when fundamental human characteristics are altered? They could almost (not quite) be set in the same world.

Bloodchild is different. The familiar elements are here, but mutated, altered. And there is also something new. Something alien. Both literally: alien persons as characters in the story; and figuratively: It feels as if Butler has found something to say that she hadn't said before, and that the rules for reading her stories have changed.

Having said that, I can't quite put my finger on where that feeling comes from, and 'm not quite sure where I'm going with this. I need to think about it some more.

Butler's next novel is Dawn. It also features aliens. I shall go and read it and hope it will help to crystalise the thought.

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Caroline M

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