#11: Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

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For the month of March we read Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler! Joanna picked this collection of sci-fi short stories and we universally loved it. We talked about the differences between Butler’s worlds and ‘traditional’ sci-fi, gender norms and gender roles in alien cultures, and dudes getting preggerz. Yup.

Discussion Questions:

  1. I wanted to talk about how this book was originally published in 1984 and whether the themes of some of the stories are still relevant today?

  2. In her afterword, Butler describes Bloodchild as a “love story between two very different beings”. Did you see love in this story? How did you find yourself reacting to Gan’s decision versus how people generally react to pregnancy?

  3. We have pregnant men, queen bees, mothers, etc… How is gender treated throughout the stories?

  4. Many of Butler’s dystopian stories deal with biological epidemics—widespread contagious or hereditary diseases that affect the way human beings connect with one another. In what ways do you think Butler is using this theme to critique Western culture? Do you find these stories particularly unsettling? Why do you think that is?

  5. In her afterword for “Near of Kin”, Butler describes wanting to a write “a sympathetic story of incest.” In your opinion, was she successful in doing this with this short story?

The music you heard in this episode was Stance Gives you Balance by Hogan Grip, from freemusicarchive.org

Happy reading!

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