Bloodchild and Other Stories

This collection of short stories, many written very early in Octavia Butler’s career, explore a number of themes that recur throughout her novels: societal disintegration, human/alien couplings, and the ways humans may need to evolve in order to survive as a species. There’s a thread of coercion, also present elsewhere in her writing, but it feels sharper here. Even more interesting than the stories are the brief afterwords she appends to them, where she shares what inspired them or what she was trying to do; those segments put it alongside Slow Learner as a way of gaining insight into a prolific writer’s methods and early work.