(Note: this is part of a series in which I discuss works of the contributors to The Other Half of the Sky. Links to other entries in the series appear at the end of this discussion.)
Bloodchildren is a collection of eleven stories by the recipients of the Carl Brandon scholarship, established in Octavia Butler’s honor to enable SFF writers of color to attend one of the Clarion workshops. The stories were edited by Nisi Shawl, herself a practitioner of many literary arts; they’re front-ended by a haunting cover by Laurie Toby Edison, by moving testimonials from Nalo Hopkinson and Vonda McIntyre and by Butler’s story “Speech Sounds”.
The collection is titled after Butler’s groundbreaking story “Bloodchild”, one of the most original and disquieting explorations of interspecies contact: spacefaring humans stranded on a planet with its own advanced sentient species have been reduced to breeding vessels along the lines of hosts for parasitic wasps or the Alien über-predator, though they generally survive the ordeal. Men are preferred as incubators so that women can produce more breeders, although bonds of reciprocal need, loyalty and affection have slowly developed between humans and their native masters.
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