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So, do you like it?


I'm talking about the book I'm reading this month, Octavia Butler's Wild Seed.

Unpopular opinion ahead, maybe...but so far, I'm not a fan. It's hard for me to pinpoint the specifics that are turning me off because there are a number of them.

The flow, first off, feels stilted, choppy to me. And before you come at me for being so vague, I will share that I'm a feeling-based human who receives / perceives / processes the world through my feelings, not my thoughts. I can tell you something's off, but not the specifics that make it so. In most cases, when someone else can give you a full-on, beautifully worded (whether spoken or written) dissertation complete with facts, figures, and references, I will come out with, "It feels weird," and have to leave it at that.

So yes, the storytelling, the pacing of the story, and Ms. Butler's writing style feel off-putting to me. I'm struggling to get into it. Admittedly, having spent the first few chapters with our characters as they navigate spaces and deal with humans along the west coast (I'm assuming) of Africa during the slave trade rubs me all the wrong way. I get that this is the world in which the story takes place, but as a Black woman living in the pre-Handmaid's Tale US of A, it's a painful reminder of where things seem to be heading and thus negatively affects my mood to the point of me wanting to DNF this book.

And can we just pause for a minute to look at the male(? - technically, I would argue that this character has no gender, but that's a discussion for another time) lead character Doro? Sign of the time the book is set in, but I keep wanting to cuss every time his arrogance shows up. Granted, he's a superhuman entity living in the supreme patriarchy of the 18th century, but again, my present-day circumstances interfere, and his whole being harshes my mellow with the quickness. Reading male characters and their relationships with female leads like this in the past is the reason I write what I write. Anyanwu (the female lead) is a powerful being on her own, yet here she is having to bow down to Doro's will. WTF?! Granted, I'm still early in the story at this point but ugh....can we just not?

Lastly, I'd always heard about Octavia Butler being a great sci-fi writer. Forgive me for being so literal, but there ain't a lick of "sci" in this "fi". No time machines, no spaceship engines to explain, no quantum physics to decipher. This story (and Kindred) is, well, strictly fiction as far as I'm concerned.

I'm going to press on if for no other reason than I have hope that things will look up for Anyanwu. If you've read any of Octavia Butler's works (aside from Kindred), let me know in the comments below what you thought of her writing and storytelling. Do you think she qualifies as a science fiction writer? And if you really like her style, tell me what it is about it that sets her apart from the rest.

That's going to do it for now. Looking forward to chatting about Octavia Butler in the comments. In the meantime, as always, sending light & inspiration,


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