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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes "Bloodchild," winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and "Speech Sounds," winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, "Amnesty" is a story of a woman aptly named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is "The Book of Martha" which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself?

Like all of Octavia Butler's best writing, these works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. She proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature's strongest voices.


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“Butler graces new mansions of thought with her eloquent, distinguished, and poignant prose. Although this book is little in size, its ideas and aims are splendidly large.”

“An outstanding short story collection … [Butler] is an impressive writer whose work displays how science fiction readily transcends the perceived stylistic limitations of the genre.”

“The title story is justly famous … splendid pieces, set forth in calm, lucid prose with never a word wasted.”

“‘Bloodchild’ is one of Octavia Butler’s most haunting, disturbing, and memorable stories, and is also one of the greatest things she ever wrote... It’s an amazingly powerful story that discusses love and birth in the context of social inequality. So long as as the love we feel for others is complicated by societal pressures and imbalances, Butler’s work will remain timelessly haunting, disturbing, and memorable.”

“Some of her best writing about this are the autobiographical essays in Bloodchild; she understood very well that what was unique about her story was not the obstacles that had been placed in her way but the combination of talent, hard work, luck, grit, and pure stubbornness that allowed her to break through despite them... She was so giving. There’s a reason everyone who knew her loved her.”

“The stories collected in BLOODCHILD move quickly, often laying out their premises and conflicts in a single exchange or sequence… She doesn’t waste a word.”

“Ms. Butler, who neither hides nor trumpets the fact that she is one of a handful of black American women writing science fiction, excels in the calm, straightforward presentation of characters and societies in extremis... Where another writer might have wrung drama from the original interspecies confrontation and accommodation, Ms. Butler picks up the thread generations later, in a scene that veers from edgy domesticity into unmentionable horror and ends in what can only be described as triumphal love. It is a fine example of how science fiction, by subverting expectations, can jar us into a new appreciation of familiar truths.”

“...the future is made of others’ bodies, if only because we cannot sustain life or reproduce it on our own. Butler expresses this viscerally in her exquisite short story ‘Bloodchild’... Freedom is always a negotiation with others—even for the powerful—and to forget this, Butler suggests, is ultimately to denigrate the oppressed.”

“Bloodchild is a compelling and horrifying novella . . . [by an] exceptionally talented writer.”

“‘Bloodchild’ is a glorious accomplishment—an elegant, urgent tale that changes all who read it. Perhaps that’s because it’s also a lasting and faithful depiction of what we can and will do to survive.”

“Those reading this remarkable writer for the first time will find Bloodchild a useful signpost to Parable of the Sower and her other novels.”


A writer who imagined the dark future we have chosen for ourselves in book after book, OCTAVIA E. BUTLER  (1947–2006) is recognized as among the bravest and smartest of late twentieth century fiction writers. Her work includes Parable of the SowerParable of the Talents, Fledgling, and the short story collection Bloodchild. A 1995 MacArthur Genius Award winner, Butler transcended the science fiction category even as she was awarded that community’s top prizes, including the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Not merely a prophet of dystopia, Butler also wrote of the ways human beings might subvert their dismal destiny. “I write about people who do extraordinary things,” Butler has said, “it just turns out that it was called science fiction.” Her novels and stories have reached readers of all ages, all races, and all religious and sexual persuasions. For years the only prominent African-American woman writing science fiction, Butler has encouraged many others to follow in her path. The Octavia E. Butler Scholarship was established in her memory in 2006, providing scholarships for young people of color to attend the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, where Butler herself began writing science fiction.