Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. The past few columns in a row have talked about recent magazine issues, so I thought for this one we might do something different: look at an older collection, in this case Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild and Other Stories. The copy I have is the second edition (2005), which includes two stories that were not part of the original (1996) publication.
The initial five stories are “Bloodchild,” “The Evening and the Morning and the Night,” “Near of Kin,” “Speech Sounds,” and “Crossover.” Then there are two essays, followed by two further stories, “Amnesty” and “The Book of Martha.” As Butler’s preface notes, she considers herself a novelist rather than a short story writer. These pieces are the exceptions to the rule, and they’re very much worth looking at. She also provides afterwords for each, interesting enough in their own right.