Friday, March 03, 2006

Bloodchild



I'm still a little groggy - correction, overly caffeinated from the 5 am
Octavia Estelle Butler
tribute I did with Jim Freund on WBAI 99.5 FM's "Hour of the Wolf", but Jim never ceases to amaze me. He reminds me of my dear family friend, acclaimed journalist, the brilliant mind the Lost Jazz Shrines project, and former WBAI DJ and co-host of the popular "Stormy Monday" show, David Earl Jackson, in that he is always a wonderful wealth of information, has the best stories ever about fascinating people and places you love - or ought to - and is just a genuinely fun person to be around. I still can't believe that he hasn't yet been interviewed or featured in LOCUS, the trade paper for the science fiction and fantasy journal, but so it is. Going into the program's 35th year, I think Jim would make a great story for readers. And what treasures he has, oh, the treasures. He has interviewed Octavia Butler four times, and the most recent interview, held last fall, is posted online, so you can check it out. He says that this one isn't the best of the bunch, as he had planned to do a second interview with Octavia when she returned to New York in the spring. Her passing has caught everyone off guard, and this morning's talk was a praisesong to her work, her affect on us, readers and fans, with samples from her interview (held at the Washington Square Hotel cafe because her room wasn't yet ready), and readings by Jim and I from "Bloodchild," perhaps her best known story.

And if you got it goin' on and already have a copy of Bloodchild and Other Stories (Seven Stories Press) on your shelf, I'd recommend that you go out and purchase the second, expanded edition of Butler's only volume of short stories, that includes two new works, "Amnesty" and "The Book of Martha" (both published in 2003 and appearing, for an indeterminate time now, online at Scifiction / scifi.com). Both editions include illumniating short essays by Octavia regarding how she researched and wrote these stories and a wonderful essay offering advice to aspiring writers. "Bloodchild" is available online, free here.

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