All posts by Marisa Powell

How I Learned To Read Octavia Butler

I have never been particularly interested in science fiction. I have always preferred more realistic narratives to “space alien stuff”, and as such, I struggle to imagine realities that differ from our own. When something appears to be completely intangible, it is easy to take it at its surface value and move on. It is easy to skim through a reading that is difficult to grasp, and walk away with only the plot. It is easy to breeze through a reading that is both easy and interesting to read, and miss the point. Octavia Butler does not allow me to do that – at least not anymore, after a semester of learning to read her novels.

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What Is the Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Person?

The Clay’s Ark virus transforms those afflicted in such a way that biologically, they are no longer human. Such a prospect is terrifying, especially because it results in absolute uncertainty and a lack of control. The changes, though at first subtle, force those stricken to straddle what is human and what is animal, both physically and mentally. Continue reading What Is the Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Person?

Why People Stay Together

As observed in Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, sometimes the reasons that people stay together are fairly complicated. Sometimes, people stay together for bad reasons. Sometimes, in staying together, people ultimately detriment themselves, but for some reason they remain together all the same. There is a good deal of speculation that surrounds abusive relationships. Too often when people hear of a bad relationship, they wonder why the individual being abused didn’t just leave. Shori’s relationship with her symbionts, while physically beneficial (as she improves their health substantially and the physical act of taking their blood feels good) is emotionally parasitic, though this may not be her intent.

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