I Wanna Be Literated! 091

I Wanna Be Literated! 091

Friday, 09 October 2015
TITLE: I Wanna Be Literated! 091
A critical evaluation of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown
DATE: 10-09-15
WRITER: Ollie Ottoman

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Peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic, books and fireplaces. I couldn’t help but get excited whenOctavia’s Brood got announced because it was combining two things I love: anarchism and science fiction. So of course I had high hoped for this book, which collects short stories blending science fiction (or speculative fiction) and social justice. That’s all well and good, but I found that this great idea wasn’t exactly coupled with the best execution – even a couple of stories in.

It’s not that short stories are a poor format for telling science fiction; Asimov certainly did it very well in his I Robot collection. The problem in Octavia’s Brood is that the stories come across as being poorly thought out, unimaginative, or  just plain boring. The stories either drag on and go nowhere or end before anything interesting is allowed to happen. Some of these stories are even frustratingly bad (like the concept of using bee technology to create computers). There are more than a dozen stories in Octavia’s Brood and I really can’t think of any that made a positive impression on me except for Morrigan Phillips’ story about a society where only a few have the ability to form memories. That one is pretty well executed and provided a glimmer of hope for this book, but it’s not even close to enough to sustain the collection. To say that I was disappointed considering the buzz surrounding Octavia’s Brood has been getting is a spectacular understatement.

I have not had a chance to read Octavia Butler (but will most certainly do so now) but, after the praises that writers have sung about her, this book hardly seems like a fitting tribute.




Octavia’s Brood
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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