Review: Unexpected Stories

I’ve often talked about my love of SF short story collections, and this small collection fits the bill.  It is only two stories, but they would be at home in any reasonable showcase. Octavia Butler is quite brilliant, and acquits herself well in these early tales.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the collection is the faint praise that Walter Mosley gives the stories in his forward.  From what he says these are a couple stories of primarily academic interest.  And he’s correct, in a sense. Butler later writes much more important and deep works.

I found it is powerful to look at these stories as expositions of craft.  Deep thoughts don’t matter if you can’t hold a reader’s attention. Butler’s craft is unparalleled. She gors on to bigger things, but these are diverting, interesting, stories with real meat.  It is only her later triumphs that dim the praise.


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