It would be interesting to know what Butler meant by Survivor being her “Star Trek novel.” (Mostly because there are many Star Trek writers whose non-Star Trek work is really good.) Does it mean simplistic themes or worldbuilding? I can see traces of both in the story, in the way that Alanna has an almost suspicious ability to adapt to other communities and the way the Kohn are able to hide due to the natural camouflage of their fur. (This is followed by Alanna realizing that she is more comfortable with the Tehkohn than she had been among the Missionaries.) There’s also the white/black morality of the Missionaries versus Alanna’s more pragmatic feral upbringing. (And how it compares with the way the Tehkohn assimilate her into their community.) This juxtaposition of similar situations does have the feeling of a Star Trek type morality tale–too simple, too neat, and maybe too obvious.
This speculation is not meant to be a judgment on whether Butler was right to disown the book. This is just an example of one of the questions I’d like to ask her, if I could. Continue reading
I’m not sorry. I could not resist putting in a reference to the fan work “Dead Red Virgo” in this title.)
We are switched to a vague teaser of the last unseen troll! We see a cuttlefish, which is being prodded by a trident held in the hands of another troll. We don’t see very much of this last troll, but she wears a lot of bling and a Pisces sign.
She is also kind of cute. Continue reading
One thing I’ve noticed about Octavia Butler’s writing is that she tended to write protagonists who end up with a self-imposed mission of saving people who might not actually want to be saved. Lilith from the Xenogenesis series is one such character, the protagonist of Parable of the Sower is another.
Alanna’s self-appointed mission is to free the Missionaries from Garkohn influence, though it might be better said that she wants to free her foster parents from Garkohn influence. It’s pretty clear that Alanna has very little attachment to the other Missionaries. Her primary focus is for her foster parents who “civilized” her and treated her with compassion. Continue reading
Though Godstalk is generally believed by fans to be the best book in the series, it does have some flaws. The biggest being the sudden shifts in pov at certain points. Very few fans will point this out however, though they tend to be more critical of later books. (I did not actually spot many of the problems until after I had read the book a few times.)
Even with taking the flaws into account, Godstalk’s is one of my favorite novels because of the rich prose, surreal background and the engaging main character. Jame is curious as a cat, and we soon learn that piquing that curiosity results in the “cat” deciding to play with what interests her. In this particular chapter, Jame will become very personally interested in Tai-tastigon’s god infestation, thanks to an encounter with a priest. Continue reading
While Sollux flips his lid, we get introduced to the silly cat girl troll! The silly cat girl’s name is Nepeta Leijon and she is possibly only silly to trolls, because she is actually a fierce huntress living a somewhat feral existence. She is also a romantic who really likes to speculate on romantic relationships. Her “trolltag” is arsenicCatnip and her quirk involves using a smiley reminiscent of her lusus, who is a large cat with two mouths. Nepeta is directed to retrieve claws from arms. It turns out that she is secretly Wolverine, and she has gauntlets that produce very long sharp blades. It is basically a cestus from heck. (Or in this case, Alternia, which is pretty much heck.) Continue reading
Survivor is technically a part of Butler’s Patternist sequence, except Butler disowned it. She also referred to it as her “Star Trek novel” for reasons which may soon become clear. I acquired Survivor via slightly sneaky means, in this case a pdf. file that I downloaded. The copy has a lot of typos and in general is kind of cruddy but still readable. Continue reading
At this point, Sollux’s lusus is raising a ruckus. The reason involves meteors that are beginning to fall outside. (Sollux lusus is a two headed Cyclops, or rather, a bicyclops.) The creature is so large it has to live on the roof of Sollux “hivestem.” There appear to be some slight parallels between Sollux and his lusus and Dave and his Bro. This should not surprise anyone, since Sollux is defined as “the cool kid” of the trolls. (There are also some parallels between Dave and Sollux which will become slightly more apparent if you think about them.) Continue reading