I’m almost ashamed to admit that until this year, I had never read any Octavia Butler. When I went through my original SciFi reading phase in high school, she was never even mentioned amongst my nerd-kin friends, and now, though I’m late to the party, I know I have found one of the best writers, of any kind, of the modern age.
Kindred is Butler’s best selling novel and is still required reading for many university and college writing and gender studies programs. The story is labeled as science fiction or, more precisely, speculative fiction, because it uses time travel as it’s main literary device. Mostly though, Kindred is the story of a modern, twentieth century woman, Dana, who is transported back in time to ensure that her antebellum, white ancestor survives long enough to have a child with one of his slaves, Dana’s great-grandmother, Alice.