Some days, the gods just smile on you. I was walking into Dreamhaven Bookstore in Minneapolis (and if you are in the area, check it out, one of the best places for Neil Gaiman/anime/science fiction stuff in the upper Midwest) when I saw an entire shelf devoted to the works of Ms. Butler. I had read Lillith’s Brood many years before and loved it but loaned out my copy and it was never returned. So I purchased a number of works and started with Unexpected Stories.
This collection comprises two stories, both exploring themes of race, class, and how our physical appearance can influence those around us. Of the two, I did prefer the second story, “Childfinder”, in part because I am a sucker for any stories dealing with a telepathic society but also because it explores white privilege without being overt. The first story, “A Necessary Being” was interesting, and described a really unique society. I didn’t love it because the world she was writing about was a bit difficult for me conceptualize completely, but I would have loved it if she would have been able to write more stories in that universe. The idea of one’s coloration and glow being a determining factor in how far one can progress in a caste, is a fascinating one.
Butler’s stories are among the best speculative fiction can offer, well written but also ones that make you think and challenge your conceptions of the world around you. Highly recommended