The Other and Failing Human Nature

Octavia Butler’s novel Dawn shows the collapse of a definite, individualized “human nature” through the coercive, hegemonic actions of an alien “other” known as the Oankali. Human identity in its present form does not survive the entire book, but instead goes through multiple genetic and behavioral transformations. These changes are the product of Oankali intervention, … Read moreThe Other and Failing Human Nature

Audience Relationships in the Slave and Neo-Slave Narrative: Comparing Texts by Jacobs and Butler

One difference between the slave and neo-slave narrative is the relationship of the audience to the text’s protagonist. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs cannot address her audience from equal grounds; because of her political motive, she speaks as a kind of solicitor who must reach across a barrier to … Read moreAudience Relationships in the Slave and Neo-Slave Narrative: Comparing Texts by Jacobs and Butler

Encountering the Animal-Alien: Interspecies Communication in Octavia Butler’s Dawn and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven

Scholar Carl Malmgren describes the common science fiction trope of alien encounters as “inevitably broach[ing] the question of the Self and the Other…The reader recuperates this type of fiction by comparing human and alien entities, trying to understand what it means to be human” (15). The alien can represent humanity’s fears of scientific and political … Read moreEncountering the Animal-Alien: Interspecies Communication in Octavia Butler’s Dawn and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven

The Foreign in ‘Lilith’s Brood’: When Xenophobia Takes on an Intergalactic Scope

The trope of the grotesque in science fiction can serve various purposes: to repulse or shock the audience, to introduce the intent to frighten the audience, or to defamiliarize or alienate the audience, thus enforcing the element of the unknown. Painting a species or character as “grotesque” – wrapping it in tentacles or fur and … Read moreThe Foreign in ‘Lilith’s Brood’: When Xenophobia Takes on an Intergalactic Scope