Kindred and Science Fiction

I’m not much of a science fiction reader but whenever a work of science fiction was brought to my attention to read it was always a white author, until now with Kindred. Kindred by Octavia Butler can be used as a tool to teach so many different topics of race relations back in the 1800s to the 1970 and from the 1970s to the present. I can easily say what I would have done if I were Dana but in doing do things would have been completely different in the present, which isn’t necessarily a horrific event. In that notion, the book opens up the idea of time travelling. If I were to travel back in that time I would like to say that I would be more Nat Turner-esque but it’s no way to ultimately say that is what would happen. There is power in numbers and if I were to stand alone and be scrutinized by those who favor me for trying to up rise I may stay quiet. Then again, Harriet Tubman said, “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”; so I can say that she would be who I aspired to be if I were to travel back into the American slave era. Also, if I had the knowledge that the people I was visiting were my relatives, I would have been head over heels in awe of the interactions going on and how certain events shaped my family for years without any solid recollections.
Another theme I noticed was one of persistence and hope for a person to change. What I mean by saying that is, Dana really wanted badly for Rufus to change who he was and to be a better person. Dana seemed to not want to come to the realization that Rufus had become a product of his environment and settled in the position of a vile man. Someone mentioned in class how maybe that’s how Rufus would be no matter what time period he was in because he was just a rotten soul. I have more hope in humanity, but that may be a delusional statement.
The book can also be used to explore Black characters in science fiction as well as African American authors in the genre. I was taken aback a little when Octavia Butler mentioned, in a Charlie Rose interview, how a man told her that there is no need for Black people in the science fiction genre because extra terrestrials can be used to take the place of any form or be used as a vessel to express any idea that would otherwise be a person of color in other genres of fiction. Noted Octavia Butler mentioned how at the forum she attended, I believe it was Comic Con, the critics tend to word a question in a way to provoke an angered response. Although that may be true, I have heard that those sentiments about people of color in fiction reign true to a lot of science fiction critics.
Ultimately, Octavia Butlers Kindred is a book I will forever hold as a “must read” to anyone who I know is a science fiction or African American literature reader.

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