Online roundtable on the works of Octavia Butler

The Hooded Utilitarian is hosting an online roundtable on the work of Octavia Butler, one of science fiction's greatest writers, and also one of the first women of color to attain widespread recognition in the field. The initial installment, from Qiana Whitted, is a challenging, sharply critical essay about the ways that Butler's work (including Fledgling, a book I very much liked) literally nauseated the writer, and what that says about both Butler and her critics.

Ugliness, Empathy, and Octavia Butler

(Thanks, Noah!)

(Image: Leslie Howle) Read the rest

Seven-year-old compares Tolkien to Beowulf

This insightful essay comparing Tolkien's Middle Earth to Beowulf was written by my friend's seven-year-old daughter. Dad notes, "she came up with the contrasts on her own;" Mom adds, "Using the Seamus Heaney translation." Read the rest