Octavia E. Butler knew how to bring you into the story. Even in these short stories, maybe 30 or 40 pages at most, by the end I was there, often pretty freaked out by the graphic imagery and scary ideas.
It’s not all doom and gloom: she’s also all about tenderness, duty, and connection. I think that’s why her dystopias feel more real to me than those on Black Mirror or other depictions: even in catastrophic circumstances, the people in her stories are still so recognizably human.
There’s one bit of non-fiction thrown in: Positive Obsession, about her journey with writing. I really liked that, too – like other authors, it presents writing as a struggle and her rise to success as hard-won.
My only caveat with a whole-hearted recommendation is related to what makes this so compelling: the subject matter can get graphic. It felt like reading a horror movie sometimes, and was pretty disturbing. But if you can handle that, go for it.