Author: Jonathan Kalman

Oankali and Humanity

One of the main questions formed when reading Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy, is, “what does it mean to be human?”. Within this work, an alien species called the Oankali, find the Earth nearly destroyed by a nuclear war and try to preserve what is left of humanity. The Oankali do this by incorporating some of their own DNA into the remaining humans as well as what will become humanity’s children. By doing this, they are not only NOT saving humanity, they are making humans an extinct species. Read more

“Free Will”

Is there such a thing as free will? Octavia Butler’s Fledgling has made me rethink this philosophical debate. Within this work, as those who’ve read it know, the saliva of an Ina bite addicts humans to the Ina’s saliva. This gives the Ina control over the human; however, still allowing the human to make independent decisions. Even without being bitten however, Ina still can influence humans through speech and action. This is no special skill as anyone can do the same regardless of how effective they are in doing so. People persuade, manipulate, and encourage others into doing various actions both intentionally and unintentionally. This mental effect people have on one another is called influence. Read more

A Better Way?

Jonathan Kalman

In the world of Octavia Butler’s “Clay’s Ark”, those infected by the Proxi Two virus have strong sexual urges that cannot be easily restrained. According to Stephen Kaneshiro, a resident of the Clay’s Ark enclave, the parasite makes you, “like having kids. Makes you need to have them” (Butler, Page 532). As far as the readers are lead to believe, these urges are hardwired, rather than environmentally driven. Converting others is not exactly a want, but it becomes almost a need. Eli, patient zero states, Read more

Reaction to Bloodchild

Before diving into the main focus I wish to present within this blog post, I would just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild. I was completely unable to predict where the story would go at any point within this work and that made this reading all the more enjoyable.

What I wish to discuss here is the relationship between the Tlic and humans and whether this connection is mutualistic or parasitic. For clarification purposes, mutualism will be defined as having both parties benefit from the abilities of the other. However, parasitic will be defined as a one-sided relationship in which only one party benefits and has the potential to harm the second party. Read more