Tag Archives science fiction

Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels to Your Summer Reading List


If you’re in the process of creating that summer reading list, then you’d better pay attention. You probably saw that Google doodle of Octavia E. Butler on June 22nd, without even realizing who she was or why. How many of us actually take the time to stop and click on Google’s featured doodles? Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer, would have celebrated her 71st birthday on Friday, June 22nd. Google chose to honor this pioneering lady on her would-be birthday— and rightfully so. Butler was born in the city of Pasadena, California in the year 1947. She battled dyslexia, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a writer. Why should you add some of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction novels to your summer reading list? Because she was a game-changer!

Why Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels Deserve Your Attention This Summer

Octavia E. Butler wasn’t a published novelist until 1976, with her work Patternmaster. This novel was the first of four in the Patternist series. Goodreads details the series as “a secret history continuing from the Ancient Egyptian period to the far future that involves telepathic mind control and an extraterrestrial plague.” However, Butler didn’t really gain the recognition that she deserved until she published her novel Kindred in 1979. The African American female protagonist is able to time travel back and forth between 1970s Los Angeles and a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Not only did Butler contribute to the genre of science fiction, but she personally pushed the boundaries of societal norms and offered a broader expanse of character perspectives. During Butler’s time, the genre of science fiction was dominated by white males. Luckily, Butler was able to extend the audience of science fiction by including African Americans, feminists, and general fans of science fiction. She’s just as important now as her contributions were then. Plus, you’ll love her dystopian themes.  Even though some years have passed, her literary works are still as relevant as they were when they were published.

Read the full article at Newsweek.

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Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler to Your Summer Reading List: Featured Photo Credit: The Washington Library.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review


When I’m watching a summer blockbuster, I’m looking for a few things: action, hilarity, and a good story with charismatic characters; these three things are usually key in the making of a hit movie. Guardians of the Galaxy meets these expectations and, cliché as it is to say, brings more to the table, making this end-of-the-summer flick worth your hard-earned shillings. Speaking of which, GotG is making millions this weekend, more than it was expected to make, and I’m not surprised, when taking into consideration its competition, that it’s breaking records this week. I’m not saying that GotG is by any means the lesser of less-than-entertaining movies out this weekend–even though one could interpret that–but what I will say is that this movie has a lot going for it beyond the explosive spectacle that sizzles screens and fills summer seats, things such as:

1. An Awesome Mix of Music
Besides the usual superhero theme, there’s a soundtrack of 60’s and 70’s hits brought to us courtesy of Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord, the formerly portly recently ab-having funnyman actor Chris Pratt, and his ancient walkman–or, at times, played on his interstellar space scouring starship’s tape player. Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” ooga-chaka’s as we’re introduced to Star-Lord, who appears to be on a treasure hunting mission, and later on The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” which is enjoyed by the Vin Diesel voiced character Groot, who is loquacious yet very concise when picking his (its?) words. The music does more than make heads bob in the theater, it plays a big part in Star-Lord’s personality and history (his mother made him these mixtapes before her passing and his abduction from Earth). The mixtape is Star-Lord’s personal theme music, and accompanies him on his escapades and death-defying dilemmas.

2. D’epique (The Epic) World
What made this film so inviting was the use of a wide variety of colors, seen either on the grand scale of these alien worlds or the countless lives that filled it, both of which were abundantly over stimulating to my senses. There is never a dull moment; each frame is filled with warmth and life, and when there is a lack of it–for example the dank doom-filled den of this film’s antagonist, Ronan the Accuser, played by Lee Pace–it serves only to highlight the lively world  of the Guardians and why it is important to save it from the evil forces of the galaxy. A rainbow of different species filled several scenes; there were red or blue aliens, gray ones, and pink–most of which were created using practical effects–and at one point, Star-Lord is doused in an orange liquid, giving his skin an oompa-loompa John Boehneresque glow. Furthermore, Rocket and Groot, the former voiced by Bradley Cooper, complimented the colors of Drax the Destroyer, played by the hulking Dave Batista, who is colored a dark skinned hunter green whilst Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, bears a light-skinned grass green. The Guardians have an earthy palette of colors that make them appear less than superhuman, and more so… normal, despite being, you know, not from Earth. Which brings me to…

3. The Motley Defenders
These are not your hyper-charged superheroes–they aren’t The Avengers. So bear with me for one moment… These Guardians of the Galaxy are damaged goods. They’re not genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, Tony Stark. They’re not norse god of thunder, Thor. They’re not the beloved national iconic superhuman, Captain America. Rocket the Raccoon is a product of animal experiments! Drax the Destroyer’s entire family was tortured and killed by Ronan the Accuser (the main bad guy). Gamora is the adopted daughter of a genocidal tyrant who not only destroyed her entire family, but who also forced her to become a living weapon, rapt with guilt and also witness to many of her father’s bloody atrocities. So… yeah, they have issues for the most part–except Groot, Groot is chill. At one point I was banking on Groot to give a Fast and Furious picnic speech about the importance of family, but it was, thankfully, shown rather than told during the run of the film. This motley crew, these vagabonds, were seemingly destined to meet, and hilarity and drama ensued from the moment these characters first met. There was grade-A banter between these characters, especially during their impromptu prison break (one of many daring escapes), and I believe this speaks greatly to their characters. Each encounter not only tightens the bonds they have with each other, but also makes them much more human and appealing to us, the viewer. I’m still amazed at how this movie was able to smoothly incorporate all these characters into one film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review: Featured image courtesy of Marvel.com