Read the Resistance, February 2018: Wild Seed
For this month of Read the Resistance, an online book club that highlights written works of and about resistance, we asked Rion Amilcar Scott, author of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction-winning story collection Insurrections, to recommend a book that exemplifies resistance to him. His pick? Wild Seed by Octavia Butler. Join Scott for a discussion about the book on February 27.
“More than any novel I’ve ever read, Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed examines power, what it means to wield it responsibly and what it means to resist it when it is wielded capriciously,” said Scott. “Doro and Anyanwu—two supernaturally powered immortals—are locked in an eternal battle of wills, one that has enormous consequences for the ordinary people around them. From the first moment she meets Doro, Anyanwu—the less (outwardly) powerful of the two—questions the ethics of Doro’s use of power, the way he mercilessly takes from his subjects. When she can longer stand by and observe, Anyanwu resists Doro at every turn, even when resistance appears to be a losing gesture. Early in the book, Doro grabs Anyanwu’s hand and pulls her to him. The narrator notes, ‘She could have broken his grip easily, but she did not.’ The rest of the novel offers up a nuanced view of what it means to break that grip.”
About Rion Amilcar Scott
Rion Amilcar Scott’s work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Fiction International, The Washington City Paper, The Toast, Akashic Books, Melville House, and Confrontation, among others. A story of his earned a place on the Wigleaf Top 50 (very short) Fictions of 2016 and 2013 lists, and one of his essays was listed as a notable in Best American Essays 2015. He was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, and earned an MFA from George Mason University where he won both the Mary Roberts Rinehart award and a Completion Fellowship. He is a Kimbilio fellow. His short story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky) was published in August 2016 and was chosen for The Rumpus‘s Book Club. Presently, he teaches English at Bowie State University. Find him on twitter: @ReeAmilcarScott
About Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler, often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was the author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Talents, winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and numerous literary awards, she has been acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future. She passed away on February 24, 2006.