Time Traveling in Octavia Butler’s ‘Kindred’

March 2, 2020

First published in 1979, Octavia E. Butler‘s Kindred remains a touchstone of speculative fiction. For Ploughshares, Kat Solomon takes a closer look at how Butler uses time travel to reckon with the main character’s family history of slavery in the antebellum South. “Like much great speculative fiction,” Solomon writes, “the fantastic in Kindred functions as both an opportunity for the unfolding of an unusual story while also serving as a kind of foundational metaphor, in this case for the ways that the history of slavery continues to assert itself in the present.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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