Review: Octavia Butler’s Kindred
Time Travel has always been an interesting way to look at characters. This the reason why Back To The Future, is so relatable, as one decision in that story has repercussions and thereby making the right one is paramount to everything. Then there is HG Wells The Time Machine, which is a character study at its most base, where you realize man is and will always be the same good and bad. The last example, that most reverberates, is probably Dickens A Christmas Carol, whereby time travel is accomplished through paranormal means.
The one thing that threads all these examples together, is the fact that they barely have characters which possess melanin. When they do like it in Back to the Future, is they are mostly background characters, or plot devices, like Mayor Goldy, to illustrate what certain choices yield. Rarely, has time travel been ideal for people of color, in science fiction, as one could only believe that they may have not existed during those times, which history refutes time and time again. One example in science fiction, that comes to mind, is a 1993 movie by Haile Gerima, called Sankofa, where a model times travels to slavery times.
Enter Octavia Butler, whose is an iconoclast in the science fiction world, and though she passed in 2006, her words live on and more so, in works like these. In Kindred, as the synopsis sums up:
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is abruptly snatched from her home in California and transported to the ante-bellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, has summoned her across time to save him from drowning. After this first summons, she is drawn back, again and again, to protect Rufus and ensure he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana’s ancestor. Each time she arrives in the past, Dana’s sojourns will become more and more dangerous because of Rufus’ obsessive need for her. The reader never knows whether she will survive one journey or the next. It’s only when she finally must save herself from rape by killing Rufus that she is finally freed from the pull of the past.
As I remember reading this book when I was 13, and had not picked it up since, but this adaptation, brought all those goosebumps, back all at once. By story’s end, the reader has been taken on a ride, realizing things about themselves as well as the need for empathy in the human race.
Overall, when it comes to adaptations, this more than captures the spirit, pushes it to new heights. Damian Duffy deftly gets every message Butler was conveying and gets why this book has been a cornerstone, to every Octavia Butler fan. John Jennings‘ illustrations leap off the page, tugging at the reader’s heartstrings, at the right beats and not flinching when most artists would. Altogether, a strong adaptation, which not only met expectations but makes one fall in love with story all over again.
Story: Damian Duffy Art: John Jennings
Story:10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy NOW!!!!!!