Flavorwire’s Noah Berlatsky spoke with artist John Jennings by phone about Octavia Butler, adaptation, slavery stories, and black people in fantasy. Below are a couple questions from their conversation. Read the rest of the interview on Flavorwire!
Why adapt Kindred now?
I think Kindred is still an extremely important piece if you see what’s going on now politically. Octavia Butler’s work in general is important to literature, and I think she’s been unsung to a certain degree, even though she has tons of people who love her work. In Kindred, I think she deals with a lot of misconceptions about how slavery has affected our country, on both sides of the fence.
Is time travel in the book metaphorical in the book?
I think the time travel metaphor is a very smart one, because it deals with the way that we’re programmed to think of narration as ending. Someone beats the bad guy up and then they ride off into the sunset. That’s why I think Kindred is such a smart narrative. It deals with the fact that these things aren’t easily ended. At the end of the book there’s a sense that this isn’t resolved.
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