Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler

Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Rohkohn Hao, Tahneh, was sharing her evening meal with her chief judge and discussing the current drought when she first learned of the foreigners who had entered her territory.


A Necessary Evil is about an alien race that is strictly class-based. In each class, your rank is additionally determined by how much blue you have in your colouring. Above all classes are the Hao, who are pure blue, a warrior-class that is faster, stronger, camouflages better and lead their tribes.

A tribe without a Hao is considered incomplete. So each tribe will do whatever they can to secure a Hao. Sometimes they are born, but if not, they steal one from another tribe and force them to serve them.

Tahneh is a Hao, born into the bride. Her father, on the other hand, was captured and crippled so he could never return to his own tribe. Since his death, Tahneh has been the only Hao. She doesn’t realize how lonely she is until a young Hao wanders into her territory. Her tribe is determined to capture it. She knows what that means and has to decide between her horror at the thought of crippling him and her loneliness.

I really liked the novella. The culture, the way these aliens came to life. It was a great read and I’d loved to have known more about this world.

The second story is a short story about a telepath wo used to be part of a telepathic organization. But she’s become disaffected with them and now she is living alone, recruiting her own organization by finding children with telepathic abilities and training them.

Not that I minded the place really. I’d lived in worse. And I killed every damn rat and roach on the premises before I moved in. Besides, there was this kid next door. Young, educable, with the beginnings of a talent she was presently using for shoplifting. A pre-telepath.

It was a great little story, I just wish there would have been more of it!


A compelling novella and a great short story.

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