Octavia E. Butler's Kindred, adapted by John Jennings and Damian Duffy

Octavia E. Butler's Kindred is a classic for a reason: it's memorable and dramatic and utterly terrifying. And in Damian Duffy and John Jennings's excellent graphic novel adaptation of Kindred, you don't need to imagine the horrors in Butler's novel, you can experience them via full-color illustrations! (The better to keep you up at night.)

First published in 1979, Kindred is the story of a young African-American writer named Dana, who finds herself inexplicably transported back in time to the home of her ancestors, a white slaveholder named Rufus and a freeborn black woman named Alice. Dana discovers that life-threatening danger returns her to her own time, but she keeps being dragged back into the past—a past that threatens her safety, her freedom, and her very existence.

The artwork featured in Kindred is direct and effective, and the limited color palette helped me concentrate on the details of the story. Jennings did an A+ job of condensing Butler's book into a graphic novel format, although the ending felt a little abrupt (which may be the fault of the original novel). And even if this particular adaptation had been terrible—which it definitely isn't—nothing could take away from the power of Butler's story. Kindred is an devastatingly effective piece of speculative fiction, one that offsets a far-fetched premise with hideously plausible characters and emotions.
Posted by: Julianka


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