I haven't read Liza Cody. Thanks for the recommendation! I will check her out on my next library run. The name sounded so familiar, I checked my shelf and it turns out I have a short story anthology she edited, 2nd Culprit. One of her stories is in there, I'm going to re-read that one. R. M. Meluch sounds good, you had me at "wicked sense of humor".

Do you all have any favorite short story anthologies? I think maybe to get my feet wet in sci-fi, I'd like to start in the short story format, figure out whose style I like. One anthology I really like is "Silver Scream", it's horror, but it's also got mystery and sci-fi flavors, which I guess most horror does. It's some powerful stories in there.

Octavia! I really like her writing style, her prose is tight and lean. I get lost in the story; she strikes me as a natural storyteller with the right instincts in flow and pacing. I like what she does with characters (particularly the female characters) and how she handles the complications and nuances of relationships. It was also exciting for me to read something from a Black woman's point of view. Like with the "chick lit" genre, there's a lot of weak writers out there selling books about the African-American experience. And then some of your strong writers (e.g., Alice Walker, Toni Morrison) are, well, deep - tackling heavy issues or have thick prose. Sometimes I just want a fun, engaging, and well-written read that doesn't leave me depressed. So I was probaly thirsty for someone like an Octavia. I don't think it's just Black women that can enjoy her, but perhaps women do make up most of her audience. And her work is social commentary, I imagine every body doesn't want that. Sometimes you just want a story!

So at this point, I probably haven't convinced you to give Octavia another shot! If you like short stories, maybe you could try some of those, she has a compilation called Blood Child. Her last novel, Fledgling, I haven't read, but it's about vampires. How bad could it be!