The Butterfly Kid
Cover of first edition (paperback)
|Cover artist||Gray Morrow|
|Series||Greenwich Village Trilogy|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Unicorn Girl
by Michael Kurland
The Butterfly Kid is a science fiction novel by Chester Anderson originally released in 1967. It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1968. The novel is the first part of the Greenwich Village Trilogy, with Michael Kurland writing the second book (The Unicorn Girl) and the third volume (The Probability Pad) written by T.A. Waters.
The novel is primarily set in Greenwich Village, and is thoroughly saturated with psychedelic and 1960s counterculture elements. The time is an undefined near future, indicated by SF elements such as video phones and personal hovercraft; the Bicentennial is also mentioned. The use of psychoactive drugs and their effects are a central element of the story; much of the action revolves around an alien-introduced drug (referred to as "Reality Pills") that cause LSD-like hallucinations to manifest physically, generally causing chaos. The book's protagonist shares a name with the author, and another character shares the name of Michael Kurland, a friend and roommate of the author's at that time.
The book's title refers to a character, Sean, who is able to spontaneously produce butterflies of all shapes, sizes, and colors after taking a "Reality Pill." Although Sean is introduced very early in the story, he is not the novel's central character.
Literary significance & criticism
The book's counterculture subject matter and lighthearted tone have led to it being associated with the New Wave movement in science fiction. Although some reviews state that the novel is "written with wit and elegance," and "an engaging expression of countercultural exuberance," another points to it being "already dated" as of 1984.
- First edition published by Pyramid Books, 1967, 190 pp
- First hardcover edition published by Gregg Press, 1977, ISBN 0-8398-2374-6
- Paperback re-release published by Pocket Books, 1980, 204 pp, ISBN 0-671-83296-4
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: Hugo Nominees List". Locus Magazine (Locusmag.com). Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- Anderson, Chester (1967). The Butterfly Kid. Pyramid Books.
- Latham, Rob (2011). ""A Journey Beyond the Stars", 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Psychedelic Revolution in 1960s Science Fiction". In Westfahl, Gary; Yuen, Wong Kin; Chan, Amy Kit-Sze; Palumbo, Donald E.; Sullivan, C.W., III. Science Fiction and the Prediction of the Future: Essays on Foresight and Fallacy. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., Publishers. ISBN 0786484764. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Peter Nicholls, ed. (1979). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1st ed.). Roxby Press. p. 30.
- Barron, Neil, ed. (1987). Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction (3rd ed.). New York: R.R Bowker Company. p. 223. ISBN 0835223124.
- Wingrove, David, ed. (1984). The Science Fiction Sourcebook. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Inc. p. 91.
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