Butler is a master at world-building. Often called her “pregnant man” story, this short story follows a day in the life of a human on a distant planet in an arrangement with the insect-like creatures that rule over them. Butler says she wrote it after reading about insects that lay their eggs in other animals as I way to exercise and investigate her dual fascination and repulsion at the thought. It’s certainly not a story for the squeamish (which I had forgotten recently until I reread it and gasped all over again), but those brave enough to read will find a tale told with sensitivity and a slowl sense of dawning horror. As always Butler shows that science-fiction is never just about aliens and spaceships and she has some of the smartest character building and plotting around.
First published in 1984, Collected in Bloodchild and Other Stories, Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1995. I hesitate to link to Amazing, but a free Kindle edition is available here