Monday, February 27, 2006

Author Octavia Butler Passes On

Octavia Butler passed away over the weekend at the age of 58. I became very fascinated with Ms. Butler, 6 years ago, when I first heard an interview with her on National Public Radio. I was living in Boston at the time and didn't have a television, so the radio, together with the Internet, was my only source of news and entertainment. I'm so glad that it was, otherwise I would never have heard that wonderfully engaging interview.

I had read about Octavia Butler before then, when she won the MacArthur Genius Grant. However, what really made me remember her was her genre of writing. She wrote science fiction, but not the typical "Beam me up, Scotty" sci-fi stuff. Her books dealt with issues of race and gender (with particular emphasis on being black and female). She posed a lot of "what if?" questions in her books.

I bought two of her books, which are still on my 'To Be Read' queue, so I cannot yet share my own opinions of her work. However, the favourable reviews and respect that she earned during her career for her body of work speak volumes of the type of inspiring writer she was.

Edited to Add: Author, Tayari Jones, has a great collection of tributes to Octavia Butler on her blog.

7 comments:

It's Just My Opinion said...

Thanks for the links-I was so hurt to read about her passing-Kindred was the first novel of hers that introduced me to the concept that black women could and did write science fiction, and wrote it well-the books she read really transcending racial boundaries, which made me even more proud of her. I want to go back through now and reread all she's ever written.

sokari said...

I to have never read Octavia Butler but I knew of her and the impact she made with her sci-fi writing in a genre that is essentially white. I also intend to read at least one of her books in the near future. I have "Skin Folk" by Nalo Hopkinson gathering dust so my next task is to get on and start to read Black Science Fiction. Let me know which of Octavia's you choose and maybe we can read it together and have a discussion :)
In peace and friendship

Ore said...

I have "Parables of the Talents" and "Kindred", which both look very good. POTT is part of a series and I don't think I have the earlier parts, so I might start with Kindred first. I won't be reading it for a while though, as I've promised myself to *try* to only read one book at a time .

oluyemisi said...

I cannot believe this. Octavia Butler is my favorite sci-fi writer. In fact, just a few months ago, I found myself reading through her entire Kindred series again. Wow.

p.s. Ore, I am really enjoying your blog.

yemisi.

Ore said...

Thanks, Yemisi! Oh, I thought Kindred stood alone. Is it in the same series as Parable of the Talents?

Fred Cipriano said...

I sure miss Octavia Butler, I decided to make a video about her fantastic book kindred because I miss her so much :(
here it is

Ore said...

A video? I'll certainly check it out.