Black SF Primer–Octavia Butler

For this week, I will highlight a woman who is arguably one of the most well-known and most celebrated SF writers of the latter 20th century.

Octavia Butler

Butler spent years honing her craft, studying at Pasadena Community College, with the Screen Writers Guild Open Door Program, and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop.  That effort paid off.  Soon after her tenure with Clarion, Butler’s published her first short story in 1971.   From there, she went on to publish more than 14 other novel length works as well as numerous short stories.  She received many awards for her fiction, particularly her short stories, including the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Locus.  She was the recipient of a MacArthur Grant and inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

Butler is one of the earliest authors (on this list) to write solely in the speculative vein and she frequently incorporated a good deal of science in her story as well.  From Kindred to Imago to Parable of the Sower,  Butler’s works all have a speculative component.  Her novels are set in the present and the near and distance futures.  They are about dystopian possibilities, alien invasions, and time travel.  Through SF, Butler explores issues as varied as the generational legacies of slavery to the potential catastrophic impacts of environmental exploitation.

For more information about Butler, check out her website.

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