25
Jan
09

Octavia Butler

Science Fiction Author, Octavia Butler

Science Fiction Author, Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler, who passed away in 2006, was the only female, black, science fiction writer that know of. I’m going to try to find some of her novels here at the library. It’s very interesting to me when someone steps outside of their demographs comfort zone. She won a bunch of awards, including the Hugo Award, which is one of the highest honors of science fiction.

I’d like to see how much Butler was able to, if at all, to stay outside the easy, politically correct tide. I’ve read some of her interviews and I’m very impressed. For instance,in one interview which took place around the time of Hurricane Katrina and the openings of the Iraq war, she was asked how she felt at that time. Her answer impressed me in that, while she was not happy at all with either of the situation, she didn’t think it was the End of America. Here’s Butler: “But that doesn’t mean I think we’re all going down the toilet, I just don’t see where that hope will come from. I think we need people with stronger ideals than John Kerry or Bill Clinton. I think we need people with more courage and vision. It’s a shame we have had people who are so damn weak.”

Precisely, Octavia, and bless you for saying so.

She was also asked about what fiction had her attention at the time, and she responded about a book called Crater of Doom, by Walter Alvarez. On this she says: “It’s a history of the finding of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. I like it because it shows more about how science is done than most books that you read about the subject. It’s talks about how the way we think about science can become religious if we are not careful. There were people who were firmly entrenched in the belief that things can only happen one way, they found it difficult that it could happen another way.” 

Butler’s views are almost assuredly left-leaning. For one thing, that seems to be the current science fiction trend, as most sci-fi assumes a godless universe. None the less, I’m willing to give anything a shot. Maybe I’ll learn something along the way.

I’ll give some book reviews to tell everyone what I think about Butler’s work.

My favorite science fiction authors are: Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Roger Zelazny, Lucius Shepard, Robert O’Brien, and most of all–PK Dick.  I almost added William Gibson to this list but I think he’s overrated in hind-sight.

I tend to avoid “hard science fiction” as I believe it’s an effort to dazzle an audience with scientific knowledge, most of which is probably actually quasi-scientific. I like sci-fi to tell me a good story, get me involved in the characters and effectively transport me to another reality. Hard sci-fi seems stilted and void of humanity. There are exceptional stories is the sub-genre of course, but such legends as Asimov and Arthur C. Clark

Till then.

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1 Response to “Octavia Butler”


  1. 1 Mike Rozos
    January 26, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Blood Child won both the Hugo and Nebula awards somewhere around 1989-1993ish, I think? I know it was during my Army tour dates.

    I am not familiar with any of her other work, but maybe if you do some research you can enlighten me!

    Interesting subject author. I’ll check back to see what you dig up.


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