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Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006)

Author of Kindred

57+ Works 43,826 Members 1,463 Reviews 273 Favorited

About the Author

Science-fiction writer and novelist Octavia Estelle Butler was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. She earned as Associate of Arts degree from Pasadena City College in 1968 and later attended California State University and the University of California. Her first novel, Patternmaster, show more was the first in a series about a society run by a group of telepaths who are mentally linked to one another. She explored the topics of race, poverty, politics, religion, and human nature in her works. She won a Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story Speech Sounds and a Hugo Award and Nebula Award in 1985 for her novella Bloodchild. She received a MacArthur Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award pays $295,000 over a five-year period to creative people who push the boundaries of their fields. She died in Lake Forest Park, Washington on February 24, 2006 at the age of 58. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred (1979) 8,358 copies
Parable of the Sower (1993) 8,070 copies
Parable of the Talents (1998) 3,539 copies
Dawn (1987) 3,405 copies
Fledgling (2005) 2,979 copies
Wild Seed (1980) 2,828 copies
Lilith's Brood (1987) 2,579 copies
Adulthood Rites (1988) 1,682 copies
Imago (1989) 1,524 copies
Mind of My Mind (1977) 1,347 copies
Clay's Ark (1984) 1,226 copies
Patternmaster (1976) 1,119 copies
Seed to Harvest (2007) 963 copies
Bloodchild and Other Stories (1971) 511 copies
Survivor (1978) 352 copies
Unexpected Stories (2014) 238 copies
Bloodchild [short fiction] (1984) 156 copies
Speech Sounds {story} (1983) 23 copies
Amnesty {story} (2003) 4 copies
Science Fiction Special 32 (1981) — Contributor — 3 copies
Near of Kin {story} (1979) 3 copies
Crossover {story} (1971) 3 copies
De zaaier (2024) 2 copies
Kindred 1 copy
Bloodchild 1 copy
Science Fiction Special 31 (1979) — Contributor — 1 copy
Journeys (1996) — Contributor — 1 copy

Associated Works

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (2008) — Contributor — 1,546 copies
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories (2011) — Contributor — 821 copies
The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016) — Contributor — 415 copies
Year's Best SF 9 (2004) — Contributor — 257 copies
The 1985 Annual World's Best SF (1985) — Contributor — 239 copies
The Secret History of Fantasy (2010) — Contributor — 200 copies
The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women (1995) — Contributor — 166 copies
Future on Ice (1998) — Contributor — 143 copies
The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction (2010) — Contributor — 133 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 4 (2004) — Contributor — 112 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 102 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection (1985) — Contributor — 100 copies
Foundations of Fear (1992) — Contributor — 98 copies
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #14 (1985) — Contributor — 73 copies
The Best of Isaac Asimovs SF Magazine (1988) — Contributor — 71 copies
Clarion (1971) — Contributor — 62 copies
Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler (2017) — Contributor — 57 copies
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume IX (1993) — Contributor — 52 copies
Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists (2003) — Contributor — 51 copies
Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture (2002) — Contributor — 43 copies
Crucified Dreams (2011) — Contributor — 39 copies
Sense of Wonder: A Century of Science Fiction (2011) — Contributor — 30 copies
Invaders! (1993) — Contributor — 29 copies
Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars (2013) — Contributor — 24 copies
Chrysalis 4 (1979) — Contributor — 21 copies
Omni Visions One (1993) — Contributor — 12 copies
Ikarus 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 8 copies
Sinister Wisdom 71: Open Issue (2007) — Contributor — 5 copies


20th century (181) African American (695) afrofuturism (166) aliens (336) American (172) American literature (183) anthology (1,120) California (161) dystopia (628) dystopian (228) ebook (605) fantasy (1,211) feminism (261) fiction (4,340) goodreads (209) historical fiction (354) horror (335) Kindle (451) novel (605) Octavia Butler (226) own (157) paperback (159) post-apocalyptic (534) race (287) read (542) religion (254) science fiction (7,677) Science Fiction/Fantasy (213) series (267) sf (1,266) sff (625) short stories (1,050) slavery (503) speculative fiction (619) time travel (597) to-read (4,892) unread (354) USA (140) vampires (297) Xenogenesis (142)

Common Knowledge



January 2021: Octavia Butler in Monthly Author Reads (November 2021)
Octavia Butler: American Author Challenge in 75 Books Challenge for 2017 (August 2017)


Not sure why I happened upon this classic sci-if novel, written in 1993, which interestedly begins its narrative in 2024. It might be because my current Libby App is not offering much in the way of decent literary fiction. So somewhere I heard this author mentioned and decided to venture into unknown territory. Octavia Butler became the first science-fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur fellowship, and the book is often grouped with 1984 and the Handmaid's Tale.
The narrator, Lauren Olamina, is a 15 year old girl living in a walled California community, trying to fend off the outside groups from invading. Climate change, poverty and unemployment have created this Mad Max existence- speculative fiction; no aliens or vampires, just a projection of what was current issues. "I considered drugs and the effects of drugs on the children of drug addicts. I looked at the growing rich/ poor gap, at throwaway labor, at our willingness to build and fill prisons, our reluctance to build and repair schools and libraries, and at our assault on the environment. In particular, I looked at global warming and the ways in which it’s likely to change things for us."
In addition to the vivid portrait of the setting, the narrator is equally engaging. Lauren has hyper-empathy, meaning she feels the pain of others as her own. She is a sharer. She also is forming the tenets of her our religion- Earthseed, where God is Change. Butler writes"change is the one inescapable truth, change is the basic clay of our lives. In order to live constructive lives, we must learn to shape change when we can and yield to it when we must. Either way, we must learn and teach, adapt and grow."
The arc of the novel is a journey Lauren takes with others when her community is destroyed. Having lost her family, she bonds with others to hopefully find a place where they can exist. The novel reaches a satisfying ending but also sets up the sequel.
The dogs used to belong to people—or their ancestors did. But dogs eat meat. These days, no poor or middle class person who had an edible piece of meat would give it to a dog.

And you know that drug that makes people want to set fires?” She nodded, chewing. “It’s spreading again. It was on the east coast. Now it’s in Chicago. The reports say that it makes watching a fire better than sex.

I like Curtis Talcott a lot. Maybe I love him. Sometimes I think I do. He says he loves me. But if all I had to look forward to was marriage to him and babies and poverty that just keeps getting worse, I think I’d kill myself.

“That’s the ultimate Earthseed aim, and the ultimate human change short of death. It’s a destiny we’d better pursue if we hope to be anything other than smooth-skinned dinosaurs—here today, gone tomorrow, our bones mixed with the bones and ashes of our cities.”
… (more)
novelcommentary | 236 other reviews | Apr 9, 2024 |
his is one I've been meaning to read for a while, and boy am I glad I did. Butler uses sci-fi to explore the slave experience in the early 1800s. Dana is a young black woman living with her new white husband in 70's era Los Angeles. One day she gets dizzy and finds herself transported back to 1815 Maryland and finds the young son of a Plantation owner drowning. She saves him, but in doing so she is threatened with a gun and is transported back. She becomes linked to this boy. Whenever he's in trouble she goes back to help him. Whenever she's threatened in the past, she is sent home. Time hardly moves in LA, but years go by in Maryland. Each time she goes back it becomes harder and harder to reconcile the free and independent woman she is with the slave she needs to be. A fascinating read.… (more)
mahsdad | 349 other reviews | Apr 3, 2024 |
Weird, uncomfortable and confronting.
Lokileest | 14 other reviews | Apr 2, 2024 |
I wanted to like it more.
bookem | 349 other reviews | Mar 27, 2024 |


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