Monday, February 27, 2006

Octavia Butler: A Science Fiction Hero

Octavia Butler died last Friday, 24 Feb 2006, after falling and hitting her head outside her home in Seattle. LiP Magazine has a .pdf of an interview they did with her about her most recent novel, Fledgling. I was lucky enough to hear Ms. Butler talk about her book, on a night of high wind and driving rain in Toronto, the sort of night when no sensible person is (doing anything but?) fighting their way across campus carrying a large box to see one of their heroes. Many other sensible people fought the good fight, and listened, for an hour, to some amazing stories, good advice and incisive political analysis. Democracy Now has a brief obituary, reminding readers that Butler always used her position as one of the few African-American writers of science fiction to engage in critique of political power, racial inequality, sexism and attendant oppressions. She did so with high humour, much hope and an ever-evolving set of characters who provide new models for living, as she did in her writing life.

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