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blog — June 21

Celebrate the life of Octavia E. Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)

MacArthur Genius Winner, Grande Dame of Science Fiction, and founding author of Seven Stories Press, Octavia E. Butler was born on June 22, 1947. She would have been 74 today. We miss her every day, and we’re incredibly grateful for the work and legacy she has left behind.

Get to know Octavia Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006):

•  Read a story from Bloodchild

•  Read an excerpt from Parable of the Sower

•  Watch a lost interview between Julie Dash and Octavia Butler 

•  Watch Octavia Butler on Charlie Rose

•  Watch her interview at Balticon

•  Watch this clip from the documentary Black Sci-Fi

A new edition of Octavia Butler's final book, Fledgling, featuring a new introduction by Nisi Shawl and new cover art by Paul Lewin.

Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s last novel, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted—and still wants—to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of "otherness" and questions what it means to be truly human.

A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes "Bloodchild," winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and "Speech Sounds," winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, "Amnesty" is a story of a woman aptly named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is "The Book of Martha" which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself?

Like all of Octavia Butler's best writing, these works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. She proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature's strongest voices.

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[T]he role of the artist is to transcend conventional wisdom, to transcend the word of the establishment, to transcend the orthodoxy, to go beyond and escape what is handed down by the government or what is said in the media.