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About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler was born on June 22nd, 1947 in Pasadena, California. She was raised primarily by her mother and grandmother, as her father died when she was very young, according to strict Baptist tradition, a faith that she did not maintain past her youth but still left an imprint on her character and writing. She began writing by age ten, when she primarily was interested in fantasy until she discovered science fiction and became fascinated with the wide-open possibilities it offered. She also found inspiration in the form of a bad sci-fi film called Devil Girl from Mars, which led her through this train of thought that she outlined for a speech given at MIT:

“As I was watching this film, I had a series of revelations. The first was that ‘Geez, I can write a better story than that.’ And then I thought, ‘Gee, anybody can write a better story than that.’ And my third thought was the clincher: ‘Somebody got paid for writing that awful story.’ “

Her early forays in science fiction reflected what was already being written, what she described as “stories about thirty-year-old white men who smoke and drank too much.” It took time for her to find her own voice and the stories she wanted to tell; she credited her mentor Harlan Ellison as well as two writing workshops, Writers Guild of America West Open Door Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop, as key factors in her development as a writer.

Her first published short story, entitled “Crossover,” appeared in 1971 and 1976 saw the publication of her first novel, Patternmaster, the inception of a series that culminated in five novels. She also published three novels in her Xenogenesis series, now published under the title Lilith’s Brood, and two volumes in the Parable of the Sower series. Two standalone novels, one short story collection and handful of short stories published online round out her oeuvre; a complete list of her fiction is listed below.

Her awards and recognitions include two Hugo Awards and two Nebula awards, two of the best recognized and most honorable awards in science fiction literature; “Bloodchild” won a Hugo and a Nebula. She also received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 1995 that awarded her a large stipend and a PEN American Center Lifetime Achievement award in writing in 2000.

Ms. Butler died February 24th, 2007, as a result of head injuries sustained from a fall outside her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington, near Seattle.

The works of Octavia Butler

Xenogenesis Trilogy:
Dawn (1987)
Adulthood Rites (1988)
Imago (1989)
trilogy republished as: Lilith's Brood (2000)

Patternist Series, in chronological order:
Wild Seed (1980)
Mind of My Mind (1977)
Patternmaster (1976)
Clay's Ark (1984)
Survivor (1978)

Parable Series:
Parable of the Sower (1994)
Parable of the Talents (1998)

Kindred (1979)

Fledgling (2005)

"Speech Sounds" (1983)
appeared in Asimov's, December 1983; republished in Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995)

"Bloodchild" (1984)
appeared in Asimov's, June 1984; republished in Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995)

Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995)
Second edition published 2005.

Two short stories entilted "Amnesty" and "The Book of Martha" were once online at SciFi.com, but are no longer availabe.

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