An Ode to Octavia Butler 1947-2006

I love books. I especially love to own all of the written words of my favorite authors. One such author is/was Octavia Butler whose life was cut short at the age of 58 after slipping and falling on the walkway in front of her home. John Marshall, of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has written a fabulous tribute to her life and writing. I don’t normally read the Seattle Post on line, I just go for the comics, but the tragic headline about one of my favorite authors caught my eye.

For fun reading, I unashamedly (well OK I’m a bit ashamed) admit that I prefer fluff with happy endings. Perhaps a mystery with some suspense and even some sorrow but in the end everything will be OK. Some people watch TV. I read, and re-read. Octavia Butler’s Books are different for me. While they certainly fit my sci-fi, fantasy, unreal world, future world, alternate reality bent, they are not happy books. Indeed, with one or two exceptions, I cannot bring myself to re-read them. The stories are so vivid and emotion evoking I simply cannot. And yet, I will not sell them. I will not donate them. They are cherished by me and kept even though they do not meet my “will read again” criterion for keeping books. The only positive thing about finding her obituary today was learning that she had written a new book that I had not yet discovered.  If you have not yet discovered Octavia, her book “Kindred” had the most mainstream success. For twisted sci-fi I loved her “Xenogenesis” books. For a very disturbing and all too real alternate not-too-distant look at our future, “Parable of the Sower” and “Parable of the Talents” are simply outstanding, even if I cannot bear to read them again.