The World Loses A Brilliant Mind: Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler Dies | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The World Loses A Brilliant Mind: Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler Dies

Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler Dies

Filed at 11:53 p.m. ET

SEATTLE (AP) -- Octavia E. Butler, considered the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, has died, a close friend said Sunday. She was 58.

Butler fell and struck her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home, said Leslie Howle, a longtime friend and employee at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.

The writer, who suffered from high blood pressure and heart trouble and could only take a few steps without stopping for breath, was found outside her home in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park and died Friday, Howle said.

Butler's work wasn't preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre's artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature.

''She stands alone for what she did,'' Howle said. ''She was such a beacon and a light in that way.''She received many awards, and in 1995 Butler was the first science fiction writer granted a ''genius'' award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which paid $295,000 over five years.

Butler described herself as a happy hermit, and never married.

''Mostly she just loved sitting down and writing,'' Seattle-based science fiction writer Greg Bear said. ''For being a black female growing up in Los Angeles in the '60s, she was attracted to science fiction for the same reasons I was: It liberated her. She had a far-ranging imagination, and she was a treasure in our community.''

Previous Comments

ID
105072
Comment

This is a great loss to me. Octavia Butler was the first author I read that made me feel like I could make it as a literary artist. She was a living example for so many of what hard work can do. I am just glad that she experienced glory while she was still alive.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-27T13:43:06-06:00
ID
105073
Comment

For those who are true Octavia Butler fans, here is one of my favorite interviews that she did. Check it out: http://www.jelanicobb.com/portfolio/obutler.html

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-27T14:43:48-06:00
ID
105074
Comment

Update on this: I have contacted Jelani Cobb, the gentleman who interviewed Butler in my previous post. He will come on the show in March 2006 to talk about the impact of her work on the science fiction genre and what is considered African American literature. Will keep you posted on when. You can visit www.jelanicobb.com for more on him.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-27T23:25:12-06:00
ID
105075
Comment

Thanks to Ms. Butler for her creativity and work, a beautiful human.

Author
chicken
Date
2006-03-01T19:05:12-06:00
ID
105076
Comment

Octavia Butlers books are amazing. I mean, truly. Such incredible vision. And keen social observations. I just found out today she died--heard it on NPR. Thanks for posting this C. A. -- I'm so sad about this.

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-03-06T14:04:20-06:00
ID
105077
Comment

I deeply regret Ms. Butler's passing. I had the honor of meeting her two years ago at a writers' convention where she was the guest of honor; I sat beside her at a booksigning and got to chat with her. She impressed me as a person of humility and grace; it was a joy to talk with her. She is a great loss to the literary world.

Author
V.Randall
Date
2006-03-06T22:57:45-06:00

Like independent media outlets around the world, the Jackson Free Press works hard to produce important content on a limited budget. We'd love your help! Become a JFP VIP member today and/or donate to our journalism fund. Thanks for considering a JFP VIP membership or one-time support.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus