Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oh, I was really hoping this terrible news

would be fictitious, like I was just imagining I'd seen it, but now Justine as well as Ed have blogged it (and the original report comes from Steven Barnes's blog). Octavia Butler is dead. But she was much too young! It is an injustice. Butler is one of those special writers for me, I remember first reading Parable of the Sower and being just startled with a sense of recognition: this is my kind of writer. I don't have it that often, actually; I mean, obviously, I love a ton of different kinds of books, but what I'm talking about here is different, it's seeing something (I don't know what to call it; perhaps some combination of intellectual energy and storytelling and sensibility?) that is exactly, exactly what I aspire to get myself in my writing. The idea that we will not have the five or six or seven more novels that surely Butler would have written--oh, it is too sad to contemplate.

Here's Ed's recent podcast interview with Butler, anyway, which I haven't listened to yet but seems to cover an amazing range of topics. Here's me loving her last novel Fledgling in December, and here's the Amazon link for Fledgling (which has my highest recommendation, it is a wonderfully good novel--with vampires).


  1. I remember discovering Octavia Butler through a powerful short story that I can't for the life of me remember the title of. It had to do with some sort of disease that made you tear away at yourself, to try to burrow in somehow, and .... well, alas I can't remember, except that it made a big impact and a new fan. If anyone knows what I'm talking about and could pass on the name, I would love to track it down. I'm so sorry she's gone.

  2. The story is "The Evening And the Morning And the Night". It's truly brilliant. It's about to be reprinted in my anthology Daughters of Earth. Accompanied by a truly brilliant essay by Andrea Hairston.

    I can't tell you how very glad I am Ms Butler allowed us to reprint the story. Nor how sad I am that she's dead.

  3. Justine, thanks so much for the info. I look forward to your anthology.