BLACK HISTORY MONTH/OCTAVIA BUTLER
Born in Pasadena, Calif., in 1947, Octavia Estelle Butler was an extremely shy girl that escaped into fantasy and sci-fi to deal with her condition. Butler often accompanied her widowed mother to her job where she worked as a domestic. Entering through back doors and kitchens, Butler got to see how horribly black women were treated and disrespected.
At the age of 12, Butler saw the movie “Devil Girl From Mars”, and said to herself, “I could write something better than that.” And so, ‘Black History’ added another literary giant & the characters should would go on to create, to its’ iconography.
Butler wrote about telepathic & animal-like post humans, aliens that breed their young through human host, religious fundamentalist, and vampires. Her stories always included what I believe to be the quintessential element sci-fi. A question! How will humanity overcome its’ most prescient weaknesses? If not, how will it live with them? And where do they come from? Socioeconomic, political, & environmental collapse, corporate greed, rage, and mental illness all have made it into to stories.
Octavia Butler died in Lake Forest Park, Washington, on February 24, 2006, aged 58. Her childhood home of Pasadena as of now has no physical or otherwise stated honorifics in her name. Nothing that could inspire young women and girls of color to see themselves in her success. Not even some obligatory award or standing statement that would allow the City of Pasadena to claim some minor credit for the woman she became.