On the Shelf: Octavia Butler

Octavia Estelle Butler signing a copy of Fledg...

Octavia Estelle Butler signing a copy of Fledgling after speaking and answering questions from the audience. The event was part of a promotional tour for the book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wish there were more voices like the one of Octavia Butler. We need the profound social commentary. The vision. The honesty.

How I Found Her

I discovered Octavia Butler because one of my fellow hikers on the AT recommended Parable of the Sower to me. I was rapt.

I’ve gone on to read Clay’s Ark, and am slowly getting my hands on anything I can find by this author. I’m sad that she’s passed away, and that this is a finite list. I’m sad that they are often not on the shelf. And I’m sad that more people don’t know about this author.

Why I Love Reading Her Work

Her writing is smooth and lyrical, but her topics and text are dark and dystopian. Her voice is strong. But her characters are facing the apocalypse down with little to no real tools at their disposal. Sower was about Faith.

I love reading her stuff. I love her writing style, and I adore that her characters are all shapes, sizes and races. This diversity feels more real to me in terms of the long term plans of the planet. And it makes sense to me that she’s got that kind of perspective. I love it.

What I Learn About Writing From Her

I learned what not to do in terms of pacing with Clay’s ark. It was experimental, and I hated it. A narrative flow that works from front to back would have worked better for me. I love her voice. I think if I learn anything about her it’s the voice and the way she builds on a theme or an idea one tiny bit at a time.

Weirdly, in terms of lyricism and themes, I see a lot of similarities in style between Butler and Chuck Palahniuk.  (I guarantee that’s a comparison you’ve never seen anywhere else.)


4 thoughts on “On the Shelf: Octavia Butler

  1. Pingback: On the Shelf Roundup – My Favorite Authors | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

  2. Pingback: Author Alphabet | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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