If you’re in the process of creating that summer reading list, then you’d better pay attention. You probably saw that Google doodle of Octavia E. Butler on June 22nd, without even realizing who she was or why. How many of us actually take the time to stop and click on Google’s featured doodles? Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer, would have celebrated her 71st birthday on Friday, June 22nd. Google chose to honor this pioneering lady on her would-be birthday— and rightfully so. Butler was born in the city of Pasadena, California in the year 1947. She battled dyslexia, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a writer. Why should you add some of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction novels to your summer reading list? Because she was a game-changer!
Why Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels Deserve Your Attention This Summer
Octavia E. Butler wasn’t a published novelist until 1976, with her work Patternmaster. This novel was the first of four in the Patternist series. Goodreads details the series as “a secret history continuing from the Ancient Egyptian period to the far future that involves telepathic mind control and an extraterrestrial plague.” However, Butler didn’t really gain the recognition that she deserved until she published her novel Kindred in 1979. The African American female protagonist is able to time travel back and forth between 1970s Los Angeles and a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Not only did Butler contribute to the genre of science fiction, but she personally pushed the boundaries of societal norms and offered a broader expanse of character perspectives. During Butler’s time, the genre of science fiction was dominated by white males. Luckily, Butler was able to extend the audience of science fiction by including African Americans, feminists, and general fans of science fiction. She’s just as important now as her contributions were then. Plus, you’ll love her dystopian themes. Even though some years have passed, her literary works are still as relevant as they were when they were published.
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Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler to Your Summer Reading List: Featured Photo Credit: The Washington Library.