Thursday 3 September 2020

Octavia Butler becomes a New York Times bestselling author

Legendary science fiction author Octavia E. Butler has achieved one of her life's goals, becoming a New York Times bestselling author almost fifteen years after her sad passing.

A reprint of Butler's novel The Parable of the Sower (1993) has hit the list at #14 for several reasons. A popular podcast called Octavia's Parables has been airing this year taking the novel as inspiration, whilst the book has been showing up in TV series such as The OA and High Maintenance. The novel was also adapted this year as a graphic novel.

The Parable of the Sower is the first in a duology, followed by The Parable of the Talents (1998). The books are set in a near future which society has collapsed due to climate change, resource scarcity and rampant inequality, with the rising inequities blamed on racial and religious minorities. The books tell the story of a young woman named Lauren Oya Olamina, who has the ability to feel the pain of people she encounters. Olamina founds a movement called "Earthseed," which seeks to unify mankind to end this period of chaos and bring it together for the ultimate challenge, colonising other worlds. But many dangers threaten the enterprise.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) was one of science fiction's biggest names in the latter part of the 20th Century. She won the Hugo and Nebula awards, and became the first SF author to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She started writing science fiction in the late 1960s, selling her story "Childfinder" to Harlan Ellison for The Last Dangerous Visions (and thus has never been published) and "Crossover" to the annual Clarion anthology (1971). Her best-known works, along with the Earthseed duology, are the Patternist series and the Xenogenesis Trilogy. Her other work includes Kindred (1979), Bloodchild (1984) and Fledgling (2005).

Butler planned a third novel in the series, Parable of the Trickster, but was unable to complete it before her passing.


FabianR said...

Hello Adam, you got a "typo" there "biggest names in the latter part of the 21st Century". Should be 20th Century.

Keep up the excellent work.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a fantastic surprise! I just read these two novels last year, and they are outstanding.