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Monday, June 14, 2021

This Day in History: June 22, Sci-Fi Maven Octavia Butler is Born

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Karen Hunter
Karen Hunter
A former sports and news reporter with the New York Daily News for 16 years, Karen served four of those years on the editorial board of The News, where she was a member of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize- and Polk Award-winning teams. She was also the paper’s first African-American female news columnist. As the head of Karen Hunter Books (KHB), an imprint with Simon & Schuster, Karen has published No. 1 New York Times bestseller True You by pop icon Janet Jackson, New York Times bestselling Kris Jenner and All Things Kardashian by Kris Jenner

There wouldn’t be The Walking Dead without the works of Octavia Butler, who was one of the first to explore a world where “human zombies” have taken over the planet. In Parable of the Sower (featured in this week’s Book List) and Parable of the Talents, Butler explores man’s inhumanity to man when we are at our most vulnerable states.

The conclusions she reaches in her book are both horrifying and cautionary. She said these books are not prophetic, but rather a warning of what we can become. She didn’t live to see that her books were indeed prophetic.

Butler also wrote about vampires and “outer space” and space travel—connecting with beings from other planets. But the common thread in her writing was humanity.

She inspired the likes of Tananarive Due, who has picked up the mantle in her own style to delve into the supernatural and unknown worlds. But Octavia Butler still remains the queen of this genre.

Butler was born on this day in 1947 in Pasadena, California. Her mother, Octavia Margaret Guy, was a maid and her father, Laurice James Butler, who died when Butler was 7, shined shoes. She was man only child. You can read more about her life in the Guardian obituary.

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