A small rant and some love for Butler

As a black woman who has grown up loving science fiction, I think it is a shame I just now heard of Octavia E. Butler and her stunning work. As of today, January 1st, 2018, I have only read four of her books: Dawn, Imago and Adulthood Rites of the Lilith’s Brood (Xenogenesis) series and Kindred. I want to marinate in these works and, possibly, write a short essay on them later, but right now, I will focus on my frustration of never hearing about Butler until now.

As previously mentioned, I grew up a black nerd. My grandfather and I watched Star Trek every night. My grandmother would almost be late for church most Sundays, due to her watching Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. I was bullied for reading better than most of my classmates and I was obsessed with Pokemon, Digimon, and Yu-Gi-Oh to such a degree that I would cry that I had a regular dog and parakeet instead of a Growlithe and Dragonite. My parents would exchange odd looks wondering who this strange child was, the strange child that was indeed their daughter. I would later go to college, studying English Literature and taking a broad range of classes to read all kinds of books, even ones I would have never wanted to read normally. One of my favourite classes was African-American Literature, in which we focused on how rap and hip-hop continued the tradition of the oral tradition, passing on stories through word of mouth, like in Greek with the Odyssey or like with African slaves, who were barred from reading.

However, not even in African-American literature did I learn about Octavia E. Butler and the genre of Black Science-Fiction and Fantasy. While it may not anger many, it angers me. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, that loving aliens and wishing to be with the stars was wrong. Had I learned earlier, I would have learned how to embrace my nerd-self so much easier than trying to deny everything and feeling like a stranger with myself.

Black Science-Fiction fits so well into the larger works of Black Americans as it touches on the very concepts we face every day, but Black Science-Fiction has a way of reaching more than just those of the brown skin variety. Everyone of every shade of color is made an alien in the larger picture of the works and, in some cases, we must all come together for a greater good.

I hope I’m making some sense. My head feels scrambled after Kindred. I highly recommend it.

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading... Related