Legends Never Die: How Octavia Butler’s Memory Shines Harder Each Year
As we approach 14 years after her death, Octavia Butler is being remembered as a visionary for Blackness in science fiction.
Science fiction has a real funny habit of expressing actual events humans will endure over time. No matter how radical and grandiose the idea, with enough time, we end up seeing remenants of these made-up settings actually come to life. America run as a police state. Constant surveillance of civilians. A society connected worldwide by screens of various sizes. Teas sold by beautiful people promising flatter stomachs. They’ve all been written about, and we are living through them right now.
Interestingly enough, there was always a factor missing for much of the sci-fi culture. Black people. Weird that a whole genre and it’s subsets could include aliens, flying cars and weapons that could vaporize galaxies, but not a single Black person. That changed under the careful eye of Octavia Butler.
Proof of Life
For instance, take the Xenogenesis saga. A black woman mysteriously waking up on an alien ship over 250 years after Earth has succumb to a nuclear apocalypse. The Parable series is another feat that focuses on the survival of a Black female protagonist after the socioeconomical fall of American society in the 21st century (*looks outside*).
Such vivid craftsmanship made Black women and people a focal point in realities from our own. Blackness existed with freedom.
The Future Demands More
It has been 14 years since her passing in 2006 and yet Octavia Butler is still receiving her well-deserved flowers. Her influence continues to grow with no signs of slowing down.
Over 100,000 copies of her books are sold each year according to her former literary agent Merrilee Heifetz. Amazon is currently developing a TV show with Viola Davis based on the novel Wild Seeds, while Ava DuVernay is creating another based off the book Dawn. 2019 saw both an asteroid and a Los Angeles lab named after Butler. Google even paid homage to the OG with a Doodle to honor Butler on her 71st birthday on July 22, 2018.
It goes without saying that such an influence affects the Black Nerd community heavily, especially because there may not have been such a thing without her. We can now be proud that we are living proof of Octavia’s imagination come true. Black people ARE the future.