Tag Archives: Octavia Butler

Radio Imagination: a year long celebration of Octavia Butler

“I have the kind of imagination that hears. I think of it as radio imagination.”
-Octavia E. Butler

It’s been ten long years since we lost one of the most imaginative people ever to write in the science fiction genre, Octavia E. Butler. The mark this milestone LA based arts organization Clockshop will be kicking off a year long celebration of her life and work. Dubbed “Radio Imagination” from the quote above, the celebration will kick off on February 27th with a FREE (with RSVP) launch party at ClockShop headquarters

Each month for the rest of the year has an event scheduled. There will be a tour of Octavia’s native Pasadena, including her childhood home and her grave site, an exhibition of art works inspired by her work and a discussion of “radical reproduction” focusing on her story Bloodchild among other events. They will even screen the movie that Octavia credited as her anti-muse, Devil Girl from Mars. As Octavia said:

“It’s impossible to begin to talk about myself and the media without going back to how I wound up writing science fiction, and that is by watching a terrible movie. The movie was called, “Devil Girl from Mars,” and I saw it when I was about 12 years old, and it changed my life… As I was watching this film, I had a series of revelations. The first was that ‘Geez, I can write a better story than that.’ And then I thought, ‘Gee, anybody can write a better story than that.’ And my third thought was the clincher: ‘Somebody got paid for writing that awful story.’ So I was off and writing, and a year later I was busy submitting terrible pieces of fiction to innocent magazines.”

Makes you want to run out and rent a copy, doesn’t it? Actually I sympathize, I read an awful fan fiction and thought “I can do better,” so I started writing. So far I have shown no Octavia Bulter-type genius though. Sigh.

The complete calendar can be found here. Hopefully you can get out to LA and participate sometime during the year.

Octavia Butler is coming to TV!

If you don’t follow Science Fiction, you may not have heard of Octavia Butler. Ms Butler is considered one of the best SciFi writers to ever grace the planet and she did it by, as she said, “writing herself in.” In other words she wrote from the perspective of a marginalized black woman looking to remake society and humanity. You wouldn’t think fiction with a message of “Embrace diversity or be destroyed” would be popular in the overwhelmingly white male SciFi community, but they love her.

Now her novel Dawn may be coming to TV. Producer Allen Bain has optioned the work as the very first project for his new Bainframe production company. This is kind of a tricky project since the novel is about aliens offering the last humans a chance to survive by mating with them and creating a new species. The book has some pretty graphic sex between humans and the alien race so it will interesting to see how that is handled, not to mention the special effects budget since so many of the characters aren’t human. However, from this interview on IO9, it sounds like Bain is very mindful of the challenges this work presents and wants to remain true to Butler’s vision. Let’s hope he pulls it off.  We don’t want another Earthsea debacle.