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Creator / Octavia Butler

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Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, and probably the best-known (or in a lot of cases, the only known) African-American in that field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards in her lifetime.

Her first published book was Patternmaster in 1976. Other works of hers include Lilith's Brood and the Parable series, and her final book, Fledgling. She was working on a third book in the Parable series when she died of a stroke in 2006, aged 58.



Trope examples relating to works that don't have their own pages:

  • Afrofuturism: Most of her works feature black people and themes related to the black struggle in America.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In Kindred, the first sign that Dana has traveled through time as well as through space is Rufus' casual use of the N-word and his innocent confusion when Dana gets offended by it.
  • Double Consciousness: In Kindred, Dana is a 1970s black woman transported back to the antebellum south, where she has to masquerade as a slave, causing a lot of conflict between her 'liberated' self and the demeanor she has to adopt to survive as a slave.
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  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: In Bloodchild, human hosts (almost always male) act as incubators for eggs of the female aliens, who look something like human-size centipedes. If the host is lucky, the mother gets to him in time to extract the newly hatched larvae before they eat their way out. This relationship is presented as approaching symbiotic; the aliens (mostly) cherish the human families from whom they select their hosts, but the hosts don't get a lot of choice in the matter.
  • First Contact Faux Pas:
    • Bloodchild features the T'lic treating humans as cattle before realizing it's not a very sustainable method of hosting their young safely.
    • Amnesty features the Communities kidnapping individuals and attempting to experiment/communicate with them, but abusing them due to a lack of understanding.
  • No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: Kindred covers the perils of time traveling while black — the black protagonist goes to 19th-century Maryland to meet her ancestors, one of whom is a white slave owner. Drama ensues.
  • San Dimas Time: Whenever the protagonist of Kindred is dragged back in time to save Rufus, the time that passes in the present before her return is compressed but proportional to how long she spends in the past. When, for example, she spends a few minutes in the past, she disappears in the present for a mere second or two, but when she accidentally leaves her husband in the past, she spends three weeks in the present before going back and learning that her husband has been stranded for over five years.
  • Speculative Fiction: Her book Kindred is often seen as either science fiction (due to the Time Travel, despite the fact that no explanation is ever given) or African-American fiction (because it's about American slavery), and thus Lit Fic. Butler herself saw it as fantasy.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: In Kindred:
    • Dana's flashbacks last anywhere from a day to eight months, but in the present she's only gone for a few hours at most.
    • Kevin, her husband, gets left behind in the past. Dana spends a few weeks in the present waiting for a chance to go back and rescue him, and when she finally does, he's spent five years in the past.