Octavia E. Butler, an internationally acclaimed science fiction writer whose evocative, often troubling, novels explore far-reaching issues of race, sex, power and, ultimately, what it means to be human, died on Friday, February 24, 2006 after a fall near her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. She was 58.
I was shocked when I heard of her death on NPR. BF just lended me one of her books, Parable of the Sower, a week before. It's one of his favorite books. I've been reading it this past weekend and I'm very impressed. I'm far from being a sci-fi aficionada, but I find Octavia's description of the future compelling. Her story also parallels current concepts of the present. Plus, I like strong heroines ... so does she apparently.
Here's a short description from the book's sleeve: The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of "Paints", people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder. When one small community is overun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman, sets off on foot, moving north along the dangerous coastal highways. She is a "sharer", one who suffers from a hereditary trait called "hyperempathy" which causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own.