Octavia E. Butler
An outsider's journey to literary acclaim
"I began writing about power because I had so little," Octavia E. Butler once said. Butler's life as an African American woman--an alien in American society and among science fiction writers--informed the powerful works that earned her an ardent readership and acclaim both inside and outside science fiction.
Gerry Canavan offers a critical and holistic consideration of Butler's career. Drawing on Butler's personal papers, Canavan tracks the false starts, abandoned drafts, tireless rewrites, and real-life obstacles that fed Butler's frustrations and launched her triumphs. Canavan departs from other studies to approach Butler first and foremost as a science fiction writer working within, responding to, and reacting against the genre's particular canon. The result is an illuminating study of how an essential SF figure shaped themes, unconventional ideas, and an unflagging creative urge into brilliant works of fiction.
"This excellent, comprehensive study sheds new light on the process and philosophy of one of the most important authors of our time."--Publishers Weekly
"A deep reading of the work of the late science-fiction master."--Kirkus Reviews
"Both fans and scholars will appreciate this vivid in-depth study of an internationally acclaimed science fiction author's life and work."--Shelf Awareness
"A must-read for scholars of [science fiction], Canavan's scholarship is both a work of sharply dedicated research and a loving tribute to one of [science fiction's] most creative geniuses. Highly recommended."--Library Journal
"A compelling and intimate portrait of one of the century's most important writers. Canavan's thorough archival research introduces us to new aspects of Butlerís life and thought and provides the first comprehensive overview of her career. He writes with grace and passion that is equal to the stature of his subject. Highly recommended."--Sherryl Vint, co-editor of Science Fiction Studies
"There are great depths to Butler's work, and Canavan has given us a torch in order to better see those depths. There's a lot of valuable analysis of how Butler's fiction ties in with her personal life. Because of the personal nature of the book, what we have here is anything but a dry academic exercise."--Michael Levy, coeditor of Extrapolation
"Sensible and well organized. A book that situates Butler's fiction at the junction of biocritical and genre studies, showing how Butler's experience of blackness in America led her to explore and exploit the 'messiness' of science fiction."--Lisa Yaszek, coeditor of Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction
To order online:
To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)