This short film is dedicated to my favorite novelists and all around idol, Octavia Estelle Butler. Often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” Butler was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She died of, still as of yet, unsubstantiated causes which even today, fills me with great skepticism:
“News accounts were inconsistent as to the cause of her death, with some reporting that she suffered a fatal stroke, while others indicated that she died of head injuries after falling and striking her head on her walkway. Another suggestion, backed by Locus magazine (issue 543; Vol.56 No.4), is that a stroke caused the fall and hence the head injuries.” wikipedia
She passed away on February 24, 2006, at her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. She was 58.
Butler is one of the most celebrated authors in her genre, her novels and short stories having received the coveted Hugo and Nebula awards. She was the first speculative fiction writer to receive the MacArthur “genius grant,” which perfectly summarizes her work: pure genius. As a true fan, I’m saddened, not just at the loss of her presence in the world, but for all the novels she had yet to write.
As an internationally acclaimed science fiction writer, Butler’s evocative, often troubling novels explored the far-reaching issues of race, sex, power and, ultimately, what it means to be human.
“I consider Octavia to be the most important science-fiction writer since Mary Shelley,” said Steven Barnes, premiere African-American science fiction writer and friend of Butler’s. She wrote about race successfully because she did it with such subtlety, he also said.
Of all her spectacular fictional writings, Book 1 of the Xenogenisis Trilogy series DAWN (ADULTHOOD RITES and IMAGO are the other two), is one of my most favorite things in the world.
I chose not to use any dialogue in the video in an attempt to have my imagery tell the story. I hope those familiar with the book recognize the chapter I’ve chosen to animate here. There is much more footage that I intend to use to further capture this unique body of work in future videos.
My wish is that this short intrigues those not familiar with Octavia Butler’s work, and compells them to pick up or download a book or two or three and get lost in the special, enveloping worlds that she’s created.