Octavia Butler (1947-2006) in conversation with Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff, recorded in 1983.
Octavia Butler, who died in 2006 at the age of 58, was one of the giants of modern science fiction. Winner of multiple awards for her short fiction and novels, her work explored issues involving gender, race, and power and featured protagonists often at odds with their societies. At the time she began writing, there were no other African-American women writing in the field, but she was not merely a pioneer: she was a master of the genre. Her first novel, Patternmaster, was published in 1976 and was followed by a series of sequels. Along with those books, she wrote a stand-alone novel, Kindred in 1979. It’s a masterpiece, a time travel story of a modern African American woman suddenly finding herself in the racist antebellum South.
By 1983, with her handful of novels and a growing reputation within the field, she made a visit to a science fiction convention in San Jose California, where she met up with Richard Wolinsky and his co-host Richard A. Lupoff. At that time, she had yet to win her first Hugo or Nebula Award, and was still unknown outside the field. This interview was the first of two recorded with Octavia Butler. The second interview, from 1998, will be posted later this year.