Tuesday, February 28, 2006
SEATTLE - Octavia E. Butler, considered the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, has died . . . . She was 58.
Butler fell and struck her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home, said Leslie Howle, a longtime friend and employee at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. . . . Butler's work wasn't preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre's artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature.
She received many awards, and in 1995 Butler was the first science fiction writer granted a "genius" award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which paid $295,000 over five years.
Butler described herself as a happy hermit, and never married.
"Mostly she just loved sitting down and writing," Seattle-based science fiction writer Greg Bear said. "For being a black female growing up in Los Angeles in the '60s, she was attracted to science fiction for the same reasons I was: It liberated her. She had a far-ranging imagination, and she was a treasure in our community."
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see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_Butler for more about her works.