Octavia Butler is one of THE big names in Alternative Fiction when it comes to writers of color. Her varied history of writing can make it difficult to determine where to begin reading. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Octavia Butler's Birthday was on June 22nd, so you may have been seeing her name on different blogs and news sites. You must be interested, but there are so many books. Where to start?
I am a great fan of starting with Lilith's Brood. This is a three part series that follows Lillith and her children through a war ravaged Earth. An alien group called the Oonkali will either help mend the world or be the targets of destruction anew. The first book in the series is Dawn. The second is Adulthood Rites, and the third is Imago. This is a good place to start because it is a quick flowing series with well developed characters who struggle with what it means to be human in a drastically changing society.
Another beginner book is Bloodchild and Other Stories, a short story collection that revisits a few characters you will see in other stories but also weaves in some new stories and worlds. It also allows you a quick peek into Butler's writing style and the subject matter she usually focuses on. This work has afterwords on each story that allow you to see Butler's process and intention when writing.
Lastly, a book that has become recommended reading in schools is Kindred. Dana is a young black woman in California who begins unexpectedly time traveling through her own family history in Maryland before the civil war. Going from being a free woman with autonomy to a presumed slave is wrenching and extremely difficult for Dana to deal with.
These books are great ones to start with, but her entire history of work is worth your attention when you have time. Butler's characters and future worlds will stick with you for years.
Place a few holds, read some books, and come find me to discuss!