The enigmatic Octavia E. Butler has left us, and before her time.
Science fiction was her home turf, but she’d have done any field she chose proud. She inhabited the uncanny valley: she had a knack for coming up with premises that could make your skin crawl, and then spinning them, credibly, into something ultimately life-affirming. Her work often had the quality of dreams about it, and by that I mean that it could be both wondrous and disturbing, sometimes in the same breath. But then, that stands to reason: she never flinched, and she never cheated, when it came to following where the story led. The world could use more like her.
She will be missed, and I will now read the recently-published Fledgling, the first new work of hers to appear in seven years, with a slightly heavier heart, knowing that it will — barring the discovery of some lost manuscript — be the last new thing to appear under her name.
Ave adque vale, Octavia. Dream well, as you always did.