Octavia Butler Dead

Octavia Butler died on Saturday as a result of a fall from her home in Seattle. I talked with the King County Medical Examiner’s office. They have confirmed that they have an Octavia Butler there. Damn.

This is a major loss to American letters and I’m a bit shaken up by this. I’ll have more to say about Octavia Butler’s importance as soon as I collect myself. But I was extremely fortunate enough to talk with Octavia just before she passed away. You can listen to the podcast here.

The email currently making the rounds:

“Yesterday Octavia Butler fell outside her house during what neighbors thought was a stroke. A neighbor kid found her outside her house. They rushed her to the hospital, and found blood had pooled in her brain, they operated but she passed away today.”

(Source: Steven Barnes’ blog.)


  1. How sad. Ms. Butler was such an imaginative writer. This is a great loss to the literary community.

  2. How sad. Ms. Butler was such an imaginative writer. This is a great loss to the literary community.

  3. Very sad.

    I have read thousands of science fiction novels and she was in my 10 ten list. Great writer.

  4. What a loss to Humanity and a loss to the world of Literature. I thank her for the Worlds she exposed to me.

  5. I guess it is true …. Octavia Butler, dead?I remember the first thing of hers i ever read, “Bloodchild”; it was the cover story in the magazine …… she could make even really [arrg, disgusting, stuff] interesting ………

  6. Octavia Butler keep me up at night and her voice keeps shaping my world. I love her books and will miss the ones she wont write…

  7. Octavia Butler keep me up at night and her voice keeps shaping my world. I love her books and will miss the ones she won’t write…

  8. I was in tears when I learned of Lady Octavia’s passing. I was blessed, lucky to meet her in person twice. I had my picture taken with her. She was a true lady with dignity and grace. I will mourn her but she will always live in her books.

  9. Hello everyone. I am indeed saddened to hear about the passing of Octavia Butler. To be honest, I give her credit for my career that I enjoy in the media.

    I ask all of you to do something for me.
    If you wouldn’t mind, go to my blog: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/webb.php and post your comments about how she affected you there under my article about her. I am publishing an article for my new magazine called CONVERSATIONS and would like to use your comments.

    If you want to be credited in the article for your comments, please leave your name and your town.

    You will have to join http://www.jacksonfreepress.com to leave a comment but they won’t send you unsolicited information.
    Thanks. http://www.cawebbconversations.com

  10. I typed in her name just to see what was up with her and found this awful news. I loved her books so much. she wrote about many worlds and even the future of our own. I will miss her work. Wayne

  11. I feel so sad. I was so moved by “Lillith’s Brood”. I thought she was brilliant, and I mourn her loss.

  12. Her writings as an African American Female author and commentator made a magnanimous impact upon my life.
    She spoke for the unheard. She shared with the untouchable.
    Her laughter, keen wit, dedication for social justice and love for truth will be missed. How fortunate this century has been to have experienced the greatness of Octavia Butler.

  13. I just heard the awful news. I am stunned and deeply saddened. Years ago Essence magazine introduced me to the writings of Ms. Butler with an excerpt of Wildseed. I was floored and desperately had to have that book. It completely blew me away. Ms. Butler’s imagination coupled with creativity and strength will be greatly missed.

  14. I listened to the interview you did with her…and am too saddened by the news. Ever since I was introduced to her work by a friend of mine I became a huge fan. Last year I had the chance to meet her at a booksigning in Harlem…I wish there would have been more times….she had so much in her that is now silenced. R.I.P

  15. Octavia Butler: a memorial April 2nd on Thursday night 7:30 @ the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame 325 5th Avenue, Seattle downtown

  16. This is a tragic loss in more than one way. Octavia was not only a fantastic writer, she was also a mentor to young writers of color. The world desperately needs more fiction of all kinds by diverse authors. The best memorial I could think of for Ms. Butler would be some kind of ongoing award for young writers of diverse backgrounds.

  17. Another piece of my soul is lost with the passing of Ms. Butler. As a child, I read her first novel “Kindred”, during the same time when ABC first aired the Block buster mini- series “Roots”. These events lead me to question, race, and gender and my place in the world. As young adult, I found that herr novels were truly insightful and inspired me to explore the scientific world of possibilities, beyond race, color, creed, or national origin. It is through the world of science fiction novels by Ms. Butler and countless others (,far too many to mention,) that I found a fulfilling career as a environmental scientist. And for this, I am eternally grateful for Ms. Butler’s contributions to the world of arts and letters.

  18. it is february 2007 and i still feel the intense pain of her loss…having met her and read everything at least twice, i still am unlocking the secrets and parallells she weaves in her stories…. i cannot bring myself to read her last novel “fledgling” yet, it would bring to reality her sudden and untimely passing….and i’m no ready

  19. I have no idea why I choose today to research octavia’s death. I’m skeptic about her death. And her books are prophetic. I’m surprised being the writer that she was that there has been no mention of unfinished manuscripts or notes..think about it.

  20. It’s been over eleven years since Lady Butler’s untimely death. Her novels and short stories continue to be read and appreciated in the speculative fiction community.
    Before her death she was a shining beacon to writers of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I first read her stories years ago in the monthly digests. It wasn’t until after her death that I began exploring her novels.
    I’ve found her stories to be thought provoking, making me think on what it is to be human, and what kind of future we will all face. Will we kill ourselves off as a species, or will we move out to our Solar System and further? Will it be as Homo Sapiens or a homogenized version of Alien/Human?

    Whatever future, I’m sure Ms. Butler will be watching.

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