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Feminist Science Fiction Author Octavia Butler Dies at 58

Octavia Butler, the celebrated feminist science fiction writer, died on Friday at 58. The first African-American woman to break into the male-dominated field of science fiction, Butler used the genre to explore themes of race, politics, poverty, morality, and gender. Writer and friend Tananarive Due told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “What she conveyed in her writing was the deep pain she felt about the injustices around her.”

Butler received a MacArthur “genius” award in 1995, and she remains the only science fiction writer to win the prestigious $295,000 award. Her career also included two Nebula awards, the highest award for science fiction writing. Jane Jewell, executive director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, told the Associated Press, “She was one of the first and one of the best to discuss gender and race in science fiction.”

Sources:

Business Standard online 2/28/2006; CNN.com (AP) 2/27/2006; Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/27/2006