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I began writing about power because I had so little, Octavia E. Butler once said. Butler's life as an African American woman--an alien in American society and among science fiction writers--informed the powerful works that earned her an ardent readership and acclaim both inside and outside science fiction. Gerry Canavan offers a critical and holistic consideration of Butler's career. Drawing on Butler's personal papers, Canavan tracks the false starts, abandoned drafts, tireless rewrites, and real-life obstacles that fed Butler's frustrations and launched her triumphs. Canavan departs from other studies to approach Butler first and foremost as a science fiction writer working within, responding to, and reacting against the genre's particular canon. The result is an illuminating study of how an essential SF figure shaped themes, unconventional ideas, and an unflagging creative urge into brilliant works of fiction.
About the Author
Gerry Canavan is an assistant professor of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature at Marquette University. He is a coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction .
"A compelling and intimate portrait of one of the century's most important writers. Canavan's thorough archival research introduces us to new aspects of Butler ™s life and thought and provide the first comprehensive overview of her career. He writes with grace and passion that is equal to the stature of his subject. Highly recommended."--Sherryl Vint, editor of Science Fiction Studies
"A deep reading of the work of the late science-fiction master."--Kirkus Reviews
"For those of us who cannot make the journey to the archive, Octavia E. Butler serves as a more-than-adequate substitute and entry into this treasure trove of Butler's writings."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"A must-read for scholars of [science fiction], Canavan's scholarship is both a work of sharply dedicated research and a loving tribute to one of [science fiction’s] most creative geniuses. Highly recommended."--Library Journal
"This book deserves a place of honor on the shelf of every fan or scholar of Butler's work and should be acquired by every institution with the resources to do so, from the smallest local library to the most heavily endowed research university."--SFRA Review
"Both fans and scholars will appreciate this vivid in-depth study of an internationally acclaimed science fiction author's life and work."--Shelf Awareness