East Austin Book Club

Discussing books together, on the third Monday of every month at Native Hostel & Bar on Zoom, 7pm sharp


by Octavia Butler

Cover artwork for Fledgling

Born on June 22, 1947, Octavia Butler was a groundbreaking writer in American letters. The first science fiction writer to ever receive the MacArthur Fellowship, Butler transcended the conventions of her chosen genre, exploring issues of empathy, social normativity, self-destruction, conservation, and tribalism. One of the few women of color publishing in a genre dominated by white men, Butler won the coveted Hugo Award and Nebula Prize twice each for her novella "Bloodchild," her short story "Speech Sounds," and her novel Parable of the Talents, respectively.

However, Butler's legacy moves beyond prizes alone. She has been cited as a godmother of Afrofuturism, and Hilton Als has identified Butler as the "dominant artistic force" throughout Beyonce's visual album Lemonade.

Butler's last work, Fledgling, reenvisions the vampire narrative. Her blood-drinkers, the Ina, develop a symbiotic relationship with humans. They are not frightening monstrosities. Like much of Butler's work, the novel takes up biological hybridity as a way to explore phenotypical or racial constructions.

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