In the last episode of this series, the words of celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer Octavia E. Butler take us on a journey of discovery. During her career, Butler invited us to traverse difficult terrain through the prism of a fiction genre that hadn’t quite accepted different perspectives: landscapes that were human rather than technological, earthbound rather than among the planets. Who might we become as we speculate and shapeshift beyond our gender, race and notions of time?
Her published career ran from the 1970s until her death in 2006, across decades of economic, environmental and political upheaval. She is now considered an important part of the science fiction canon, but during her lifetime she experienced works going in and out of print and the archive of her recorded voice is sparse. In this documentary, we examine the notion of legacy and question who gets to be remembered.
Feat. Professor of Sociology Akwugo Emejulu, Butler biographer Gerry Canavan, Ayana Jamieson, Researcher and co-founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, Professor of Literature and Ethnic studies - and current Director of the ground-breaking Clarion Writer’s Workshop, where Butler first got her head start - Shelley Streeby, and Assistant Professor Cassandra L. Jones, whose work focuses on memory in Butler’s work.
The archive includes an interview with Octavia Butler from Nov 1998 by Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff for the programme “Probabilities” which aired on KPFA-FM/Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, California, courtesy of Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff, and an interview of Octavia Butler from 14 Dec 1993 for Fresh Air by Terry Gross.
Readings by Stacia L. Brown
Produced by Shanida Scotland
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 3
Writers reflect on the work of celebrated science fiction writer Octavia E Butler.
Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.