My brain computer often starts spitting sparks and steam when I come across someone who calls themselves a fan of science fiction and who hasn't read Octavia Butler. Octavia Butler is one of the only black female science fiction writer luminaries. Most importantly, those elements of her identity are omnipresent in her books, and she deftly uses science fiction to the utmost of its abilities: to imagine a future in which the things we think are static are radically different and mutable. It is this radical world vision that makes her works so powerful and meaningful for such a large audience. It is for this reason that I cannot compute why her works are not better-known and widely read.
Enter Octavia's Brood: a collective of artists, writers and performers that took up Octavia Butler's mantle, assembling an anthology of science fiction stories written by activists and organizers and now presented on-stage through a multi-city tour. Octavia's Brood challenges us to imagine a better world, following Octavia Butler's lead by using science (or "speculative" or "visionary") fiction. As Reagan Jackson describes in the linked article, "Close your eyes and imagine a world without poverty, homelessness, prison, police brutality, oppression, or war. Now open your eyes and write about it. That was the challenge presented by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha, the editors of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements."
Be on the look-out for this important anthology and its attendant tour. The best science fiction blows our minds, as does the most insightful, radical political thought. Octavia Butler's work and artistic descendants show us how those two supernovas are actually faces of the same coin.