Episode 69 – A Positive Obsession with Octavia E. Butler

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Today we’re dedicating an episode to Octavia E. Butler, the visionary writer and mother of Afrofuturism who transformed the way we think about climate stories.

Olivia tells us about Octavia’s childhood, her days as a young daydreaming outsider, her early ambition to write, and the struggles of coming into her own as the first Black female science fiction writer.

Then, Elise takes us through her favorite Butler stories (with minimal but very enthusiastic spoilers) and how they’ve changed how she thinks about social issues in the real world.

A worthwhile episode for lovers of Octavia’s work and newbies alike!

Octavia Butler at home. Photo by Patti Perret.


Star Child, Ibi Zoboi
Positive Obsession, an essay by Octavia Butler
adrienne maree brown: Octavia Butler’s Visions of the Future Have Transformed Generation of Readers, Democracy Now, February 23 2021
Remembering Octavia Butler: Black Sci-Fi Writer Shares Cautionary Tales In Unearthed 2005 Interview, Democracy Now, February 23 2021
So Be It, See to It: From the Archives of Octavia Butler, The Paris Review, March 23 2018
Octavia E. Butler, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 58, New York Times, March 1 2006

Further Reading/Listening:
adrienne maree brown – the podcast Octavia’s Parables and the anthology Octavia’s Brood
The Spectacular Life of Octavia Butler, Vulture, November 21, 2022

Octavia’s Books Elise highlighted in the episode!
Parable of the Sower
Parable of the Talents
*The links above are affiliate links to our Bookshop page — they give us a little boost and support local bookstores, at no extra cost (actually, a little discount) to you!

The Dump

Check out Zoe Scruggs’ exhibit Double Sky at the Delaware Contemporary!!

“The title of the exhibition, Double Sky, describes a motif that recurs in Scruggs’ most recent work wherein the backgrounds of her paintings and works on paper split into otherworldly color combinations and stormy imagery… These aesthetic choices animate Scruggs’ fascination with creating alternative space – outer space, inner space, open space – for Black world making, free from constraint and toxicity.” (source)

We’re listening to books on Libby, and we’re keeping track of our reading on Storygraph!

The World Is Burning bookshop is live! Help us come up with book list titles and bulk up our reading list.

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Thanks for listening!

Deep Sea Mining [Down the Rabbit Hole Minisode 10] World Is Burning

This week we’re digging deep on why we maybe shouldn't be digging into the depths of the ocean. Olivia covers the basics of deep sea mining, the potential "climate bomb" that could be set in July, and how we can amplify the work of activists and experts calling for a moratorium. Check the blog for this episode on worldisburning.com for action items and ways to learn more. Subscribe/follow/press the button to keep up with new episodes every other Wednesday! You can also follow us @worldisburnin on Instagram and Twitter, and check out our website worldisburning.com for extended show notes including sources and photos. World Is Burning is hosted by Olivia Hamilton and Elise Nye. Our theme music is by Kaycie Satterfield, and our logo was made by Sonja Katanic. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/worldisburning/message
  1. Deep Sea Mining [Down the Rabbit Hole Minisode 10]
  2. Sharing Is Caring [Down the Rabbit Hole Minisode 9]
  3. Ep. 69 – A Positive Obsession with Octavia E. Butler
  4. Ep. 68 – Climatepunk – Vivienne Westwood and David Byrne
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