Thursday, March 02, 2006
OCTAVIA E. BUTLER 1947 - 2006
A lot has and will be written about Octavia E. Butler, the science fiction writer, who died this week--but not nearly enough. I do not normally read in her genre, but the pure originality of genius deserves to be read wherever it is found. Rather than speak about her, I will let her speak for herself as she did in life, with an eloquence which we can only pray is not prophetic.
This from her 1998 futuristic novel, PARABLE OF THE TALENTS set in the year 2032:
I have read that the period of upheaval that journalists have begun to refer to as "the Apolalypse" or more commonly, more bitterly, "the Pox" lasted from 2015 through 2030--a decade and a half of chaos. This is untrue. The Pox has been a much longer torment. It began well before 2015, perhaps even before the turn of the millennium. It has not ended.
I have also read that the Pox was caused by accidentially coinciding climatic, economic and sociological crises. It would be more honest to say that the Pox was caused by our own refusal to deal with obvious problems in those areas. We caused the problems: then we sat and watched as they grew into crises...I have watched as convenience, profit and inertia excused greater and more dangerous environmental degradation. I have watched poverty, hunger, and disease become inevitable for more and more people. Overall, the Pox has had the effect of an installment-plan World War III.