The Expansive Impact of Octavia Butler

By NYPL Staff
June 21, 2021

Undoubtedly, Octavia Butler's body of work is impressive and worth taking a deep dive into in and of itself. Our librarians  have recommended several starting points here. However, her deep impact is apparent in the broad array of thinkers, writers, and cultural producers who have been inspired by her work. Anthologies are a great way to discover new writers who are somehow related to a writer you like. The following anthologies demonstrate the concentric circles upon circles of her influence. The first book is specifically about Octavia Butler, and the others each feature at least one (and sometimes more) contributors who appear in Octavia's Brood

Octavia's Brood

Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown

This anthology brings together 20 short stories that explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. These visionary tales span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be.

Sycorax's Daughters

Sycorax's Daughters edited by Kinitra Brooks PhD, Linda D. Addison, and Susana Morris PhD

A powerful, revealing anthology of dark fiction and poetry by Black women writers. These thought-provoking twenty-eight stories and fourteen poems cover creatures imagined— vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past—slavery to science-fiction futures with transhumans and alternate realities.

Pleasure Activism

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Goodedited by adrienne maree brown

An anthology that examines how women can pursue political activism using the energy from their emotional and erotic experiences and create innovative ways to bring about change and social justice to issues of climate change, race, and gender. Another of brown's books, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds is also highly recommended. 

Sunspot Jungle

Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Bill Campbell

In celebration of Rosarium's fifth anniversary, publisher Bill Campbell has collected a two-volume collection of 100 science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories from around the world. Like space and the future, Sunspot Jungle has no boundaries and celebrates the wide varieties and possibilities that this genre represents with some of the most notable names in the field.

The BreakBeat Poets

The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall

A poetry anthology by and for the hip-hop generation that features works by seventy-eight poets who honor the traditions of the past while breaking them. It is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for.

Global Dystopias

"Global Dystopias" issue of the Boston Review edited by Junot Diaz

Bringing together some of the most prominent writers of science fiction and introducing fresh talent, this collection of stories, essays, and interviews explores global dystopias in apocalyptic landscapes and tech futures, in robot sentience and forever war. 

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Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.