Photo credit: Google
To celebrate what would have been science fiction icon Octavia Butler's 71st birthday today, Google created a doodle in her honor.
In Butler's 58 years of life, she broke through the glass ceiling of science fiction by bringing her Black girl magic to a world known be dominated by white-male authors. She did so by centering people of color in her work through themes of Afrofuturism, as well as social and political themes that addressed misogyny, racism, and economic injustices. With her incomparable creative power, Butler brilliantly connected these social and political issues with time travel, alien abduction, and parallel universes.
She discovered her love for writing at the age of 10 when her mother gifted her a typewriter. Years later, her groundbreaking work led her to become the first science-fiction author to be awarded MacArthur Fellowship in 1995. Butler also earned two Hugo awards and two Nebla awards, known as two of the highest awards in science fiction.
For the project, Google partnered with Butler's family, who released the following statement along with the doodle: "Our family is grateful and honored by the opportunity to invoke the memory of Octavia E. Butler. Her uniqueness emerged at an early age when she expressed a strong interest in the written word. It was clear, even then, that Octavia had found her destiny—she decided to pursue a career as a professional writer."
Photo credit: Patti Perret
The family added in the statement: "Her spirit of generosity and compassion compelled her to support the disenfranchised. She sought to speak truth to power, challenge prevailing notions and stereotypes, and empower people striving for better lives. Although we miss her, we celebrate the rich life she led and its magnitude in meaning. Today, on her birthday, it is with immense pride that we give tribute to Octavia for the magnificent gifts she bestowed upon all of us. Her legacy endures. As long as we speak her name, she lives."
Yes, indeed. Happy Birthday, Ms. Butler.