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The fearless writer used sci-fi as a tool to explore complex social issues.
Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006) was considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. The Patternist series (including her first novel, Patternmaster) established her among the science fiction elite. But it was Kindred, a story of a black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South that brought her mainstream success. For years the only African-American woman writing science fiction books, like Parable of the Sower, Butler encouraged others to follow in her path.