Unpublished Stories From Octavia Butler Available for the First Time


Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. She received both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and in 1995 became the first author of science fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Her first novel, Patternmaster (1976), was praised both for its imaginative vision and for Butler’s powerful prose, and spawned four prequels, beginning with Mind of My Mind (1977) and finishing with Clay’s Ark (1984).

Although the Patternist series established Butler among the science fiction elite, it was Kindred (1979), a story of a black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, that brought her mainstream success. In 1985, Butler won Nebula and Hugo awards for the novella Bloodchild, and in 1987 she published Dawn, the first novel of the Xenogenesis trilogy, about a race of aliens who visit earth to save humanity from itself. Fledgling (2005) was Butler’s final novel. She died at her home in 2006.


Unexpected Storiesnews-unexpected-stories

New, from Open Road Media, Unexpected Stories contains two never-before-published stories from Octavia E. Butler.

The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone.

The second story in this volume, “Childfinder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions™. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price. (Open Road Media, 6/24/2014)


Six remarkable stories from a master of modern science fiction

Octavia E. Butler’s classic Bloodchild (Open Road Publishing, 7/24/2012), winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards, anchors this collection of incomparable stories and essays. Bloodchild is set on a distant planet where human children spend their lives preparing to become hosts for the offspring of the alien Tlic. Sometimes the procedure is harmless, but often it is not. Also included is the Hugo Award–winning “Speech Sounds,” about a near future in which humans must adapt after an apocalyptic event robs them of their ability to speak.

In these pages, Butler shows us life on Earth and amongst the stars, telling her tales with characteristic imagination and clarity.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.


Related Articles


Unseen Octavia E Butler Stories Recovered

“…her long-term agent Merrilee Heifetz has announced that she has discovered two previously unpublished works by Butler with the help of the archivists at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, where Butler’s papers are housed, and that the stories will be published in June by digital press Open Road Integrated Media.” —Article by Alison Flood, theguardian.com, April 30, 2014

An “Unexpected” Treat For Octavia E. Butler Fans

“…Unexpected Stories offers a much-appreciated glimpse into Butler’s rich writing style and her genre sensibilities as they formed. It’s a must read, not just for Butler fans but for all lovers of speculative fiction. —Review by K. Tempest Bradford, NPR, July 10, 2014

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2 thoughts on “Unpublished Stories From Octavia Butler Available for the First Time

  • August 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I miss Ms.Butler; her stories are unique and there is no one else like her before or after…

  • December 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    There’s no one like Antonio West, either.

    Hey, how about a book about something really important, like the truth
    of inner cities. Say, here’s an idea. How about one about a little kid
    getting killed by gang bangers? It could start off like this:

    My name was Antonio West. I was the 13-month old child who was shot in

    the face at point blank range by two black teens, who were attempting to

    rob my mother, who was also shot. I think my murder and my mommy’s

    wounding made the news for maybe a day, and then disappeared.

    A Grand Jury of my mommy’s peers from Brunswick, Georgia ruled the black

    teens who murdered me will not face the death penalty… too bad it was

    me who got the death sentence from my killers instead, because Mommy

    didn’t have the money they demanded.

    See, my family made the mistake of being white in a 73% non-white

    neighborhood, but my murder wasn’t ruled a ‘hate crime’. Oh, and

    President Obama didn’t take a single moment to acknowledge my murder. He

    couldn’t have any children who could possibly look like me – so why

    should he care? I’m one of the youngest murder victims in our great

    Nation’s history, but the media didn’t care to cover the story of my

    being killed in cold blood.

    There isn’t a white equivalent of Al Sharpton, because if there was he

    would be branded a ‘racist’. So no one’s rushing to Brunswick, Georgia

    to demonstrate and demand ‘justice’ for me. There’s no ‘White Panther’

    party, either, to put a bounty on the lives of the two black teens who

    murdered me. I have no voice, I have no representation, and unlike those

    who shot me in the face while I sat innocently in my stroller – I no

    longer have my life.

    Isn’t this a great country, or what?

    So while you’re out seeking ‘justice for Trayvon or Michael Brown’,

    please remember to seek ‘justice’ for me. Tell your friends about me,

    tell your families, get tee-shirts with my face on them, and make the

    world pay attention, just like you did for Trayvon and Michael Brown.

    I won’t hold my breath. I don’t have to anymore,

    Antonio West


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