The World of Octavia Butler

Jenny Turner at the LRB:

Butler was 58 when Fledgling was published, and barely a year later, she fell and hit her head on an icy pavement and died. Her papers arrived at the Huntington in 2008: two filing cabinets and 35 large cardboard boxes, containing drafts, notes, sums, receipts and bills, an order form for men’s-size Star Trek jerseys; to-do lists and to-get lists – ‘Potatoes ... Wiener ... Fish Sticks ... T Paper’. ‘The archive is vast and frankly, imposing,’ Lynell George reports in the book she made from her exploration of it, a sensitive combination of facsimile scraps, biographical fragments and indirect-discourse speculation. George herself is Black and Los Angelena, and first came to know of Butler as a local author, a public character in the Jane Jacobs sense, signing books at readings, seen around the place in the sidewalk ballet. ‘Don’t you need a car in LA?’ George asks of Butler – a committed pedestrian – in her book. ‘She will smash this canard ... [on] each long walk she takes ... It slows the city down to moments and voices ... The city itself is a story, a seed.’

more here.