Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction stories and novels tackle weighty subjects such as race, gender, and power, often through the eyes of her disenfranchised protagonists.
Her work influenced the formation of Afrofuturism, addressing modern-day social issues through a technocultural lens. Her stories feature communities built around diverse groups: humans of African, European, or Asian descent, as well as extraterrestrial or hybrid species.
For these communities to survive — and to endure often brutal exploitation — they must overcome their differences. Tolerance, therefore, was a recurrent theme in Butler’s work.
And when she was asked to address the U.N. Conference on Racism, tolerance was her rallying cry: “Tolerance,” she said, “is forever a work in progress, never completed, and, if we’re as intelligent as we like to think we are, never abandoned.”