Science fiction writer Octavia Butler died Feb. 28 at the age of 58. The cause of death has not been determined. Because she was black and female, Butler was considered an atypical science fiction writer.
But she was also among the genre's most talented writers, winning science fiction's two most prestigious awards, the Hugo and Nebula Awards. In 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur fellowship.
Butler often described her work as "speculative fiction" rather than science fiction. One of her best-known novels, Kindred was the story of a modern-day black woman who must travel back to the antebellum South to save the life of a white, slaveholding ancestor and in doing so, save her own. Butler wrote twelve novels in all.
This interview originally aired on Dec. 14, 1993.