Butler in 1984, embellished by unknown

Literary good news to start the year: a new independent bookstore named after legendary author Octavia E. Butler is opening in Pasadena, California, where the late Sci-Fi icon was born and raised.

Octavia’s Bookshelf owner Nikki High

Nikki High said she hopes her store will highlight authors who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. High chose the name as a tribute to Pasadena native, science-fiction author and MacArthur fellow Octavia Butler who died in 2006. Butler, who died of a stroke at the age of 58, was also a Guggenheim fellow and recipient of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. In 2010 she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and in 2021 NASA named the landing site of the Perseverance rover in Jezero crater on Mars the “Octavia E. Butler Landing” in her honor.

Octavia Butler is revered for her afro-centric works, including Kindred (now a series on Hulu), the Patternist series and Parable of the Sower. Kindred follows a twenty-something Black woman in modern-day Los Angeles who finds herself pulled back in time to the Antebellum South, along with her boyfriend. Butler’s Fledgling is being developed for TV by Issa Rae & J.J. Abrams

The Octavia E. Butler papers are housed at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, adjacent to Pasadena.

High has received some funding support for the bookstore through GoFundMe where updates on the store’s progress have been posted. (They are close to their goal) “I also like to think that we all have an Octavia in our lives — someone who is before their time, a wordsmith. And I just thought it was a neat way to honor all of the Octavias in our life,” High said.

Seattle-based science fiction writer Greg Bear said. “For being a black female growing up in Los Angeles in the ’60s, she was attracted to science fiction for the same reasons I was: It liberated her.” Young Butler read voraciously. “I read a lot of science fiction with absolutely no discrimination when I was growing up—I mean, good, bad, or awful [laughs]. It didn’t matter,” she said.

Nikki left her job of 15 years to start the bookstore and has rented a space and begun a site https://www.octaviasbookshelf.com/
Octavia’s Bookshelf is scheduled to open in February 2023, and we wish them success.

“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.”
– Octavia E. Butler


David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.