"A PIONEER, A MASTER STORYTELLER WHO BROUGHT HER VOICE—THE VOICE OF A WOMAN OF COLOR—TO SCIENCE FICTION": FIRST EDITION OF SURVIVOR, VERY SCARCE ADVANCE REVIEW COPY, INSCRIBED BY OCTAVIA BUTLER
BUTLER, Octavia. Survivor. Garden City: Doubleday, 1978. Octavo, original yellow paper boards, original dust jacket. $4800.
First edition of the most elusive book in Butler's Patternmaster series, advance review copy with laid-in publisher's slip, inscribed on the title page by her, "To J— Best Wishes Octavia E. Butler," an especially beautiful copy in the original dust jacket.
Octavia Butler "approached SF askance, choosing to write self-consciously as an African American woman marked by a particular history." While the genre has been said "to create technical fixes for racism and racial politics (erasing race as part of the future), that charge cannot be leveled at Butler… A radically, sometimes violently, remade homo sapiens, altered either due to its own mutations or as a consequence of its encounters with other kinds of beings" anchors her work. Butler pushed "the genre to speak to our deepest culturally burdened horrors as well as our transcendent hopes… she exceeds our common ways of defining and resolving racial politics" (Kilgore & Samatrai, Memorial, 353-57). In her five-volume Patternist series, Butler links science fiction "directly to the Black American slavery experiences via the slave narrative. This is a fundamental departure for SF as a genre" (Govan, Homage to Tradition, 79). Survivor, the most elusive Patternist novel, serves as a bridge between Mind of My Mind (1977) and Clay's Ark (1984). While Butler was frustrated with the novel, refusing to authorize reprintings, it nevertheless has been critically acclaimed, especially as an imaginative challenge to the captivity narrative through its protagonist Alanna, a young orphaned Afro-Asian woman marooned on a future Earth. In Alanna, Butler vividly "explores the tensions between captivity, family and cultural belonging" (Troy, Negotiating Genre, 1120). Recipient of the MacArthur grant and major SF awards, Butler "was a pioneer, a master storyteller who brought her voice—the voice of a woman of color—to science fiction" (Huntington Library). First edition, first printing: with "First Edition" stated on the copyright page. Containing laid-in ARC slip dated in typescript: "March 24, 1978." The Patternist series contains, in order of publication: Patternmaster (1976), Mind of My Mind (1977), Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980) and Clay's Ark (1984). Clute & Nichols, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 180-81. Calvin, Octavia Butler Bibliography, 486.
A beautiful inscribed copy in fine condition.