TOD 041 Patternmaster: The Legacy of Octavia E. Butler Panel from BlacktastiCon 2018

In this podcast The Outer Dark presents ‘Patternmaster: The Legacy of Octavia Butler’, a panel from Blacktasticon 2018 moderated by Sheree Renée Thomas and featuring Valjeanne Jeffers, Kenesha Williams, Linda D Addison, John Jennings, and Troy L. Wiggins, plus a The Outer Dark Symposium 2019 update. The panel was recorded live at Georgia Tech Student Center in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday June 16, 2018.

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird is a unique immersive one-day event featuring more than 40 program participants and approximately 16 hours of panels, readings, signings and social activities centered around contemporary Weird and speculative fiction. The third annual event will be held March 22-23, 2019 at Silver Scream FX Lab  and Hotel Indigo-College Park in Atlanta, GA. Limited to 75 attendees. Buy your memberships here.

Show Notes

First, Scott updates listeners on the latest news about The Outer Dark Symposium 2019 including this year’s Indiegogo campaign set to launch soon. (00:04:00) Then The Outer Dark presents ‘Patternmaster: The Legacy of Octavia Butler’, a panel from Blacktasticon 2018 moderated by Sheree Renée Thomas and featuring Valjeanne Jeffers, Kenesha Williams, Linda D Addison, John Jennings, and Troy L. Wiggins. The panelists introduce themselves and their work, and then discuss and celebrate the life  and legacy of this amazing author, including their personal responses to Butler’s work and first experiences encountering her fiction,  Butler’s own writing struggles,  and how Butler would feel about her deification today. Addison recalls how she met Butler in a kitchen, and Thomas talks about Butler’s ‘generosity of spirit’, and how she met Butler at a New York literary event and asked her for a story for her groundbreaking Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora anthology series. The conversation turns to how Butler’s work and Dark Matter seeded future projects such as the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Sycorax’s Daughters, other black speculative writers such as Samuel R. Delany and Charles R. Saunders, Clarion West and Harlan Ellison as her first champion, her ‘centered balanced focused energy’ in Addison’s words, her fundamental belief in her own work,  her essential role as ‘gatekeeper’ for other authors, Jennings’ powerful experience with Damian Duffy adapting the Stoker and Eisner Award-winning Kindred graphic novel, things he learned from Butler’s Kindred files,  her personal struggle with writers’ block, her legacy in the hundreds of black women writers in speculative fiction today, progress and work still to be done in their road to recognition and respect, comments from the audience by Dr. Susana Morris (Georgia Tech) on teaching Butler, and much more.

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Additional Links

TOD040 Black Women in Speculative Fiction Panel from BlacktastiCon 2018

TOD 005 Black Women in Spec-Lit and Horror: Two Panels from the 1st State of Black Science Fiction Convention

TOD 007 Big Black Beautiful Roundtable: A Panel from the State of Black Science Fiction Convention 2016

Black Girl Magic Lit Mag

UCRiverside: Creating Social Change with Comics – John Jennings (podcast interview)

FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction

CNN: Octavia E. Butler: A Visionary Among Futurists (June 22, 2018)

Sleeping Under the Tree of Life by Sheree Renee Thomas

Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal

Blood Child and Other Stories

Show Credits

Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay

Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele

Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin


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