Nikki High first found Octavia E. Butler’s writing in high school. Now 48, she’s opened Octavia’s Bookshelf, Pasadena’s first and only Black-owned bookstore, inspired by the speculative-fiction writer who spent her life and career in the California city. It’s one of many signs of increased interest in Butler’s legacy, which includes the bestselling series Earthseed set in an apocalyptic, drought-stricken Los Angeles in 2027. On New Year’s Eve 2022, High’s tweet about her efforts to start Octavia’s Bookshelf went viral and garnered donations of more than $22,000 on GoFundMe. Dr Ayana AH Jamieson, founder of the Octavia E Butler Legacy Network, says movies like Black Panther which spotlight Black speculative fiction and Afrofuturism show that audiences are hungry for narratives that empower Black characters.

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