When Nisi Shawl called me up and asked me to do the cover for her anthology Bloodchildren, I was astonished. Not because she asked me but because I knew I was going to say yes. I've never done a cover and my photography is normally unsuited for SF anthology. But two days before she called, for the first time I had a clear sense of my new project, and this request fit the areas I was thinking about.
It was very intense time consuming work, and a joy to do.
It's being published as a fund raiser for the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship. I've been involved with the scholarship since it began. It's published by Book View Press
The parameters were challenging. It had to be visible at the postage stamp size of covers on Amazon, also work in the full Ebook cover side, and it needed to work in black and white. Nisi wanted seeds as part of the image and left the rest of to me.
I immediately knew that I wanted a jaw and that the background need to be a vivid crimson. (A computer screen is potentially a stained glass window.) I was able to find a fox skull and delicately sawed off the jaw bones. The background is a vivid red silk which gives the image flow, texture and potentially subtle shadowing. Seeds came from my daughter Shayin (the gardener). Obviously the composition and the lighting were central.
Candra K. Gill did a superlative design for the text.
The book is being published by the Book View Cafe as a fund raiser for the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship, and is only available till June 22.
From Book View Cafe:
And it was at the moment of reading this line that something relaxed within me. I’d been impressed and entertained before that moment, but in reading Wilson’s story I realized that this collection really was inspired by one of the great modern masters of the SF form, inspired in the highest sense of the word. Octavia Estelle Butler was my friend, the most dedicated writer I’ve ever known, and a shy, sweet, generous giant of a woman. This collection celebrates her life and legacy, but more to the point, it is an opportunity for a generation of writers to announce their arrival in a burst of literary thunder.
Rest well, Octavia: your legacy is safe. Steven Barnes
Every year, the Carl Brandon Society, whose goal is to increase diversity in the field of science fiction, presents scholarships to two students of color accepted to the prestigious Clarion and Clarion West writers’ workshops. The scholarships, named in honor of the brilliant African-American writer Octavia Butler, pay workshop tuition and housing fees for the recipients. Since 2007, they have made it possible for eleven students to attend the workshops.
If you contribute a mere $8.01 to the scholarship fund, you can download Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars, an ebook anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories by these students — the voices of the new generation of writers of color in speculative fiction.
Edited by Nisi Shawl, Bloodchildren includes an introduction by Nalo Hopkinson and a memoir by Vonda N. McIntyre of her friendship with Octavia Butler, which began when they were students together at the Clarion Workshop in 1970.
The collection includes ground-breaking stories by Indrapramit Das, Shweta Narayan, Caren Gussoff, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Lisa Bolekaja, Chris Caldwell, Jeremy Sim, Erik Owomoyela, Dennis Y. Ginoza, Mary Burroughs, and Kai Ashante Wilson.
This special ebook is available only until June 22, 2013, Octavia’s birthday. She would have been sixty-six this year.
Octavia taught at Clarion and Clarion West, and provided enormous support there — and elsewhere — to other writers of color. Through these scholarships, she continues to do so.
Help continue Octavia’s work. Please support the scholarship program right now with a modest $8.01 donation, and then download your gift: this original anthology celebrating an international coterie of writers who are truly the children and inheritors of Octavia Butler.