Octavia E. Butler Reading Order 📚

Octavia E. Butler has quite the interesting back catalogue available for readers to explore. Her books offer no short of engagements and are nothing less than a joy to read – whether you’re an old fan or just getting to know her.

Octavia E. Butler

American science-fiction writer

The literary prowess of Octavia E. Butler has been sung to the ends of the earth and that makes you want to grab a book of hers and read to see what all the hype is about. If you’re looking to add Butler’s work to your reading list, then you’re going to need a guide to do so as her novels can be a bit tricky and challenging to understand and navigate. First things first, however, you need to have a genuine interest in sci-fi or horror to enjoy Butler’s works. Without much ado, this article will provide you with a reading guide for Octavia E. Butler’s works.

Reading Order for Octavia E. Butler’s Works


Kindred by Octavia Estelle Butler Digital Art
Kindred Digital Art

Kindred’ is one of the earliest books written by Octavia E. Butler and it’s highly recommended for new readers to start with this one because it gives them the chance to better understand how the mind of Octavia E. Butler works; how creative ingenuity, her ability to introduce and deal with as many difficult topics of society as possible.

The book, which was published in 1979, is considered by most as the best legacy ever left behind by Octavia E. Butler before her eventual death in 2006. Part of the reasons why readers should start with ‘Kindred‘ is because the book in more ways than one reflects the life and experiences of Octavia E. Butler – especially in terms of her struggles as a member of the Black community.

Bloodchild Series

The next books readers should latch on to after finishing ‘Kindred‘ is the ‘Bloodchild’ and other stories. This collection is packed with award-winning novelettes, deep enough to scintillate your imagination and concise enough to finish up in a few hours.

Again, one good thing about Octavia E. Butler’s work and one which she carried into the ‘Bloodchild’ series is the inclusion of afterwords coming after every story just to give readers an insight on what inspired the creativity and storyline. Published in 1995, the series over the years included compelling and captivating stories such as ‘Near of Kin’, ‘Amnesty’, ‘Speech Sound’ among others.

Xenogenesis Series

Official known as Lilith’s Brood, this is another fine work put together by the talented Octavia E. Butler. The xenogenesis series is a trilogy with includes Imago’, ‘Dawn‘ and ‘Adulthood Rites’. As usual, the stories are all written in the sci-fi category and got quite the praise from critics for being engaging, sensuous, and unputdownable. Readers will find this trilogy as one well worth their time based on its creativity and the escapism it offers.

Earthseed Series

Another towering creativity by Octavia E. Butler, the Earthseed series includes two volumes of a dystopian narrative. The first volume of the Earthseed series is the ‘Parable of the Sower’ which is sequeled by the ‘Parable of the Talent’ – all following an astounding storyline of a survival struggle for humanity amid a mega ecological disruption.

For the depth of her creative imagination and engrossing storytelling, Octavia E. Butler got a lot of upvotes for Earthseed – coming from reputable publishers and literati, all doing nothing but rehashing what an absolutely breathtaking series it was. In the same vein, we would expect readers to have a happy reading experience with this one and will recommend placing it next to Lilith’s Brood on your read list.


Despite being the last book written by Octavia E. Butler before she died, ‘Fledgling’ is nonetheless a must-read for anyone who loves a good sci-fi story that has a decent mix of vampire thrills. The book is reasonably horror but not beyond believability, so readers should expect realistic lessons in technology, race, and family, among other things – from the interaction between vampires and humans.


What should one expect from reading Octavia E. Butler’s novels?

Octavia E. Butler’s works are science fiction-related, mostly based on dystopias, so expect to be thrilled with compelling, all-engrossing, and jaw-dropping storylines when you pick any of her books.

What novel by Octavia E. Butler should I start with?

‘Kindred’ is a top pick for getting started on the works of Octavia E. Butler as the book resonates with the writer’s actual persona so that new readers get to indirectly know a little about the author whose book they are reading.

Why do Butler’s books always have racial undertones?

Butler’s life was heavily impacted by the byproduct of interracial struggles, with the writer and her (then as a child) family suffering discrimination to the extent that it became an inspiration, if not the foundation, for her to build her writing career.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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