Two science fiction authors born in June changed the entire genre.
In 1938, John W. Campbell took over the editorship of Astounding Science Fiction.
Known as the “father of modern science fiction,” Campbell transformed the magazine into a place for strong stories about the future of science and technology and how those changes might affect human beings.
The magazine, whose title Campbell changed to Analog in 1960, was the home of most of the important sci fi authors including Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, and A.E. van Vogt. Campbell served as editor until his death in 1971.
Octavia Butler, an African-American woman, knew that women and people of color had a place in science fiction, and because there weren’t any at the time, she wrote some in. I’ll never forget being introduced to Lilith (and the few other surviving human beings) in my now well-thumbed copy of Dawn.
Her stunning work has won the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and in 1995 she was awarded a MacArthur grant. Pasadena City College, of which she is an alumna, has a biography as well as descriptions of her work.
The library has seven of her novels and story collections, and she also appears on a video about opportunities and obstacles for African-American writers. She died four years ago after a fall, far too young at the age of 58.