The Next L.A. Reading List

From time to time, the Next L.A. page asks noted Los Angeles residents to recommend essential reading on the city and its destiny. Today, author Octavia Butler offers her list. Butler writes science fiction that addresses racism and sexism, topics not typically examined in the genre. She was a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1995. Her choices for the Next L.A. reading list “look at the past, some of the present and into the future.”

“Devil In a Blue Dress,” by Walter Mosely (1990)

“His work reminds me of the Los Angeles that my mother and grandmother knew. He reminds us of an L.A. that doesn’t get written about much.”

“Parable of the Sower,” by Octavia Butler (1993)


“A look forward into the kind of future that we are creating for ourselves not only in Los Angeles and California, but in the world.”

“The Coming Plague,” by Laurie Garrett (1994)

“This is nonfiction. It is just as scary as it can be. It is not specifically about Los Angeles, but about the way we are.”