Parable of the Sower scared the hell out of me. Octavia Butler drops us into a near future in which corrupt idiots rule the United States, infrastructure is crumbling, cities are crawling with dispossessed people who devour drugs to dull their pain, and fires rage through much of California. We experience this world through the eyes of Lauren Olamina, a sixteen year old who literally experiences the pain of others. Though usually unable inflict pain, a decided disadvantage in this violent world, Olamina is determined to survive. She’s even developed a religion, Earthseed, whose key belief, “God is change,” provides her with the strength to adapt to any situation. Much of the book follows Olamina as she attempts to convert followers and develop a new community. This work of dystopian fiction really stands out because of the emotional depth of these characters and the care Butler puts into fleshing out Earthseed. This is the kind of book that works your heart and and yet leaves you with so much to chew and reflect on.
This highly acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from award-winning author Octavia E. Butler "pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale" (John Green, New York Times)--now with a new foreword by N. K. Jemisin.
When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others' emotions.
Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny.
About the Author
OCTAVIA E. BUTLERwas a renowned African-American writer who received a MacArthur "Genius" Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. She was the author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Talents, which won the Nebula for Best Novel. Acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future, sales of her books have increased enormously since her death as the issues she addressed in her Afrofuturistic, feminist novels and short fiction have only become more relevant. She passed away on February 24, 2006.
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