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Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower is Octavia Butler's novel of post apocalyptic America. This particular novel is of special interest because not only Butler died before completing her trilogy, but because the novel covers a future eerily like the one we're living through now, only worse. We've got climate change, a cultural "screw you, I've got mine" general attitude, and a breakdown in society. The major freeways have become roads for refugees to flee a no-longer-suitable-for-human-habitation Los Angeles.

Amidst all this, a young girl tries to survive, and even better, consciously tries to start a new religion and community out of the rag-tag group of survivors she encounters after her community burns down and she starts walking North.

It's fun to read about all the parts of California that she references and discusses. I've cycled many of the places myself. The religion she creates is also interesting. Far better than the usual recycled-Judea-Christian garbage you find in typical fiction.

How, you may ask, was Butler so far ahead of her time? Well, for one thing, she (and her characters) was Black. The things she take for granted (ineffective police who're more likely to threaten you as to help you, and are strangely only interested in rich people's problems) were probably reality for her in ways that it might not have been for her white colleagues in science fiction.

A prophetic novel, and a dire warning of what is to come if we don't heed its warnings and pull ourselves together. Recommended.

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