Sunday Morning! Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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5 Responses

  1. Slade the Leveller

    I read the Parables books in reverse order, which kind of spoiled the surprise, but the prescience of the 2nd novel as far as right wing demagoguery taking power in the United States was more than a bit startling. I guess when you’re on the butt end of the law you tend to see things a bit more clearly.

    I’m currently reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future. Robinson is a sci-fi writer who’s very concerned with climate change. He sets most of his novels in the relatively near future, and sea level rise plays a prominent role in them. His best, IMHO, is New York, 2140.

    Watching: I just started the last season of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, and if the first episode is any indication, it’s going to be very interesting.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Slade the Leveller

      It’s funny- I sort of did too. I read about half of Parable of the Talents before realizing it seemed like the middle of a story because there was an earlier one. And then I found that book and read it, so I guess I’ll read the other this week.

      That Ministry for the Future sounds like a good one. It seems like Ballard’s The Drowned World had a similar theme, although that was written back in the 60s, so might’ve had a different logic. I’ll check at the bookstore when I make my weekly rounds.

      Speaking of Aziz Ansari, I recently started with Parks and Recreation, which I’d never seen. It’s enjoyable, but I think will probably succcumb to my usual short attention span with programs.Report

  2. veronica d

    Yay! I’m glad you read it.

    Parable of the Sower was super important for me. I read it shortly after release, based on a radio interview I heard with Ms. Butler. Anyway, I got my hands on it and read it. It really shook me (as they say).

    I was Laura.

    Not really, of course. Not at all, actually. This was pre-transition me, a writhing bundle of dysphoria. Plus I’m white. I didn’t live in a apocalyptic hellscape (yet). In my own life I had nothing like Earthseed to shape my behavior. Honestly, as a person, I was pretty adrift.

    (I related a lot to the characters in Slackers. This made me popular at coffee shops and punk shows, but still, I don’t recommend it long term.)

    And yet — give a closeted trans person an introspective, 1st-person novel with an engaging character of their internal gender and bam! Shaken!

    I loved Earthseed. The thing is, so much modern religion is based on doxy not praxis. (I’m stretching the meanings of those terms a bit.) What I mean is, so much modern religion is about “proper belief” instead of “what you do in the world.” Earthseed didn’t care much what you believed, except in the sense that if you believe stupid things you’ll likely end up dead — but not in the sense God will punish you, instead because eating poison berries is a mistake, but if you don’t eat you’ll starve, so recognizing which berries are edible is kind of important. I could get behind that. Plus I rather like “The Destiny of Earthseed / Is to take root among the stars.”

    I don’t know if it’s true, but it gets us looking up, and that’s no small thing.

    Thanks for the article.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to veronica d

      Yeah, it shook me too!

      I love that you could relate to the characters on that level. I come from an even-differenter (more different?) background, but was extremely bookish and introverted at that age, and probably got in my own way by thinking too much, and I really liked that the heroine of the book is much the same. A lot of her conflict with the other characters seemed like her saying “Hey, we really should be ready in case things go south by learning as much as possible now” and that was nice too. Maybe this is why it hasn’t been made into a movie yet- there’s no really super butch character flipping baddies over their head into an electric fence or whatever.

      Earthseed seemed more plausible as the book grew. I also liked that the other characters expressed the same qualms I was having and then were answered. In a lot of ways, it seemed more plausible than many other religions.

      Thanks for the comment. If life or my short-attention span don’t intervene, I will probably read the second book for next Sunday.Report

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