The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

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Lauren Olamina, the fifteen-year-old narrator of The Parable of the Sower, a classic science fiction novel, is unusual in two ways. She suffers from a neurological condition called hyperempathy, which causes her to feel the pain of others when she sees it; her father has taught her to hide her condition to keep others from using it against her, but as a child Lauren would bleed through her skin if she saw someone else bleeding. Lauren's other unusual characteristic comes out in the poetry that is scattered through her journal: she is the author--the discoverer, as she puts it--of a new religion, one she calls Earthseed, which teaches that God is Change.

There's plenty of change going on in Lauren's world, which is nearly as compelling a character as Lauren herself. The story opens in 2024, and though it was written nearly twenty years ago this vision of the future remains creepily plausible. Lauren lives in a walled neighborhood in southern California, a last bastion of seeming normality in a world where unemployment, poverty, global warming, and designer drugs have left the world outside a terrifying chaos. Water is more expensive than food, arson is on the rise, and the government is powerless to help anyone.

In the midst of it all, Lauren is trying to be ready for what comes next, but no one is ever really prepared when the big change comes.

Submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park


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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on January 11, 2012 9:46 AM.

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