Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Sower (edition 1993)

by Octavia E. Butler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,668682,229 (4.06)150
Title:Parable of the Sower
Authors:Octavia E. Butler
Info:Aspect (2000), Trade paperback
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Key books
Tags:fiction, SFF, 1990s, African American, West Coast, dystopia, climate change, spirituality and religion, women and girls, women writers, reread in 2006

Work details

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

  1. 40
    The Girl Who Owned A City by O. T. Nelson (infiniteletters)
  2. 30
    The Postman by David Brin (infiniteletters)
  3. 20
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: IMO Year of the Flood is a much superior book
  4. 31
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (GCPLreader)
  5. 20
    The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk (espertus)
    espertus: Another post-apocalyptic feminist novel, although unlike in Parable of the Sower, the religion/magic is real, not symbolic.
  6. 10
    Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (sturlington)
  7. 21
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Strong female teenagers traverse war-torn environments in the near future
  8. 21
    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (ellbeecee)
    ellbeecee: Near-future dystopian fiction that makes you consider what's going on and the various paths that could be taken.
  9. 00
    Mind-Call by Wilanne Schneider Belden (infiniteletters)
  10. 11
    Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: A very different dystopia written by a very different African-American science fiction writer. Yet the intensity and humanity of Parable of the Sower are present as well in this much older book.
  11. 11
    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (the_awesome_opossum)
    the_awesome_opossum: Both novels are about human connections formed in the face of unusual crises. Very competent and well-written, both books had much the same vibe about them
  12. 00
    Mara and Dann: An Adventure by Doris Lessing (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Both featuring young female protagonists of colour, traveling north looking for a place to live after her society disintegrated, partially due to climatical changes.
  13. 00
    Morne Câpresse by Gisele Pineau (Dilara86)
  14. 00
    Galveston by Sean Stewart (amberwitch)
  15. 23
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Both are tales of how to survive a world gone mad, though there are no zombies in Butler's. Both works' treatment of the human questions are equally nuanced, variable, and detailed.
  16. 25
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Both told as diaries written by young women growing up 'under siege'.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 150 mentions

English (67)  French (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
The novel begins in a small walled compound of about 12 houses in Robledo, a suburb of Los Angeles, in July 2024. The compound is walled because the world outside has become desperate and dangerous. California suffers from a prolonged drought: there are few jobs to be had; any semblance of a social safety net has crumbled and gangs roam the streets; everyone has guns in their houses; towns have been taken over by companies and debt slavery has been legalized.

Lauren Oya Olamina, 15 years old, the daughter of a professor/Baptist minister has learned the arts of survival from her father, step-mother and books. Quietly she has renounced her father's religion and created her own based on the idea of constant change. Coming to the realization that things are getting worse, she has packed a knapsack with emergency supplies, plantable raw seeds and her savings.

When the inevitable disaster comes, she heads north, gathering a small band of fellows with her. Butler's tale is a dystopian fable told by a young woman with a determination to survive. Parable of the Sower is followed by Parable of the Talents -- which I shall read as I found the first novel absorbing, while no dazzling as literature. ( )
  janeajones | Aug 8, 2015 |
Slow paced yet provocative story about Sci-fi and religion. Apocalyptic conditions give rise to religious thoughts from a YA perspective. The story takes place in a California that is suffering drought, drug epidemics, economic and social breakdown. An eighteen year old woman escapes from her firebombed gated community to start a trek and build a community of Earthseed based on the idea that "God is Change." ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
One of the most powerful and depressing dystopian novels I've read.

The biblical parable of the sower referenced in the title is included late in the book - it draws the threads of the plot together after the fact, inviting the readers to see the various characters as seeds thrown by chance and change ('God', as the narrator understands God) into the various circumstances of the plot. Or perhaps the gatherings of characters are seeds, rather than the individual characters themselves. But the term 'parable' also captures another quality of the book: it is a kind of fable, with aspects of the story-world exaggerated or downplayed to let the book's themes show more strongly. For example, characters in the narrator's circle are far more likely to show kindness or mercy than characters outside. That's not particularly plausible - in fact, the vision of human nature in the book is relentlessly grim except for people in the narrator's semi-charmed circle - but it heightens the impact of the dystopia and the collapse of civil society and family that drives the plot. Similarly, the narrator is far too articulate and well-read to be convincing as a 15 year old in the early journal entries, but that's not really the point; the voice carries a wonderful depth of analysis, and doesn't need to be strictly plausible to be effective.

I can also see why readers love this book for its racially diverse characters, and for its affirmation of a multiracial society. Over and over, the narrator notes that interracial couples or groups face greater suspicion or hostility from other groups in the book's post-apocalyptic setting. And yet, the characters stay together, doing what they can to find a new future for themselves. ( )
1 vote bezoar44 | Jul 9, 2015 |
I read someone's review of this book and took a chance on it. Thought I'd put it down this afternoon after a few pages -- hah! Finished it at one ayem! A young woman finds a new way of believing, but much more importantly, finds a way to survive and possibly prosper in our sick world. A wonderful read that's made me think and ponder.
1 vote bobp0303 | May 26, 2015 |
Full blog post here, but excerpt below sums my thoughts. In a nutshell, I liked this book OK, but was woefully disappointed that I didn't love it, and thought it could have gone better in a number of ways.

"I found the heroine, Lauren, a little irritating (we follow her from about age 15 to age 18 and she is ridiculously and preternaturally more mature, intelligent, and on top of things than everyone around her, which I found a bit exasperating), but I liked her more than I didn't.

I would have liked some more world-building; there's some, but not what I had hoped for given the praise I heard for the book. The reasons for the collapse of civilization are left more than a bit unclear, for one. There wasn't as much plot as I'd hoped for, either. It was about surviving in a dystopian near-future (and founding a new religion), which you might think would be Enough Plot for me, and probably it should have been, but . . . I wanted a bit of something else driving the forward momentum of the story.

This could have been done in a number of ways — introducing a bit more self-doubt in Lauren would have been particularly compelling to me, as it would give her an internal challenge to overcome. Alternatively, she could have stolen a bit of character development from one of the secondary characters — one of these had an interesting arc wherein he really struggled to accept the brutalities of a dystopian reality (for instance, he struggled with the idea that he had to injure or even kill others). If this had been Lauren's arc, I also would have been more compelled by her. But I wasn't, because she was so smugly right all the time.

I think if I was more into dystopians as a genre I would have been really into this (and if you are into dystopians, you should definitely read this; it was way ahead of the curve, sort of the ur-dystopian, like 1984 or Brave New World), but I just wasn't. Again, I want to reiterate that this wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. It was smart and well written and thoughtful and everything good . . . I just wasn't into it, and I was disappointed because I really wanted to be." ( )
1 vote pepperedmoth | Mar 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Octavia E. Butlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyan, DeborahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puckey, DonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Prodigy is, at its essence, adaptability and persistent, positive obsession. Without persistence, what remains is an enthusiasm of the moment. Without adaptability, what remains may be channeled into destructive fanaticism. Without positive obsession, there is nothing at all. -- EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING by Lauren Oya Olamina
All that you touch / You Change. / All that you Change / Changes You. / The only lasting truth / is Change. / God / Is Change. -- EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING
First words
I had my recurring dream last night.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Set in a dystopian future, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman who possesses what Butler dubbed as hyperempathy – the ability to feel the perceived pain and other sensations of others – who develops a benign philosophical and religious system during her childhood in the remnants of a gated community in Los Angeles. Civil society is near collapse due to resource scarcity and poverty. When the community's security is compromised, her home is destroyed and her family murdered. She travels north with some survivors to try to start a community where her religion, called Earthseed, can grow.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446675504, Paperback)

Octavia E. Butler, the grande dame of science fiction, writes extraordinary, inspirational stories of ordinary people. Parable of the Sower is a hopeful tale set in a dystopian future United States of walled cities, disease, fires, and madness. Lauren Olamina is an 18-year-old woman with hyperempathy syndrome--if she sees another in pain, she feels their pain as acutely as if it were real. When her relatively safe neighborhood enclave is inevitably destroyed, along with her family and dreams for the future, Lauren grabs a backpack full of supplies and begins a journey north. Along the way, she recruits fellow refugees to her embryonic faith, Earthseed, the prime tenet of which is that "God is change." This is a great book--simple and elegant, with enough message to make you think, but not so much that you feel preached to.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
47 wanted1 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.06)
1 5
2 21
2.5 12
3 99
3.5 46
4 246
4.5 36
5 217


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,706,396 books! | Top bar: Always visible