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Parable of the Sower (Earthseed) by Octavia…

Parable of the Sower (Earthseed) (edition 2000)

by Octavia E. Butler (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,252911,702 (4.03)197
Title:Parable of the Sower (Earthseed)
Authors:Octavia E. Butler (Author)
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2000), Edition: Updated, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

  1. 41
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: IMO Year of the Flood is a much superior book
  2. 30
    The Postman by David Brin (infiniteletters)
  3. 31
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (GCPLreader)
  4. 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.
  5. 31
    The Girl Who Owned A City by O. T. Nelson (infiniteletters)
  6. 20
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (MyriadBooks)
  7. 10
    Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler (sturlington)
    sturlington: Sequel to Parable of the Sower
  8. 21
    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
  9. 10
    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.
  10. 22
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Strong female teenagers traverse war-torn environments in the near future
  11. 00
    Morne Câpresse by Gisèle Pineau (Dilara86)
  12. 22
    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.
  13. 00
    Galveston by Sean Stewart (amberwitch)
  14. 00
    Mind-Call by Wilanne Schneider Belden (infiniteletters)
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 26
    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'.

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» See also 197 mentions

English (90)  French (1)  All (91)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I loved this book. For some reason, I've read a handful of dystopian futuristic novels recently and of the bunch this was the most engaging because it's about how one girl (late adolescent) develops her own understanding of what matters and what it all means and what she should do to bring others together as well as exploring how people can organize themselves when social institutions fail. Yes, it's bleak; this is a future horribly damaged by greed and exploitation of the planet and people. But it's also about finding community and rebuilding. I found it much more interesting than other books in large part because the narrator was going to do what she could to not just save herself, but find a way to rethink how people can live together. Much more philosophical than the more common "fight the power" resistance story or the disaster porn style of dystopia.
  bfister | Sep 17, 2017 |
The first part was so slow that I had a hard time getting into it. The second part went much faster, redeeming the novel. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Sep 5, 2017 |
My first taste of Butler and I really like her style; the strong female character was also a plus; I give it a 3 only for the depth of the story itself, as I feel it could have led to so much more. ( )
  longhorndaniel | Jul 19, 2017 |
I’ve heard a lot about Parable of the Sower. I only narrowly missed out on reading it in high school — the freshmen English teachers began teaching it when I was a sophomore. I’ve also heard people say that it’s eerily accurate to the United States after November 2016. I’ll come straight out and say it: I was scared to read Parable of the Sower. Octavia Butler’s books are always intense, and I didn’t know if I had the emotional fortitude to deal with Parable of the Sower.

Lauren’s gated community is an island of safety in a sea of chaos. Her father is a minister and college professor who mostly works from home — venturing out beyond the gated walls is dangerous. A wrecked economy and exorbitant prices for food and water have left many people poor and desperate. To make matters worse, a new drug that compels its users to start fires is gaining in popularity. Lauren’s community may have walls, but they are far from wealthy. They are the remnants of the middle class, and they are struggling to get by. And Lauren knows that it can only get worse. Eventually, their walls will fail and the hoards of impoverished thieves and drug addicts will descend on them.

Part of what makes Parable of the Sower feel so real is it’s a post-apocalypse novel without an apocalyptic event. The government still exists — in fact, a new president has just been elected. But most people don’t bother to vote, and you have to bribe the police to investigate a murder. Even then they probably won’t turn up anything. There’s no comet, alien invasion, nuclear bomb, or viral outbreak. Just a slow and steady decline that started years before Lauren was born.

Lauren’s especially vulnerable thanks to her hyper-empathy symptom. If she perceives someone experiencing pain, she reacts as if she herself is in pain. The condition is entirely mental, and Lauren experiences no physical harm. However, it makes it very difficult for her to hurt others.

Oh, and since I haven’t yet mentioned it, Lauren’s founded a religion called Earthseed, the principal tenet of which is “God is change.” Lauren believes intensely in Earthseed, although the characters around her don’t always. Her entire goal in life is to establish a community around Earthseed, using it to make the world a better place. The narrative is interspersed with Lauren’s writings on Earthseed, which take the form of poems. To be honest, it did not take long for me to begin skipping these. It’s nice that Lauren has goals in life, but I don’t care about Earthseed.

I generally did like Lauren, even if she was a bit weird. If creating her own religion wasn’t enough, her love interest is a fifty-seven year old man, one year younger than her father. She’s eighteen. It was sort of making me wonder if she had daddy issues. Are eighteen year olds normally into men the age of their fathers? Actually, nobody answer this. I’d rather continue my life in peace.

Having finished Parable of the Sower, I was right about one thing — it’s dark. Dark dark. Like, there’s a brief mention in passing of a pregnant thirteen-year-old eating a human leg. That’s the sort of background this story is set against. For all that, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d feared. People kept making references to how eerily similar some of it is to what’s happening in US politics right now. I didn’t see much of it in Parable of the Sower… but when I started the sequel, Parable of Talents, I soon realized that I had the books mixed up. Parable of Talents is where a presidential candidate promises to make America great again. Yikes.

Parable of the Sower is doubtlessly ripe for a lot more thoughtful analysis than I go into here. If I ever reread the books, I’ll have to dig into them more for thematic material. As it stands, it was still a compelling but disturbing story of one girl who remains optimistic about the potential of community even in the worst of situations.

I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review. ( )
  pwaites | Jun 10, 2017 |
I will admit that I found this book a little disappointing? I can't quite articulate why- I don't know if it was overhyped to me and I just was expecting to be completely blown away and have my life changed, and while I do think the book was good, it wasn't that level for me. I do think I want other people to read it, because it's reached classic status without being written by a white man (HALLELUJAH!!!) and it's a pretty tight, well-put-together world, which could be really instructive for people wanting to write dystopian/utopian stuff!

I will say that I had some discomfort with the relationship between Lauren and Bankole? It got easier after a bit, but after they had sex and he was like "you're only 18???? you seemed so much older!!!!" I was like GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE OH MY GOD. Also there's this throwaway line about how colonization is what will save them, and like I know Butler means space probably, but given that the novel takes place in California, and that she seems to treat California Indians as relics of the past (when talking about how the family learned to use acorn flour) I was like "ummmm can we not."

Overall I would definitely recommend people read this book, but I myself did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would based on other people's recommendations. ( )
  aijmiller | May 7, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Octavia E. Butlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gyan, DeborahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puckey, DonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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I had my recurring dream last night.
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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.
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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)

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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.

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