Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler – Our Review

With the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey towards a better future. We just needed to read Parable Of The Sower By Octavia E Butler after hearing all the praise surrounding this novel! It was even crowned A New York Times Notable Book, making it an absolute must-read. This outstanding work of speculative fiction has earned its place in the dystopian classics, along with the Handmaid’s tale and 1984. So, check out our thoughts on it now!

Parable Of The Sower
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Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler
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Parable Of The Sower

A New York Times Notable Book: In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.

“A stunner.” —Flea, musician and actor, TheWall Street Journal

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture. A culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path. Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed. She is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety. Along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

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Parable Of The Talent (Book 2)

Parable Of The Talent was published in 1998 and the second book in the Parable series.

In order for me to understand who I am, I must begin to understand who she was.

Asha was born into a broken world. There are many things she needs to know: how her country could embrace a violent, far-right President promising to make America great again, why they turned a blind eye to the suffering – and the truth about her mother.

In her journals, Lauren Olamina tells of a great love divided between her young daughter, her community and the revelation that led her to found a new faith that teaches ‘God Is Change’. But under a tyrannical religious regime who consider the mere existence of a black female leader a threat, Lauren knows she must soon either sacrifice her daughter and her followers – or forsake the beliefs that could transform human destiny.

About Octavia E Butler

Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. She received both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and in 1995 became the first author of science fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Ms Butler was also awarded the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Her first novel, Patternmaster (1976), was praised both for its imaginative vision and for Butler’s powerful prose, and spawned four prequels, beginning with Mind of My Mind (1977) and finishing with Clay’s Ark (1984). Although the Patternist series established Butler among the science fiction elite, it was Kindred (1979), a story of a black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, that brought her mainstream success. In 1985, Butler won Nebula and Hugo awards for the novella “Bloodchild,” and in 1987 she published Dawn, the first novel of the Xenogenesis trilogy, about a race of aliens who visit earth to save humanity from itself. Fledgling (2005) was Butler’s final novel. She died at her home in 2006. 

Detailed Description

Parable Of The Sower starts out in the year 2024. Lauren Oya Olamina is a teenage African American girl who suffers from Hyperempathy (she feels others pleasure and pain as if it were her own), this is due to her birth mother abusing drugs whilst she was pregnant. Lauren lives with her father who is a Baptist Minster, as well as a teacher in the local school. She also lives with her step-mother Cory and her four younger brothers.

In 2024 the world is a dystopian land where the earth has been decimated by climate change. This also leads to an economic crisis which leads to social chaos.

Lauren lives in a gated community in America, away from the extreme poverty that exists outside. In the hills and canyons surrounding Lauren’s community waste, human remains and dogs reside. Drought is widespread and rain has become extremely rare. At the start of the novel it has been six years since the last rain and water costs several times as much as gasoline. Lauren’s father does his best to keep the community together with his teaching and preaching. The community has done it’s best to become self sufficient, doing things such as making bread from acorns to survive. Public services are untrustworthy, the police charge money to come out and even then it can take days for them to arrive.

As time goes on and things become more desperate Lauren starts to lose faith in her father’s teachings and begins to write her own religious verses. These verses are based on her belief that ‘God is change’. She calls her new beliefs ‘Earthseed’. Lauren also secretly plots to leave her community to more to the North where there are rumours of jobs being available.

Meanwhile some cities begin to be taken over by big companies and privatised so people can live there if they pay to. Lauren’s closest friend decides to move to one of these cites but Lauren is untrustworthy of the large companies.

Eventually Lauren’s gated cul-de-sac proves to be no sanctuary anyway. Her family cocoon begins to fall apart and on the outside a drug named ‘Pyro’ begins to take over. The people high on Pyro start fires for fun. Then they begin to start fires as a distraction for looting and stealing. Lauren begins to plan her journey North where she hopes to find a better life and spread her Earthseed religion. But what will she find once she ventures out into the new world.

Our Review

Written in 1993 by outstanding sci-fi author Octavia E Butler Parable Of The Sower is a novel far ahead of its time predicting a world severely damaged by climate change. In 2022 it hasn’t happened yet but it is not too hard to imagine what could happen in the future if changes aren’t made to rectify this soon or now. This dystopian sci-fi is a scary read because it doesn’t even feel hyper-unrealistic. The novel is very well written and the characters are rich and believable. As apocalyptic novels go this is way up there with the best so if this genre is your thing then you really shouldn’t miss this book!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Octavia Butler’s message in Parable of the Sower?

The message in Octavia Butler’s Parable Of The Sower was way ahead of its time. Written in 1993 the message of the book is the dangers of climate change for the planet and the social, economic and environmental havoc it could wreak on the future.

Why did Octavia Butler name it Parable of the Sower?

Octavia Butler named her book Parable of the Sower after the religious verse of the same name. The Parable of the Sower religious verse tells the story of a man who is sowing grain. The grain falls on four different types of ground. The hard ground prevents the seed from growing, the stony ground allows the seeds to grow but because there is no deepness of earth then they cannot thrive. The seed that falls on thorny ground is chocked by the thorns. However the seed that falls on the good ground grows well and bears the most fruit.

What is Earthseed Parable of the Sower?

Earthseed in Parable of the Sower is the name of the religion that the protagonist, Lauren begins to form, based on her verses and belief that “God is change”.

Did you love this Octavia Butler classic as much as we did? Let us know!

Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler – Our Review
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