Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lauren is a tall, strong, black teenager in Southern California. She watches the apocalypse, or, more accurately, slowpocalypse, engulf her area. Life has deteriorated to where thievery, arson, scavenging and bribery have become the overwhelming lifestyle. She has devised a plan to escape it and has concocted a religion, Earthseed, to provide philosophical underpinning for it. The book is classified as science fiction, rightfully so, but there are no aliens, monsters, or space travel. It is somewhat like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, but much better written and, at times at least, uplifting.

The book is slow to really get going. Her survival plan doesn’t really start until about halfway through the book, but it is imaginative and evocative at that point. I found it interesting enough, but also disliked the doomsaying assumptions made at the outset. In the book, virtually no one is to be trusted and government, police and all forms of power are corrupt and have abandoned the people. In my experience, when hard times or disasters hit, people come together and help each other out and so do our state, local, and federal authorities as well as non-profits. They don’t kill each other and set fire to a house in order to pillage their neighbors’ belongings. This kind of fiction can feed the paranoia of the survivalists and preppers. The book is a decent read, but just remember, it is fiction.

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