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Parable of the Sower Paperback – 1 Jan 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Warner Books Ed edition (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446675504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446675505
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The first book of the Earthseed series (the second being the Nebula Award winner Parable of the Talents).

Set in the early 21st century in a California where civilisation has all but broken down and poverty and uspeakable violence is the norm, this is a horrifying vision of what might be. Teenage Lauren Olamina is one of the few citizens fortunate enough to have a home ... However Lauren, knowing ... there must be a better way to live invents Earthseed, an entirely new religion that holds workable, positive solutions to society's ills. When the worst happens and her neighbourhood is invaded and destroyed, Lauren embarks on a perilous journey to find a place far away from the horrors of LA ...

'The missing link between Marge Piercy and Ursula Le Guin ... surreal, sensual science fiction.' Everywoman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Cull VINE VOICE on 27 Feb. 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Parable of the Sower is a vivid, often harrowing, story of survival, loss and companionship, set in a United States in the near future, where the environment and society have degraded to the point of breakdown. An account of a young woman's journey away from the dangerous neighbourhood of her childhood, and of the perils and the people encountered in the search for a safe haven, this novel is about the triumph and resilience of the human spirit. Although I felt it would have been just as good without its religious element, reading this story was ultimately an uplifting experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 July 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very intense story set against the backdrop of the breakdown of an industrial society. Butler's vision of a chaotic LA is truly chilling, from the near-defenselessness of its innocents to the killing fury of its villains. In a way, it is the most realistic and grim from of all her science fiction, the most likely to happen.

It never ceases to amaze me how ambitious Butler is! In earlier novels, she invents a divide of human speciation as well as a hybrid race that springs from extraterrestrial genetic traders. At the center of this story is an empath - a mutant whose abilities are not as fantstic as those in Butler's other novels - who embarks on a crusade to found and lead a new religion.

Thus, Butler addresses the great themes of humanity with great inventiveness and utterly superb writing. She is a first rate novelist.

Howver, I did find this novel rather slower than her others.

Warmly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Aug. 1996
Format: Hardcover
This book shows clearly why Octavia Butler is one of the
best writers in the business. The novel succeeds on
multiple levels; the characters are well-drawn and engaging,
particularly the protagonist. The examination of a society
destroyed not by some impending apocalypse, but by the
breakdown of an obsolete structure, is only one aspect of
this modern parable. Butler's writing is beautifully
clear, spare and concise; she uses the epistolary form to
its best advantage. I highly recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Naomi Scott on 12 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Parable Of The Sower is the first half of Octavia Butler's Earthseed series, and introduces us to a near future dystopia in which society has all but disintegrated following an ecological collapse. While the novel centres itself on the Western seaboard of the USA, it is implied (though not specifically confirmed) that the effects of the collapse have been felt worldwide. The story is presented through the eyes of the novel's protagonist, Lauren Olamina, a teenage girl who initially lives with her father, step-mother and step-brothers in a walled community on the fringes of what's left of Los Angeles. Lauren also has a condition which Butler calls 'hyperempathy', an ability which causes her to feel the perceived pleasure and pain of those around her.

The story itself follows Lauren as she begins to develop her own religious system in the form of Earthseed, a philosophy that revolves around the idea that God is change, and as such isn't something to be worshipped but instead something to be recognised and respected.

The first half of the novel gives us a good look at Lauren's life at home, and does a good job of imparting her fear of the future, that the violence and chaos taking place outside the walls of her home community will one day come through the walls and tear down the fragile safety she has grown used to. Despite her attempts to warn others of the danger she perceives she is quietened by her father, a minister whose own fears are that if the community is forced to recognise the danger then they'll simply lose hope and ultimately give in to the ongoing degeneration around them. Eventually Lauren's fears become real, and the community is attacked and destroyed in a single night of violence and fire.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jan. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Parable of the Sower is artfully written. Every detail of life in a depleted, violent future Califoria is plausible, and anyone who's been an adolescent can instantly relate to Lauren, the narrator and protaganist. The unflinching realism of the rest of the book makes the Earthseed philosophy into an unconvincing afterthought. Could a band of multi-culti ragtag survivors make it out of the imploding city and up to the relative haven of Northern California? Yes, Butler makes me believe. Does that human triumph have anything to do with the mystic pseudo-faith espoused by Lauren in her diary and in the chapter headings? I'm unconvinced.

Read this book for the author's unflinching apocolyptic vision and the very human hope which springs from it, and leave the poorly articulated spiritual element behind.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Aug. 1996
Format: Hardcover
PARABLE of the SOWER
BY: Octavia E. Butler
296 pp New York
Aspect. $5.99 Paper ($6 who are they fooling?)
$17.96 Hard Cover ($18)
By: Joe Katz for ICS org_zine@western.edu

There is more to _Parable_ than just a good story. Octavia Butler is
one of the Best Authors I've read. Every book she writes leaves you thinking
about humanity. I know the genera "science fiction" turns many people off,
but as Octavia Butler says, "I write stories about people; if they want to
call it science fiction, they can." For _Parable_, she has won the McCarthy
Genius award. This prize grants the recipient an undisclosed amount of money
so the "genius" will be able to do whatever they want for three years. As far
as I know, no one who has read this book has hated it. As for me, I've read
it 5 times now and I'm still moved by it.

All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
Is Change.

God
Is Change

EARTHSEED: The book of the living

These passages are from the opening of _Parable_, a story of a Journey of
spirit and foot. Lauren Olamina is a young African-American girl growing up
in a walled-in cul-de-sac in the suburbs of Los Angeles. This cul-de-sac is
your average lower middle class walled-in neighborhood. Steel gates and
laser-wire, topped with broken glass. Outside the wall, starving people
want in.
Behind these walls, Lauren is growing up. Her father is a Baptist
minister and Lauren, well, she doesn't know what she is.
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