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Customer Review

on 24 August 1996
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. Outside, people
are starving and they use a drug that makes burning things better than an
orgasm. People are burning the cities down. LA hasn't seen rain in six years;
when they finally do, it comes in a hurricane. The only people killed in the
Hurricane were the poor, who had no warning and no way to get out of the city
to safety. Lauren wonders how in god's eyes is it a sin to be poor.
The rich have food and water. The Rich have guards against intruders.
But she is not rich. Every day someone else loses a job in their neighborhood.
Every year, it is harder and harder to pay the property taxes. One day,
they too will be on the streets. And if that day does not come, the people
outside will break in and burn their home down. Her parents, on the other
hand, do not see this. They have the wall, they have guns, they have some
jobs. And this is why, when the walls did break and the Pyro-freaks burned
down their homes, almost no one was prepared.
Lauren with the first idea of Earthseed: she begins her second journey,
the first being EARTHSEED. The second journey covers the highways of
California in quest of a place with jobs, in search of a place where
water is not as expensive as gasoline. And on this journey she will
pick up the first few members of the Church or EARTHSEED.
For Lauren, the god or EARTHSEED is change. Why change?
Change is an idea, not a god, right? Maybe, but with change as a god you
can shape it, nay, you have a duty to shape it. Lauren was prepared to face
the outside world and she shapes it to suit her. Follow Lauren on her journey
of discovery, through the highways of California, through the thoughts of her
mind. Find out where she goes in this brilliant paperback gem (look for a
gleam on the rack).

orginaly published for ICS to subscribe send e-mail to ORG_ZINE@WESTERN.edu
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