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Parable of the Sower [Library Binding]

O. Butler
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2000 1417738693 978-1417738694
In California, in the year 2025, a small community is overrun by desperate scavengers, as an eighteen-year-old African-American woman sets off on foot on a perilous journey northward. By the author of Dawn.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Amazon

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Butler's first novel since 1989's Imago offers an uncommonly sensitive rendering of a very common SF scenario: by 2025, global warming, pollution, racial and ethnic tensions and other ills have precipitated a worldwide decline. In the Los Angeles area, small beleaguered communities of the still-employed hide behind makeshift walls from hordes of desperate homeless scavengers and violent pyromaniac addicts known as "paints" who, with water and work growing scarcer, have become increasingly aggressive. Lauren Olamina, a young black woman, flees when the paints overrun her community, heading north with thousands of other refugees seeking a better life. Lauren suffers from 'hyperempathy," a genetic condition that causes her to experience the pain of others as viscerally as her own--a heavy liability in this future world of cruelty and hunger. But she dreams of a better world, and with her philosophy/religion, Earthseed, she hopes to found an enclave which will weather the tough times and which may one day help carry humans to the stars. Butler tells her story with unusual warmth, sensitivity, honesty and grace; though science fiction readers will recognize this future Earth, Lauren Olamina and her vision make this novel stand out like a tree amid saplings.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars _1984_ for a new generation June 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is simply amazing. Though it's listed as science fiction, a more appropriate genre would be horror. Butler's vision of a destitute U.S., home to cannibals, psychotic pyromaniacs, and dogs that are no longer domesticated but vicious and hungry for human flesh, seems all too real and possible. It's a creepy book. One of my favorites.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review Feb. 27 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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2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks connection with reader Feb. 20 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everyone's already mentioned that the book is depressing, morbid, cruel and has no redemptive qualities. Perhaps the message is to keep going despite the adversity, but if I'd lived in that world I'd shoot myself in the head and spare myself the misery.

More importantly though, despite decent overall character development, Butler fails to truly engage the readers' emotions somehow. Like if the main character died upon arrival - I as a reader wouldn't really care. Perhaps by describing so many atrocities we become immune to further bad twists and are prepared for anything. But if you don't care about the characters - what's the point of their journey?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Is this what the future holds? May 27 2004
By Andy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Parable of the Sower is a look in to the future. Octavia E. Butler imagines a world of rampant crime and endless homelessness. Lauren, the narrator, lives in a walled neighborhood in southern California. When she is forced to flee northward with a couple of local aquaintances, a real struggle for survival ensues. Along the way, she encounters new people. Some are good, most are not. Parable of the Sower is a true survival tale of the future and really makes you think.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really impacted my worldview Jan. 13 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is set in a far too believable future -- it is much too easy to imagine that, if things continue as they are, we will find our planet, our society, and our spirits as badly polluted and damaged as those portrayed in this book. But Lauren Olamina, the wise-beyond-her-years protaganist, is a single seed of hope cast upon the violent wind of change. Will that hope survive? Will she find a place to take root?
Olamina's spiritual philosophy has deeply influenced mine. "Why does God exist? To shape the universe. Why does the universe exist? To shape God," is one of the koans she writes in her Earthseed journal, and this seemingly paradoxical concept becomes her central strength as she faces dangers that will feel uncomfortably familiar to the reader.
I think this book serves not only as an insightful meditation on the nature of reality and an exciting adventure novel, but as an urgent warning. We are shaping our universe and it in turn is shaping us, and the changes we are creating are not the ones we would necessarily desire. I think everyone should read this book at least twice and give it some deep thought.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Nov. 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book probably in 1994. I still remember now how blown away I was by this book. It's one of the greates works I've ever read. The ideas in it are very unique, the character very believeable. There's a good measure of action and thought, and I could identify with the journey the main characters had to take. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!! Oct. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Parable of the Sower" is a great book for all the science fiction lovers out there. The plot, the characters, everything gets molded by Butler into a masterpiece. This book makes me want to read "Parable of the Talents", because I don't want the adventure to stop. Lauren Olamina is the best heroine for this epic story, because with her hyperempathy syndrome, she has to overcome more than anyone. Overall, one of the best books I've ever read
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great for OB fans July 8 2003
By Pamela
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is not my favorite Octavia Butler Novel, but it is still well written and it is a good story.
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