Book jacket
Parable of the sower : a novel


"Parable of the Sower is the Butlerian odyssey of one woman who is twice as feeling in a world that has become doubly dehumanized. The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman with the hereditary train of "hyperempathy" -- which causes her to feel others' pain as her own -- sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown"-- Provided by publisher.

Item Details


Genre: Science fiction.


  • 9781609807191 (hardcover)
  • 9781609807191

Edition: Seven Stories Press edition.

Description: 330 pages ; 22 cm

LCCN: 2016033091

Link to PAC

Other Items In This Series

Orwell, George, 1903-1950 — George Orwell's fiction, like Octavia E. Butler's, examines major social concepts, especially class and government. Like Butler, Orwell created humans capable of sinking to deplorable depths. He did not focus on race and sex as much as Butler, but Butler's fans will appreciate his writing. -- Katherine Johnson
Westerfeld, Scott — Octavia Butler and Scott Westerfeld write sensual, intelligent, and thoughtful Science Fiction that leads readers to re-examine what they "know" about worlds, cultures, and people. Readers who appreciate the very different takes on vampires in Butler's Fledgling and Westerfeld's Peeps might well enjoy their other evocative novels and series. -- Georgine Olson
Jones, Gwyneth A. — Both authors write deftly written, provocative, and imaginative science fiction featuring strong female characters, feminist politics, and thoughtful ruminations on human identity. They use futuristic settings and alien encounters to create complex, often ambiguous, investigations into existential and political questions. -- Derek Keyser
Henderson, Zenna — Zenna Henderson and Octavia Butler write thought-provoking science fiction about outsiders and their roles in society. Henderson's haunting, emotional work is notable for its rich characterization, while Butler uses the plight of her characters to indict contemporary society for injustices. -- Kaitlyn Moore
Tepper, Sheri S. — Octavia Butler and Sheri S. Tepper intertwine religious, ecological, and feminist themes throughout their work, showing strong female characters in difficult situations. Their works feature deliberate pacing and thought-provoking writing, as well as believable dystopian futures. -- Krista Biggs
Due, Tananarive, 1966- — Though Tananarive Due writes in the horror genre, and Octavia Butler is known for her powerful science fiction and fantasy novels, both write socially conscious fiction that blend realism with speculative elements, and racial politics with intricate and imaginative plots. -- Shauna Griffin
Le Guin, Ursula K., 1929- — Ursula K. Le Guin's and Octavia E. Butler's writing features "outsider" characters, who lead readers to consider on a personal level how people treat "the other." Their works also vividly portray settings in believable worlds that readers can identify with. -- Katherine Johnson
Hairston, Andrea — These African-American authors combine elements of fantasy and science fiction with social and racial commentary, questions of identity, multicultural casts, and appealing characters. -- Shauna Griffin
Piercy, Marge — Octavia E. Butler and Marge Piercy are impressive storytellers, and both write in multiple genres. They examine basic issues of what it means to be human through their compelling tales created through vivid description and character development. -- Katherine Johnson
Shawl, Nisi — These African-American authors use compelling, powerful language to craft nuanced characters, diverse casts, and themes that explore the corruption of power. While Nisi Shawl is best known for her genre-blending short stories, Octavia Butler is known for her convention-busting novels. -- Shauna Griffin
Atwood, Margaret, 1939- — Margaret Atwood's books share the introspection common in Octavia Butler's novels; both powerful storytellers have written what might be called "idea novels." Their stories lead readers to confront and examine the ways humans and societies treat one another. -- Katherine Johnson
Straight, Susan — Octavia Butler's fans might also enjoy Susan Straight's works, which, though they are not science fiction or fantasy, feature good stories with strong female protagonists. Both authors examine historical and social issues through their vividly described settings and believable characters. -- Katherine Johnson

Reader Reviews

Approval Rating: 60% (3/5)
Average Rating: 4.38


By Patron79376 on Fri, 18 Dec 2009 12:30:23

Heavy, but very thought provoking.

★☆☆☆☆ Science Fiction?

By greatisrare on Wed, 25 Apr 2012 02:02:45

First, this there is no science and no test of the imagination in this slow tedious predictable post apocalypse narrative. Second you can tell what is going to happen 100s of pages or since it is a recording hours before you get there. Third, it is one of those "the middle ages are coming back" where Butler's version is the dead cliche of ignorance and violence. Fourth the reader has a cloying tone that takes what is already overwrought and obvious and lays it on like molasses. I waded through this because a scholar of scifi said it was a masterpiece. Don't suffer. It is without a novel idea, it is not credible and it is so terribly slow humorless and unsurprising that it would be hard to make a good short story from it...though that is what Butler should have done. She clearly needed an editor....and some inspiration.

★★★★★ A wonderful book!

By anyanwu on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 08:46:58

I convinced my reader’s group to read this book, I hope I’m not the only one who loves it. (I wasn't.) Lauren Olamina writes a first-person epistolary of how Earthseed came to be. (In this, I think she can be favorably compared to Anne Frank.) It is a community risen from the ashes of a dying California: there’s global warming, debt slavery, a lack of water, inflation, a drug that makes people love to set fires, where policemen and firemen are as likely to steal as anything else. Lauren who was raised in a small walled community called Robledo near LA. (Read Pasadena or Altadena, both cities that Butler lived in and in which she was raised.) Lauren’s father is a Baptist minister and professor at an unnamed college and he keeps the small walled community functioning and the bad guys out. Then that stops working. Earthseed is the religion, philosophy and community that Lauren develops. “Just before nightfall a gun battle began over toward the highway. We couldn’t see any of it from where we were, but we stopped talking and lay down. With bullets flying, it seemed best to keep low. The shooting started and stopped, moved away, then came back. I was on watch, so I had to stay alert, but in this storm of noise, nothing moved near us except the trees in the evening breeze. It looked so peaceful, and yet people out there were trying to kill each other, and no doubt succeeding. Strange how normal it’s become for us to lie on the ground and listen while nearby, people try to kill each other.” This dystopian heart-breaking novel that begins in 2024, is eerily prescient. This could happen, and it's frightening in that way. It's also violent, shockingly so, but for me Lauren's hope and faith win out. It also helps that I read McCarthy's The Road some months ago and that is one bleak novel. Butler's dystopia isn't as bleak as McCarthy's.

★★★★☆ Parable of the Sower

By truck on Tue, 02 Feb 2010 21:36:52

This book is fascinating, you read about hardships of a fallen economy and society. As a young adolescent of the age of 12, Lauren see's the truth of the times they live in, while the adults are stuck in the past. Everything has gotten so bad that the community had to build a wall around itsself to be safe. The world outside is a violent one with the mentality of kill or be killed. The wall comes down and Lauren does whatever it takes to stay alive ...even kill.

★★★★★ Butler, O

By lfgb on Tue, 09 Dec 2008 13:25:40

In a future United States gone mad, Lauren Olamina, an 18-year old with hyperempathy (she can feel the pain of others as if it were her own) works with other rag-tag refugees to stay alive. This is followed by Parable of the Talents. You would probably also like Butler’s time travel classic, Kindred.

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