sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,
sturgeonslawyer
sturgeonslawyer

The Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler (2019-38)

 In Book One of the "Earthseed" duology, Lauren Oya Olamina, cursed with feeling any pain she can see, successfully founds a colony called Acorn, based on her Earthseed religion/philosophy. Five years later she is pregnant with her first child, and the colony is nervous about the possibility that a demagogue named Jarrett is entirely too likely to win the Presidency. Jarrett encourages the worst in Americans, lets them wrap it in the flag and Christianity, and vows to "Make America great again." (This was written in the 1990s, folks!)

He wins. Lauren's daughter, Larkin, is born...

...and warriors of "Christian America" invade Acorn.They enslave everyone, kill some (including Lauren's husband), and regularly rape the women - all in the name of turning these "heathen cultists" into good Christians. They also take away the youngest children to be raised in Good Christian Homes.

Each chapter of _Talents_ begins with a quotation from Lauren's "Book of the Living," the basis of the Earthseed religion. Each also has an introduction or commentary of some sort by the person Larkin becomes. It's pretty devastating.

Yet, as with the first book, there is hope. Things do gradually get better, and in the end Lauren lives to see the first of the Earthseed ships being prepared for its interstellar flight of colonization. 

These books, as with all Butler's work (that I have read), are beautifully written, taking us into Lauren's (and other folks') mind and feelings, never calling attention to the words, keeping the fictional dream vivid and powerful. I recommend them highly.
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