Directly opposed is Lauren Olamina, founder of Earthseed - a new faith that teaches "God Is Change". Persecuted for "heathen" beliefs as much as for having a black female leader, Earthseed's followers face a life-and-death struggle to preserve their vision.
Best-selling author Octavia Butler's fluid writing and keen observations about race, gender, politics, and religion make for a moving parable that will be pondered for generations. A powerful reading from three standout narrators captures the multi-generational sweep of this poignant tale.
Butler's acclaimed novels have won numerous awards, and she is a recipient of a "genius" grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Parable of the Talents was selected as one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly.
©2007 Octavia Butler; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC
"Octavia E. Butler is one of the finest voices in fiction....period." (Washington Post Book World)
"These...are the keynotes of Talents: family and characters, warmth and endurance, hope and determination. It's a worthy book, well up to Butler's standard for thoughtfulness and insight." (Analog Science Fiction & Fact)
"Though not for the faint-hearted, this work stands out as a testament to the author's enormous talent, and to the human spirit." (Publishers Weekly)
Now this is why I became a Sci Fi fan; here you have a fully formed idea, how our present trajectory could look like. This is set in a very plausible story, with fully formed, engaging characters. It is told suspensefully, entertaining and thought provoking. You might not agree with the author at all levels, but at least it is a serious contribution to the discussion. The prose serves the story, does not get in the way of the story, the narration also works.
I read science fiction and fantasy, but I also like literary fiction, the classics, the occasional mystery/thriller, and non-fiction.
This book is the sequel to"Parable of the Sower," but it stands up pretty well by itself, though I would definitely recommend reading the first book, because Butler is that good and these books are very powerful. In Parable of the Talents, Lauren Olamina, the protagonist of the first book, continues trying to build a community and a following devoted to her new religion, "Earthseed." Unfortunately, she is trying to found this new religion just when America, in the grip of a near-apocalyptic economic and environmental collapse, elects a witch-burning fundie Talibaptist for President. Lauren and her people are literally enslaved, and Lauren's infant daughter is taken away from her.
This is a dark book, a truly horrific dystopia, but the rape and violence does not read like a gratuitous admixture the way it does in so many books. You know how some authors want to make their books extra dark to let you know that these are Very Bad Times and Very Bad People, so they toss in a little rape, a little dismemberment, like one of those buckets o' blood horror films that just wind up being too schlocky and over-the-top to really horrify you? Octavia Butler doesn't do that. Instead, Lauren tells us what happened to her and her people in very clear but non-graphic terms, and the impact is felt for the rest of the story because even though she is trying to start a hopeful new religion, she hates her abusers with the heat of a thousand burning suns and makes no bones about it. It's very refreshing. None of that "I have to get past this" or forgiveness bull. She does survive and eventually launch her movement, successfully, but it's not like "Oh, and along the way some bad stuff happened."
Parable of the Talents is also, indirectly, a mother-daughter story. It's told in the past tense through the journals of both Lauren Olamina and her daughter, whom she never knew until her daughter reached adulthood. Her daughter has a very difficult time coming to terms with who her mother was, and so there are two very different narrative threads woven through the events described in the novel: Lauren, describing much of it as it was happening, and her daughter, commenting (and often, passing judgment) decades later.
This is one of those science fiction books that really should be considered literature, and it's a shame Octavia Butler isn't more widely known. It's even more of a shame that she died before she could write the third book she planned. I give both of the Earthseed books a very high recommendation.
A captivating and believable look into thirty years from now in Northern California. The planet's warmth pushes rich and poor north, religious extremism grows unchecked, and people are torn between individual survival and holding on to fragments of their humanity.
This book may not satisfy hardcore sci-fi buffs. It's about individual and group struggle in the future, though, just as easily could have been set in any number of dark times in the past that were ruled by corruption, chaos, and spiritual discontent. Characters are well developed enabling the reader to understand and relate to actions and motivations, even when they are extreme. Brutality is rampant, though, rape scenes are thankfully referred to instead of described. An excellent exploration of trust, loyalty, faith, power, and destiny.
I should have liked this book more – it has many great science fiction elements in it – an apolyptical future, religious cults, struggle to stay alive, etc. But it really seems more like a short story that’s been stretched into novel length by repetitive ramblings about the same or similar concepts over and over again. The story is somewhat interesting, but becomes tiring a third of the way through and never really improves that much.
I was compelled by the title and summary and hoped for better than what I got. I found the futuristic world of chaos intriguing in that we could be headed for something like that with the state of our economy right now. The haves and the have nots.. But it was more like "what if everyone lost their minds" a bit too biazzare!
I found the whole story line depressing and it reminded me of the guy who got all of his followers to kill themselves during the eclipse or comet sighting some years back. They poisoned themselves and had on purple sneakers and were going to ride the tail of the coment... or something, right?!! "Lauren" was overbearingly and simple minded. As noted by another reviewer, the characters are not very developed.
The most important thing though was the narrator! Boy was her voice aggrevating and I could hear her swallow quite often throughout the text being read!
I know there are a lot of long passages, however I have listened to many other books and this is the first time the narrator's voicebox expressed all of the annoyances that come with regular, non-professional exchanges, very fluid! Maybe it was the audio equipment that was not set properly, I am not sure. I just found that everytime I heard her swallow, I cringed..
Sorry and better luck next time!
I would definitely listen to Parable of the Talents again because it is such an amazing story about perseverance. Laure Olamina is an awesome young woman who is determined to survive in this post-apocalyptic time. And while her religion is not one I would choose, I understand why the Acorn community lives according
There is a moment in Parable of the Talents when the protagonist and her community are enslaved by a fanatical Christian group and it is such a defeating and hopeless moment. However, things do turn around for the Acorn community...
Not a really fast paced book, but the story does move along. In the middle of the book I was annoyed with the amount of time the author spent on theology, "Earthseed". But as the story progresses it does make more sense.
Starting with an interesting premise, Butler squanders it with uneven story-telling, unlikable characters, and no true understanding of the world she has set them in.
The first few minutes of this were really intriguing, the rest of it couldn't hold my attention. Bad writing, a flaw you can skim over quickly in a print book if the plot is good enough, never works in an audible book. Don't waste your money or credits.
The book had some good ideas but would have been better without the repetitive Earthseed stuff. There wasn't enough content to justify the loving attention this supposed religion received--it was just a bunch of platitudes, over and over and over. The mother-daughter relationship was the most interesting part of the book.
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