Macarthur "genius prize" recipient Octavia Butler (previously) is one of science fiction's most important figures, an author who wrote cracking, crackling, accessible and fast-moving adventure stories shot through with trenchant and smart allegories about race, gender and power (I like to think of her as "woke Heinlein").
Grand Central has just published a new edition of one of her most important books, Parable of the Sower, the first of a two-volume set that tells the tale of a young Black girl in southern California during a time of environmental and economic collapse and the rise of authoritarian rule; about how she leads a band of refugees, founding a new religion grounded in solidarity and stewardship, and how she triumphs over lunatic gangs; corrupt, militarized cops; and the logistical challenges of flash-fires, starvation and disease.
The new edition features a brilliant introduction by NK Jemisin (previously), whose Broken Earth trilogy made Hugo Award history last year when all three volumes won the prize for Best Novel.
Jemisin's introduction describes how she read Butler's novel at three times in her life, and how each read evinced a very different reaction from her -- once in the roaring nineties when the economy was booming and the internet promised democratization of culture and communications; once in Jemisin's thirties when she was was a grad student researching the theory of Black liberation and the nature of white supremacy; and now, in the Trump era, when stories about authoritarian rule, mass inequality, and climate devastation don't feel nearly so allegorical and have taken on the tinge of description instead.
Jemisin's sober assessment of Butler's legacy after three reads highlights how the novel lays out a plan for "smart resistance," grounded in an understanding of "the difference between good intentions and good outcomes." That's exactly right. Parable of the Sower has never been more relevant.
Parable of the Sower [Octavia Butler with an introduction by NK Jemisin/Grand Central]
(Image: Laura Hanifin, CC-BY-SA)
There’s still magic in the world, as evidenced by this fairy’s-eye view of Children’s Fairyland, that charming 70-year-old storybook theme park in Oakland, California. You might remember that when I’m not blogging, I work with Fairyland. WELL… months before we were mandated to shelter in place, a local photographer, Stephen Loewinsohn, contacted our team at […]
We’ve been writing about Lea Redmond since 2009 here on Boing Boing. She’s just one of those kind of people who consistently makes neat things — a real Happy Mutant! Well, her latest creative venture is Home Sweet Home, an activity deck for kids (and the young at heart). It offers inspiring prompts for whimsical, […]
Listed at $159,900 this 1,075 square-foot home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is bland on the outside but features rooms with outer space, submarine, tropical island, and moonbase motifs. The owners put a lot of work into it!
Allergies are brutal, affecting about 30 percent of all American adults. While many only saddle sufferers with mild irritations like coughing, sneezing, a runny nose or watering eyes, some symptoms can be even more intrusive and significantly more painful. Sinus pressure is one of those unholy side effects, causing a pain that can stretch from […]
“I probably use my chef’s knives more than any other tool in the kitchen.” – Bobby Flay, celebrity chef Cooking at home has taken on a whole new life in the wake of COVID-19, and even with restaurants slowly reopening across the US, there’s heavy reason to suspect that more of us preparing more meals […]
More than half of you think the best way to manage your passwords is to just keep ‘em safely stashed away in your own noggin. Meanwhile, there are also bunches of you that favor saving passwords in your browser, putting them in a spreadsheet or just writing them down on a piece of paper or […]