Forum Book Club: Octavia E. Butler's 'Parable of the Sower'

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“I write about people who do extraordinary things,” observed the pioneering science fiction writer Octavia Butler, “it just turned out that it was called science fiction.” This month, Forum’s book club discusses Butler’s 1993 novel “Parable of the Sower." In it, 15-year-old Lauren Olamina navigates a California in the early 2020s that has been beset by climate change, grotesque income inequality, and violence. Sound familiar? Butler has been lauded as prescient and prophetic, but she called herself merely observant and able to imagine what the world could be like if no one bothered to change. We’ll talk about the book, Octavia Butler’s legacy and what speculative fiction can teach us about our own current reality.


Chelsea Frazier, faculty fellow, Cornell University

Tarshia Stanley, dean, School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, St. Catherine University; professor Stanley is president of the Octavia E. Butler Literary Society and edited the Modern Language Association teaching series "Approaches to Teaching the Works of Octavia E. Butler"

Ayana Jamieson, founder, Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network