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This acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from an award-winning author “pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale” and includes a foreword by N. K. Jemisin (John Green, New York Times).

When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others’ emotions.

Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny.

What's Inside

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Praise

"A brilliant, endlessly rich dystopian novel that pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale, and it's also a fascinating exploration of how crises can fuel new religious and ideological movements."—John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down, New York Times
"Butler felt to me like a lighthouse blinking from an island of understanding way out at sea. I had no idea how to get there, but I knew she had found something life-saving. She had found a form of resistance. Butler and other writers like Ursula Le Guin, Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood...used the tenets of genre to reveal the injustices of the present and imagine our evolution."
Brit Marling, New York Times
"In the ongoing contest over which dystopian classic is most applicable to our time, Octavia Butler's 'Parable' books may be unmatched."
New Yorker
"Unnervingly prescient and wise. A worthy read for those intent on building a better world as this pandemic continues to lay bare how untenable, how depravedly unequal, the American way of life is and has always been."
Yaa Gyasi, New York Times
"If we're talking must-read authors like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, the one-and-only Octavia Butler needs be a part of the conversation. The groundbreaking sci-fi and speculative fiction author was a master of spinning imaginative tales that introduced you to both the possibilities -- and dangers -- of the human race, all while offering lessons on tribalism, race, gender, and sexuality."
O, The Oprah Magazine
"Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is a stunner. It's a terrifying vision of a dismal future brought on by the willful ignorance, racism and greed of human beings, and an eerily dangerous parallel to our present path. Ms. Butler gives us a satisfying protagonist in the hypersensitive teenager Lauren, whose courage and wits are an infinite source of inspiration."—Flea, Wall Street Journal
"A gripping tale of survival and a poignant account of growing up sane in a disintegrating world."
New York Times Book Review
"One of the most important and groundbreaking science-fiction authors."
Entertainment Weekly
"A powerful story of hope and faith."
Denver Post
"There isn't a page in this vivid and frightening story that fails to grip the reader."
San Jose Mercury News
"Artfully conceived and elegantly written . . . Butler's success in making Lauren's subsequent odyssey feel real is only the most obvious measure of this fine novel's worth."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A real gut-wrencher . . . What makes Butler's fiction compelling is that it is as crisply detailed as journalism. . . Often the smallest details are the most revelatory."
Washington Post
"A prophetic odyssey."
Essence
"Butler tells her story with unusual warmth, sensitivity, honesty, and grace; though science fiction readers will recognize this future Earth, Lauren Olamina and her vision make this novel stand out like a tree among saplings."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"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 . . . Parable of the Sower has never been more relevant."—Boing Boing
"One of Butler's most visceral, accomplished works . . . this is the stuff of the best dystopian science fiction: a real-life warning made fictional. Even in 1993, Butler understood climate change could well be the spark that ignites the dry kindling of race, class, and religious strife into a conflagration that will consume our nation. If anything, those issues are even more pressing a quarter-century later . . . Butler's vision of hard-won hope in challenging times is more essential now than ever before, and well worth seeking out in this new edition."
B&NBlog
"Butler [had a] practically psychic ability to predict the future."
New York Magazine, "The Best Books for Budding Black Feminists, According to Experts"
"A dystopian classic."
Kirkus Reviews
"One of the cornerstone works in the genre of Afrofuturism and the broader science fiction genre. The novel is set in a world a mere ten years in the future where water is as precious as oil, communities are ravaged by substance abuse, and a political leader will gain power under a 'Make America Great' slogan."
Buzzfeed
"The Earthseed books are instructional in a way that other apocalypse fictions are not . . . they offer something beyond practical preparations: a blueprint for adjusting to uncertainty."
Slate
"Serves as a timely reminder for us to take action."
Salon.com
"Prescient . . . [Octavia Butler's] work was notable for engaging with issues such as race, gender, sexuality, power and the environment . . . Butler's stories always involve a deeper exploration of societal issues."
LA Times
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