“I began writing about power because I had so little.”
Octavia Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Commonly called the “MacArthur Genius Award,” these fellowships are dedicated to “celebrating and inspiring the creative potential of individuals through no-strings attached fellowships.” Butler’s creativity was unique. Blending social critique with visionary descriptions of alternate realities and possible futures both good and ill, her writing was profoundly prescient.
As you have been hearing in announcements and reading in CHA communications, we will be discussing Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower this Sunday at Holy Apostles. This novel centers on a young girl living in a dystopian future United States. She is a survivor; racially marginalized and struggling economically, she has built on the foundation of her father’s Christian faith to create at religion she names Earthseed. The central premise of her belief system is that God is Change.
No, it’s not orthodox—but the idea that the one inevitability with which we all live is a manifestation of divine energy is thought provoking. And in Butler’s imagining of what endures, she describes evolving communities of diverse individuals united in working for what is best for all. Her protagonist puts it like this:
or be divided,
By those who see you as prey.
Or be destroyed.
There’s lots more to discuss in this challenging, brilliant novel. I hope you will join us from 10-10:45 or from 12:15-1:00 this Sunday to be part of the conversation!