In honor of Black History Month, books by and about people from across the black Diaspora will be featured at various times on The Writers’ Block blog.
The first selection is Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler; it is the second book of what was meant to be a trilogy in the Earthseed series.
For those that aren’t familiar with her or her work, Butler was the first African-American woman to truly break ground in the science-fiction field. Through compelling science-fiction stories and novels she examined many areas of life including gender, race, class, science, religion, spirituality and the various meanings of power; she also examined the possibilities of other worlds, other beings, and humanity’s possible place in such environments. Octavia E. Butler received multiple awards including the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant and both the Hugo and Nebula awards for science-fiction. She passed away in February of 2006.
About the book:
Parable of the Talents continues the story of Lauren Olamina, a young woman coming up in an impoverished America in the not-to-distant future. In the first book, Parable of the Sower, she began to form her own religion. In this book, the religion and Lauren Olamina’s leadership abilities take full shape as she strives to create a new community and build again, despite multiple conflicts. Unlike the first book, which was told from Olamina’s point of view, Talents is told in first person primarily through Olamina’s journals and from the perspective of her estranged daughter.
Ms. Butler spent much time studying world religions and philosophy to put together the book and the fictional religion, Earthseed, presented in Parable of the Talents. With astounding grace and masterful command of language, she presents multifaceted characters and situations in an eerily familiar, yet vastly different, America. It takes more than one reading to fully absorb the impact of this best-selling, award-winning book, and it’s suggested that you have lighter fare waiting to be read in the weeks after you’ve completed Parable of the Talents.