Octavia Butler’s sequel to Parable of the Sower is no less prophetic than its predecessor. The language is raw and unsparing but never revels in the pain the characters go through. It is also not without its small moments of joy. The found family of Earthseed is put to the test in this book and though they do not come away unscathed they manage to survive because of their strong bonds of community and love for one another.
The story picks up five years after Parable of the Sower concluded. The community of Acorn is thriving and slowly gaining new members. Unfortunately the world outside is changing and a new president who promises to “make America great again” has set his sights on anyone who does not conform to his white Christian standards. It’s not long before Acorn is attacked and its residents are put through a worse hell than any of them can imagine. Somehow through all this Lauren manages to continue to write and journal her experiences. Alongside this narrative is a new one; that of her child. This person has a very different view of Lauren and Earthseed for reasons that will become obvious as the story continues.
Like the first book, Parable of the Talents can be difficult to read. Our main characters’ experiences are brutal and ugly. But as the world we currently live in shifts to look like Octavia Butler’s imagined future, this book and its predecessor are as essential as Orwell and Atwood.