Parable of the Talents

Octavia E. Butler
Parable of the Talents Cover

Parable of the Talents


The psuedo-religion of Earthseed is faced with great antagonism and dissolution from the "Christian America" movement propagated by the extreme radical US president Jarrett, who is trying to reform the country into some sort of religiously intolerant and militant state.

Olamina, the founder of Earthseed, undergoes particularly extreme hardship with the death of her husband, the loss of her child, and capture and descent into slavery and brutality. This book is not for the faint-hearted and paints a very bleak picture of the future.

Butler's writing is just as engaging as ever, but I had some issues with this book that prevented a higher rating or all-out recommendation.

1) The depressive atmosphere is too severe. The central message of Earthseed is hopeful, but the hardships and hell endured by the characters is hard to endure.

2) It seems like the plot does not move forward enough from the previous book, Parable of the Sower. The events in this book could have just been added to that book without a great many pages.

3) The science fictional element is again badly under-utilized and almost absent. Olamina's phyical empathic ability (curse?) needed to be more central to the plot.

4) Anti-christianity sentiment is too thick. Butler does not need to bash Christianity to justify the merits of Earthseed (its positive points and truths are independently and strongly apparent by themselves).