Gibson is without doubt a genius and a fortune teller - and his predictive abilities make me wonder if we ourselves are living in the stubb belongingGibson is without doubt a genius and a fortune teller - and his predictive abilities make me wonder if we ourselves are living in the stubb belonging to a continua enthusiast with a direct line to Gibson.
I enjoyed the dual-narrative, even if I sometimes (ok, often) wanted to box Wilf about the ears. The Peripheral was so fast it was hard to keep up at times, and perhaps because of this the ending felt a little abrupt. I would like to have found out more about machinations that set the whole affair in motion, and a couple of characters seemed to fade out towards the end. Despite these shortcomings, this was another enjoyable read from the master of near-future tech.
Now I want to go buy myself a 3D printer......more
A perfectly believable near-future dystopia set in a drought-ravaged South West USA. The 'United' part of USA disintegrating as the states fight an inA perfectly believable near-future dystopia set in a drought-ravaged South West USA. The 'United' part of USA disintegrating as the states fight an increasingly dirty battle for water access and to stem the flow of climate refugees, fleeing northward to where it still rains.
This was a compelling read. Brutal without being completely hopeless (I'm looking at you McCarthy) and characters that grow on you, however unexpectedly....more
When Butler peered into the the future, the window she used must have been much the same as that Cormac McCarthy would find some years later writing TWhen Butler peered into the the future, the window she used must have been much the same as that Cormac McCarthy would find some years later writing The Road. However, while McCarthy's take was unrelentingly bleak, Butler gives us room for hope.
Parable of the Sower follows the story of Lauren Olamina, a teenager living in a poor walled community in a post-financial collapse Southern California. When the community is destroyed (an event that she had predicted and been prepared for, despite the 'head-in-the-sand' approach of the people she knew), she starts walking north, in search of space to make a better life.
All the big themes of climate change, racism, gendered violence and the broken social contract provide the backdrop to the story, but in many ways, they are just that. The forward propulsion is provided by Earthseed, the religion that Lauren is creating (she would say 'discovering'). The central tenent "God is Change", that each of us shapes and is shaped by God and that we should not live our lives passively buffeted by events, gives Lauren the motivation to move forward, collecting friends and disciples.
Judging by other reviews I have read, Earthseed is frequently polarising to readers - and I think that people assume a relationship between Earthseed and Butler that says more about themselves than the author. Some readers seem to feel that Butler was using the book as a means of promoting Earthseed (thus assuming it formed part of her own belief system). I found that there was much comfort and many principles to live by in Earthseed, and that the final destiny - the colonisation of space- was 'crazy-cult-talk'. As a result I assumed that Earthseed was equally fictitious for Butler - and indeed many of her characters mirror this scepticism.
My only real beef was with Lauren's hyperempathy - the sharing of physical sensations (for the most part, pain) that she perceives others as feeling. Such an interesting idea, so terribly executed. It very rarely drove the plot or any other aspects of the story and probably belonged in a different book altogether. And WHY could she prevent herself sharing pain if she couldn't see the injury, but she couldn't help sharing peoples orgasms, even in the dark? Such a tiny plot-hole but one I just couldn't get past.
- Butler is frequently compared with Le Guin, and probably lacks some of the subtlty and polish of the latter. However, she has created here a perfectly terrifying and perfectly believable near-future that will keep you thinking well past the last page.