Exclusive Preview: Octavia E. Butler’s Prescient Parable Books Get Gorgeous Reissue

by David Canfield
FROM: Entertainment Weekly

UntitledOne of the most important and groundbreaking science-fiction authors of her time, Octavia E. Butler is headed back to bookstores.

EW can exclusively announce that Butler’s two prescient Parable books are set to be reissued by Grand Central Publishing, beginning with Parable of the Sower. This dystopian classic of terror and hope centers on a teenage girl trying to survive in an all-too-real future, in which unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos and not even gated communities are safe. Originally published in 1993, its themes resonate strongly today; its sequel, Parable of the Talents, will be reissued later in the year.

EW has an exclusive preview of Parable of the Sower, in the form of a gorgeous cover reveal and the debut of a new introduction written by N.K. Jemisin, the award-winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy. Check it out below. The new edition of Parable of the Sower will be published on April 30.

N.K. Jemisin’s Foreword to Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler

THREE READS                                                                                                                              

There’s power in threes. The rule of three, we call it in the writing world: repeat a word or phrase or plot element three times in order to give it meaning. Two repetitions isn’t enough to establish pattern recognition; four repetitions and the mind gets bored. Three is the sweet spot.

It took me three tries to get what Octavia Butler was trying to do with Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. I think. I’m still not sure. But I’ve now read these books three times, at three very different points in my life, and each reading has shown me just how powerfully prescient Butler was. The first read took place sometime in my mid-20s, as I struggled through grad school; the second was in my mid-30s, in the early years of my professional writing career; the third was just a few months ago as of this writing, so not long after I turned forty-six.

The mid-20s read would’ve been a few years after Parable of the Sower debuted in 1993. I’d known about the books since they came out, of course, but my earliest attempts to read Sower were bounce-offs. I was used to Butler’s more overtly science-fictional premises: post–nuclear apocalypse aliens (the Xenogenesis/Lilith’s Brood books), time travel (Kindred), or telepathy and immortality (the Patternist/Seed to Harvest books). In contrast to these, the Parables featured little in the way of scientific or technological advancements or out-of-this-world what-ifs. The books seemed to “merely” be set in the future. Read Rest of Article Here


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