kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
I have just finished this series, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, and goodness but it does a lot of things with change and motion and theology that speak to me on a very deep level.

I find it very difficult to believe in the writing style -- I... have yet to knowingly meet a teenage girl who writes like that in her diary, okay -- but provided I ignore the conceit of diaries (and my exasperation with implausible world-building -- if food's so hard to come by where in hell are they getting enough cotton to make new jeans from) I am incredibly invested, and I want more, because of course I do, and perhaps I'm going to go and find a bunch of fic (I feel a little ashamed that the fic I want in the first instance is fix-it fic, as though that somehow erodes or elides nuance and complexity; in fact, as we perfectly well know your blue-eyed boys [MCU] is fix-it fic and in no way overlooks struggle and sacrifice and heartbreak).

And it is also sociologically fascinating to have read these books for the first time now, in 2017, when they were written in the 1990s and set in a near-future 2020s-2030s dystopia, in the context of current US politics and racism. The two things that really jumped out at me: Butler uses the term "thugs" in a way that is... clearly not consistent with the highly racialised and racist way it shows up in current usage; and the second book features, as a significant plot point, a fascist evangelical sexist US presidential candidate who's elected on a platform of "making America great again", yes, verbatim, complete with political adherents who go around doling out violence against groups said candidate "merely" speaks negatively about. There's a very strange sense of vertigo, or deja vu, or something, and it settles uncomfortably alongside the deeply weird technology level -- no mobile phones in the way we think of them, but tetanus innoculations available as skin patches.

Recommended, I think, but with the caveat that it has every single content note, to first approximation. If you'd like more details, please ask.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-05 11:25 pm (UTC)
sylvaine: Dark-haired person with black eyes & white pupils. (Default)
From: [personal profile] sylvaine
Holy crap, those spoilery notes. Make America Great Again is a fairly obvious slogan, I suppose, but still.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 01:23 am (UTC)
korafox: What the hell is going on? (phoenix wright)
From: [personal profile] korafox
Yessss. I recently read the Parable of the Talents for the first time and I experienced that exact same feeling of wtf vertigo.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-07 02:06 pm (UTC)
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
From: [personal profile] brainwane
Fun fact:

In 1984, Lee Iacocca wrote a bestselling autobiography about his childhood and his immigrant parents, his time in the auto industry, and his take on public policy. Various people were encouraging him to run for public office, and he decided not to.

Chapter 27 of this book is his call for more protectionist trade policies. Chapter 28 is called "Making America Great Again" and is about rebuilding our infrastructure and our sense of national pride. Then there's an epilogue about the Statue of Liberty and how immigrants are what's made America great and how he's so proud to be part of the committee that's taking care of the Statue -- he asks for donations to help keep the torch burning bright.

I reread this book recently and saw the seeds, you know?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 12:07 am (UTC)
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
"Thugs" being really SPECIFICALLY racialized is a relatively new thing (well, beyond its original racist origins). It used to be much more consistently across-the-board classist - thugs always being poor and stupid, but readily any kind of racial background. Like Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmations were thugs. "Russian thugs" were the badguys in Bond films. That kind of thing.

It's been an interesting shift to see it very much narrow in that way. But also kind of weird. So I'm not at all surprised that writing in the 1990s, Butler's not using it that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 12:31 am (UTC)
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional

Yeah it would definitely be a bit odd!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 01:50 am (UTC)
wild_irises: (tiptree)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
Sower is the book I went to on election night; terrified, disheartened, and effectively alone, since partner was too sick to engage.

I re-read something like 50 or 75 pages, and kept it by the bed for a couple of months, but didn't pick it up again, so I didn't get to the slogan, which would have chilled me further.

Lauren's voice has always felt true to me, but now you are making me wonder ...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 03:12 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Teyla knows more than we do (sga Teyla knows)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I accepted it because she was a prophet and an empath. I believed she felt and processed things more keenly than the typical teenager, and also had the self-confidence bordering in narcissism needed to start a new religion.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-06 04:53 am (UTC)
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
From: [personal profile] sasha_feather
If you are interested, there is a great fanvid for these books:


Content notes for images of torture and violence

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-07 01:28 am (UTC)
child_of_the_air: Photo of a walkway with a concrete railing, with a small river bordered by leafless trees in the background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] child_of_the_air
I really need to read more Butler.

Also, "Make America Great Again"...really? Wow.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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