Continuing our tribute to Octavia E. Butler, the Book of the Week is Butler's Parable of the Talents. This is the sequel to Parable of the Sower, in which a determined young black woman named Lauren Olamina fights to survive a ruined future America, and ends up creating a new religion and planting the seeds of America's resurgence. In an amusing twist, the sequel Parable of the Talents is narrated by Olamina's daughter, who deeply resents that Olamina neglected her family while she was busy saving the world. You just can't please everyone.
Published in 1998, Parable of the Talents was awarded the Nebula Award for Best Novel by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The Nebula Award and the Hugo Award are the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. The writers vote to decide Nebula winners, while the fans attending the World Science Fiction Convention vote on the Hugo. Not surprisingly, the writers and fans often have different tastes, but Octavia E. Butler was one of 20 authors to date in the history of science fiction to write fiction with broad enough appeal to be multiple winners of both awards. These 20 names read like a who's who of modern science fiction. (And they all have something else in common: not one of them appears on the list of ten favorite books of Dave Itzkoff, the New York Times Book Review's new science fiction columnist. For more on this jackass, see my two previous posts on this blog.)