I’ve been saying this (along with a few other women Spec writers like LeGuin, Jesimin, Hopkinson, etc.) for a while: how have we gone through a near century of dystopias that predicted all this and still ended up in it? When you find a voice that sends shivers up your skin (whether in inspiration or horror) you should cling to it, amplify it, and tuck its lessons away in the deepest part of you that doesn’t want to hear them.
COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. and all over the world have drawn our attention to systems of inequality that sustain white supremacy, racism, and anti-Blackness as well as the wealth gap, lack of social security, and inefficient health and education systems. We are recognizing and naming injustices, but we also need to organize ourselves for collective action and sustainable community building. In their boundless wisdom, Black women like Octavia Butler have given us the blueprint. Butler’s Parable of the Sower is an excellent example of the work Black women have done to prepare us for this moment and the movement it is creating. Through her protagonist Lauren Olamina, Butler has been telling the world for decades that it was not going to last in its capitalist, racist, sexist, homophobic form for much longer. She showed us the way injustice would cause the earth to burn, and the importance of community building for survival and revolution. Through Parable of the Sower, we had a better future in our hands, but we did not listen.