Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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New Introduction by TOSHI REAGON

Parable of the Talents celebrates the Butlerian themes of alienation and transcendence, violence and spirituality, slavery and freedom, separation and community, to astonishing effect, in the shockingly familiar, broken world of 2032. Long awaited, Parable of the Talents is the continuation of the travails of Lauren Olamina, the heroine of 1994's Nebula-Prize finalist, bestselling Parable of the Sower. It is told in the voice of Lauren Olamina's daughter—from whom she has been separated for most of the girl's life—with sections in the form of Lauren's journal. Against a background of a war-torn continent, and with a far-right religious crusader in the office of the U.S. presidency, this is a book about a society whose very fabric has been torn asunder, and where the basic physical and emotional needs of people seem almost impossible to meet.

As Ms. Butler herself explained, "Parable of the Sower was a book about problems. I originally intended that Parable of the Talents be a book about solutions. I don't have the solutions, so what I've done here is looked at the solutions that people tend to reach for when they're feeling troubled and confused."

And yet, human life, oddly, thrives in this unforgettable novel. And the young Lauren of Parable of the Sower here blossoms into the full strength of her womanhood, complex and entirely credible.

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“This work stands out as a testament to the author's enormous talent, and to the human spirit.”

“Butler sets the imagination free, blending the real and the possible.”

blog — March 02

The President Who Already Made America Great Again



He’s irascible. He’s disingenuous. He’s a demagogue, a rabble-rouser and a hypocrite. He condemns hate crimes, but in such mild language that his condemnations stand as tacit approval. He has charisma and clear blue eyes. He wants to Make America Great Again. You all know who we’re talking about. It’s President . . . Jarret?

You may have heard that a prophetic dystopian novel from 1998 anticipated the Trump Presidency. It's been noted by Fusion, The Huffington Post, Bitch Media, Esquire, Book Riot, and even Business Insider. Well that novel, Octavia Butler’s magnificent The Parable of the Talents, is now back on the shelves, in a beautiful re-issue featuring cover art from Paul Lewin and a new introduction by Toshi Reagon. We’re also re-issuing the first book of the duology, The Parable of the Sower, with a new introduction from Gloria Steinem. And for your enjoyment, or horror, which ever seems more appropriate, here is a paragraph illustrating the Jarret/Trump parallels below:

“Jarret condemns the burnings, but does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear. As for the beatings, the tarring and feathering, and the destruction of “heathen houses of devil-worship,” he has a simple answer: “Join us! Our doors are open to every nationality, every race! Leave your sinful past behind, and become one of us. Help us to make America great again.” He’s had notable success with this carrot-and-stick approach. Join us and thrive, or whatever happens to you as a result of your own sinful stubbornness is your problem. His opponent Vice President Edward Jay Smith calls him a demagogue, a rabble-rouser, and a hypocrite. Smith is right, of course, but Smith is such a tired, gray shadow of a man. Jarret, on the other hand, is a big, handsome, black-haired man with deep, clear blue eyes that seduce people and hold them. He has a voice that’s a whole-body experience . . . .”—From Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents

PS: Both these books are 25% off list price when you buy them direct from our site!

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A writer who imagined the dark future we have chosen for ourselves in book after book, Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) is recognized as among the bravest and smartest of late twentieth century fiction writers. A 1995 MacArthur Genius Award winner, Butler transcended the science fiction category even as she was awarded that community’s top prizes, including the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Not merely a prophet of dystopia, Butler also wrote of the ways human beings might subvert their dismal destiny. “I write about people who do extraordinary things,” Butler has said, “it just turns out that it was called science fiction.” Her novels and stories have reached readers of all ages, all races, and all religious and sexual persuasions. For years the only prominent African-American woman writing science fiction, Butler has encouraged many others to follow in her path. The Octavia E. Butler Scholarship was established in her memory in 2006, providing scholarships for young people of color to attend the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, where Butler herself began writing science fiction.