Saturday, October 18, 2003

Every now and then I have to read some science fiction to remind myself why I don't read it regularly. It's odd to think that I used to read it quite frequently as a teenager, but I believe this was because I had not yet discovered that there was such a thing as the fantasy genre. And I will admit that there is some science fiction that I do enjoy, mostly Ray Bradbury's short stories, but for the most part I find it difficult to stay interested in tales of the future, since I have not yet read one that seemed to me believable. I can't believe that people could change enough to allow the sort of apocalyptic worlds such as the Matrix or even the Global Community, and I certainly don't believe in any sort of utopia; rather, it seems that life will continue much as it always has.

Anyway, this may be a slightly drunken ramble, and I will continue to my main point, which is that Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower had little to distinguish it from any other apocalyptic science fiction except for the "God is Change" religion. Of course, that was also the boring aspect of the book. I can't decide if the scripture developed by the heroine is actually a belief of the author, or if Butler was simply trying to imagine what a woman in these circumstances might turn to in her need for meaning. Either way, I kept hoping that Lauren and her compatriots would in fact meet their goal of colonizing another planet, but instead they made their excrutiatingly long journey along the California coast, avoiding the pyromaniac drug addicts to reach a place where they might possibly have a chance of building a community. Dull, sadly, and yet I read it with unusual dedication. Perhaps it was simply the expectation that surely, at some point, something had to happen, but sadly all that happened was that I finished the book.

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