Thursday, August 31, 2023

#243 / 2024 Is Coming Up Quick


Parable of the Sower is a 1993 speculative fiction novel by American writer Octavia E. Butler. Beginning in 2024, it is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth heavily affected by climate change, social inequality, and corporate greed. The novel follows Lauren Olamina, a young woman who can feel the pain of others and becomes displaced from her home... Parable of the Sower was the winner of multiple awards, including the 1994 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and has been adapted into an opera and a graphic novel. Parable of the Sower has influenced music and essays on social justice as well as climate change. In 2021, it was picked by readers of the New York Times as the top science fiction nomination for the best book of the last 125 years.
As the above Wikipedia description makes clear, the "speculative fiction novel," Parable of the Sower, sounds less like "fiction" than it sounds like "real life." Butler's book was published in 1993, twenty years ago. Now, it has taken shape as a "congregational opera." 
You can get a feeling for the opera by clicking the link to the YouTube video. You can read all about the opera (paywall policies permitting) by clicking on this link, which will take you to a New York Times article. The Times' article documents a discussion between Salamishah Tillet, a contributing critic for The Times,' and Toshi Reagon, who created the opera with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, a social activist who was a founding member of Sweet Honey In The Rock.
I don't have much time for traveling, and I am ever more cognizant of the global warming impacts of airplane flights, but I really would like to know if this opera has any answers for us, as we confront the realities imposed by global warming and economic inequality. New York City is all the way across the country. I may have to read the book. 

Sometimes, literature (and music) do have answers to our questions. Sometimes, they can help us decide what to do. Sometimes, they have suggestions worth thinking about. 
I am definitely looking for suggestions. 2024 is coming up quick!

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