Thursday, September 29, 2016

Butler's Parables Series: A Fiction We Don't Want To Live In

So the question put in front of me today: what fictional character would you like to be?   There's been that meme of late to define yourself with three fictional characters, and I'm always at a loss with that sort of thing.  I don't know, I just don't think along those lines.  
But-- and forgive me for getting a bit political-- I know one fictional setting that I don't want to live in, and that's Octavia Butler's Parables duology.
If you haven't read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, a quick summary: it's set in a near future dystopia, where the American government has effectively collapsed to privatization and a fearmongering leadership.  And as opposed to the hip dystopias of Hunger Games or Divergent, this one is disturbingly plausible.  At the time I read it, it felt like a place that we might actually reach, it felt more real from its lack of rules or rigidly defined divisions.  Instead, all the divisions are just the usual Fear of the Other-- someone who isn't one of mine can't be trusted.
It's a frightful vision of the future, and I hope it's not a future that anyone would want to live in.  There is hope in the series, hope spawned from attempts at unity and empathy.  But the point of the series is how fear and selfishness tries to squash hope, unity and empathy.
Choose a bright future.  Choose hope and empathy.  Because that's where I want to live.
And read those two books, because they are excellent.