Parable of the Sower

by Octavia E. Butler

An interesting read about an apocalyptic future where the US is on the verge of descending into complete anarchy. It is set in a future scenario, in 2027 (the book was published in 1993), where the US (and presumably other parts of the world) is suffering from disastrous climate change. This has caused whole swathes of the US to become dried out. The slightly better off in these areas are living in gated communities. The less well-off live beyond these in utter depravation with all the usual human suffering and hardship that comes with poverty and failing law and order. Through all this the heroine, who suffers from hyperempathy syndrome, writes in her journal about her visions for the future and reflections on life and god. She starts the beginning of a new religion or way of life she calls "Earthseed" as she makes her way north to more habitable areas of the US.

In comparison to the Iain M Banks novels I have been focussing on recently, this is a refreshing easy read, which I finished in about a week. Well worth the time, and I hope to soon read the continuation: Parable of the Talents. But until then I will struggle through at least one more Culture series book. I say struggle, because whilst I love the world created in the Culture series, the books can be slow going and quite complex.