Parable of the Talents: Book Review

Recommended by my creative writing teacher (since I found myself writing more dystopia's), This is the second book of a series, I have not read the first book, it the story picks up well.

Title: Parable of the Talents Author: Octavia E. Butler Published:1998

Title: Parable of the Talents
Author: Octavia E. Butler


We are taken into the lives of Olamina, the leader of a new cult called Earthseed; and Larkin, her daughter who was taken from her and placed in the care of a good Christian family. This is the second part to Parable of the Sower and Larkin takes us through her mother’s journey as she goes looking for her long lost daughter.


If you’re looking for a vision of where the world is heading in the next 50 years, this is a good start. Butler plays around with world-wide issues (including war, recreational drugs, disordered religions)  to create a dystopia world.

The novel is told through Larkin’s voice as she flashes back to tell the story of her birth mother Olamina through a series of diaries. Both voices are strong and show the difference in a generation, as Olamina fights against the new change by creating a religion called Earthseed and Larkin embraces the changes as if there are no other choices.Olamina shows how far passion, for an idea, can travel and the sacrifices made in order to fuel the passion.

Butler cleverly plants her ideas of the future by introducing changes which could happen; for instance the reference to a cure to Alzheimer’s, or an out of the body womb which reproduces human offspring’s. Both are ideas which society yearns for to create comfortable living, however Butler shows how such invention can be easily exploited by a greedy mankind.

This novel explores just how dark mankind can be, we are taken to a corrupt government, whereby the leader has no boundaries on how he converts the country to believing in him; we come face to face with soldiers heartless enough to tear families apart; and we see the desperate acts woman such as Olamina must take in order to survive.


Earthseed is used as a great example of human hope as Olamina refuses to give up in her religion.

I would recommend this book to anyone, it is a mind opener and has had my mind ticking of the future. At the same time it tests our values as individual beings and how what we believe is the route to so many human actions.

About Piarve (84 Articles)
The business brains of Fashion Plugin, with a background in events and marketing and a love for forward thinking fashion, street art and red velvet cake.

2 Comments on Parable of the Talents: Book Review

  1. “If you’re looking for a vision of where the world is heading in the next 50 years” — is this what this novel is really about? predicting? Is SF only prediction? Or, is this more a commentary on the present than a viable future? These are ALL current issues. I find SF is more intriguing as a lens on the present, and present concerns, then any random extrapolation about the future.

    • I agree with you.

      Personally with SF or dytopia universe themes I see the authors vision of the future based on present events. At the same time they reflect the behaviour of humans/ current issues, and what’s interesting is those behaviours never change, just the external circumstance.

      I like the phrase ‘lens of the present’, it captures this novel (and those similar) accurately.

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