In the book bin:

Parable of the Sower Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Mid-read review: The back cover blurb of this book caught my attention with it's references to a future near-apocalypse resulting from "economic and environmental neglect." Let's see, looking at our contemporary situation. . . Got environmental neglect? Check. Got economic neglect? Double check. It is even more intriguing that this book, a science fiction novel set in the 2020's, was written in 1993 by the late Octavia Butler, who died in 2006.

The first 100 pages are rather dark and more than a little depressing, depicting a world where small communities are walled off and patrolled nightly by armed community members to guard against roving bands of homeless and underworld criminals who seek to rob them of their extremely hard earned money, homes, food, or even their lives. But there are just enough hints laid out regarding the destiny of the 16-year-old female hero and the hope for the future she represents to keep the book from being a total wallow in hopelessness and pessimism.

The style of storytelling resembles Frank Herbert's "Dune" in some respects, with chapter lead-ins constructed of poems and proverbs alluding to a religion, called Earthseed. The story is told in first person by the the girl, Lauren, and is in the form of a diary written by her in a time before Earthseed came into being, and which has been annotated at some time in the future. This contributes another glimmer of hope in an otherwise grim depiction of life in the future.

I see clues in the first 1/3 of the book that lead me to suspect where the story is leading, but I hope the author has kept some surprises in reserve.

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