Episode 209: Earthseed – Books of The Living


Kathie drops by to talk about Octavia E. Butler‘s harrowing post-collapse books Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents which make up the Earthseed – Books of The Living series. Not to be confused with the 1983 novel Earthseed by Pamela Sargent . Which actually sounds like it could be adapted to be a sequel to these books, though perhaps a terrible one.

Episode Notes:

In the books, the protagonist Olamina creates a compelling religion based on a somewhat Taoist notion of  eternal change called Earthseed which, not surprisingly, has inspired people in real life to create their own organized belief systems. One is the vaguely bonkers SolSeed and another is the more acutely bonkers Terasem Movement.

We touch on some reasons why these books won’t be make into a movie or television franchise despite being full of as much brutal violence, rape and (perhaps more) consensual sex as Game of Thrones. We also reference the Every Word Spoken By A Person of Color In… videos by podcaster Dylan Maron.

Later on we talk about male and female leadership styles and how they affect society. A concept beautifully explored in this clip from the 1991 film Mindwalk.  Skip to 2:37 if it doesn’t start there, but the whole film is worth seeking out.

We also touch upon the pros and cons of religion and discuss whether or not Earthseed’s “Destiny” (colonizing the extraterrestrial worlds) is a valid goal for humanity.

Mandi mentions The Story of Stuff.

And finally, Kathie briefly mentions the universal, unconditional basic income initiative. Jakob happened to ask a resident of the city about it not too long ago.

EDIT: Matthew Fava, who gifted us our copies of the two Parable books, commented this link at Soundcloud. “This panel has some interesting conversations about hollywood and lead roles for black characters/actors…and it is all centred around reflections on Octavia.”

And while we’re at it, this is a great article on the type-casting of middle-eastern actors in Hollywood (Spoiler: they’re always terrorists).


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