A Dystopia both Topical and Firmly Rooted in History
Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower begins in a suburb of LA in the year 2024 with the United States on the brink of collapse. California’s economy has crumbled in the face of endless drought and soaring water prices. A new drug called pyromania is ripping through the US, its addicts setting everything from people to neighborhoods alight, creating wildfires that decimate cities. Public institutions such as police and firefighters have been privatized, and extortion and police brutality have eroded any trust the public once had in those institutions. Unemployment is the new norm regardless of education level and class divides are larger than ever. The wealthy live in gated and protected mansions, the upper-middle class either sequestered within heavily fortified suburbs or privatized communities: factory towns that turn denizens into indentured slaves. The majority of citizens live on the street—constantly under threat of assault, rape, and cannabalism.