Top positive review
A must-read by an unsung prophet!
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2017
Forget 1984, Butler's Earthseed series are the books one should read to get insight into our world today. Written in the mid-1990's about the 2020's and 2030's they tell the story of a world not unlike the one we live in today. Corporate influence is suborning and even sublating government authority. A dissolute population turning inward with drugs and virtual entertainment and outward with violence and suspicion towards the 'other'. Those who can, build walls to keep the 'other' out. Sometimes the walls work, but inevitably they fail.
Amid all this two leaders arise: one, a demagogue playing on the nation's fears and religious sensitivities promising to 'make America great again' (the author's words in 1993, mind you) convinces a large swath of the population to turn against those who don't conform even as his 'Crusaders' commit atrocities in his name (but never of course with his *official* sanction).
The other is a young, very precocious black woman with a vision to transcend human misery and build a community to seek humankind's Destiny. Barely escaping with her life when her once solid middle-class neighborhood is overrun by a violent gang, she sets off on a trek through a country that is much like ours if things were just a little more desperate, a little more divided, and a lot less caring. It is a stark portrait made even more ominous by being entirely possible and exposing a lot about us as a society we may not care to confront. These books aren't so much a portrait as a mirror.
If there is a weak spot, it's that Olaimina is too obviously an author avatar, but then again this *is* Butler's philosophy and much of her personal experience laid bare. It is the closest thing to an autobiography of the notoriously private author as we are likely to see nearly 10 years after her death. It provides a warning...and, perhaps, a pathway out.