Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Good heavens, didn’t see this coming: An opera based on Butler’s The Parable of the Sower

Via File 770, this:

Science fiction, black music meet in Toshi Reagon’s opera-in-progress

In the parable of the sower in the Gospels, Jesus tells his followers about different outcomes from scattering seeds. Some are cast to the side and eaten by birds, some are planted in rocky soil or among thorns and fail to grow, but the seeds sown on “good ground” will take root and provide a bounty.

Science-fiction author Octavia E. Butler called back to that allegory about the word of God with her 1993 book “Parable of the Sower,” about a young woman in an apocalyptic future America who wanders a drought-stricken landscape, planting the seeds of a new religion fueled by empathy.

Now Butler’s book is adapted into an opera that synthesizes a wide range of musical styles culled from its creators’ deep reservoir of knowledge about black music in America.

Yeah, hmm. The new religion was by far the least persuasive thing in Butler’s Parable of the Sower as far as I was concerned. SF writers often seem pretty convinced that people would mostly be quite willing to ditch their original religion and dive right into whatever brand-spankin’ new religion.their protagonist is offering. Several thousand years of recorded history suggest this is not the case.

Still. Butler. Opera isn’t something I usually like all that much . . . and this book might be too grim for me to want to encounter it in any visual form, but . . . Octavia Butler. Yeah, I’m interested.

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