Published: November 1993 by Four Walls Eight Windows
Blurb: In California, in the year 2025, a small community is overrun by desperate scavengers, as an eighteen-year-old African-American woman sets off on foot on a perilous journey northward. By the author of Dawn.
Lauren’s personal journal style of narration in documenting her survival hooked me in. She’s a pragmatic heroine hell bent on finding a way to live despite this gritty resource ravaged world. Despite the grimness of the story, I like being immersed inside a post-apocalyptic future and the subsequent raw exploration of human survival. Lauren compiles her thoughts and experiences in a collection of writings called Earthseed. Earthseed places responsibility back into human hands rather than relying on an abstract entity. Change is the only constant in life that Lauren recognises. Adaptability evolves from there.
Lauren is honest with friends and herself as she pieces together a new world view. She also acknowledges the contradictions in her thinking. Lauren reshapes her own sense of spirituality based on trying to find what resonates as truth for her. Her frustration over how easily a belief system can be adopted and twisted in the future shows a self-aware approach to life. I will read more of Octavia E. Butler in the future for more gritty and nuanced philosophical explorations. I’ve also encountered some similar post-apocalyptic climate change influenced scifi books from the 90s such as Exodus by Julie Bertagna and He, She and It by Marge Piercy. All of which are recommended.