Parable Series by Octavia Butler Conversation 6: Follow-up of Parables + Additional Reading of Haraway and Butler

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(Douglas Duff) #1

Parable Series by Octavia Butler Conversation 6

Follow-up of Parables + Additional Reading of Haraway and Butler

https://vimeo.com/293370613

This session is a follow-up on Butler’s Parable books. We will also include her short story “The Book of Martha” and Donna Haraway’s relevant chapter “Sowing Worlds: A Seed Bag for Terraforming with Earth Others” from her recent book Staying with the Trouble.


Additional Reading and Video

  • Butler’s “The Book of Martha”:

Information about "the Book of Martha"

We briefly discussed using this short story by Octavia Butler as a potential additional element to our Wrap-up discussion. It can also be found in her short story collection Bloodchild (though only in the 2005 edition). I am in love with this story. It gracefully corrals many of Butler’s/the Parables’ themes into a more user-friendly setting (the emotional requirements are minimal!) and gives voice to Butler; one could say that she wrote herself and her vision into this story.

In Butler’s own (after)words:

Afterword

“The Book of Martha” is my utopia story. I don’t like most utopia stories because I don’t believe them for a moment. It seems inevitable that my utopia would be someone else’s hell. So, of course, I have God demand of poor Martha that she come up with a utopia that would work. And where else could it work but in everyone’s private, individual dreams?

A summary is also on this wikipedia page.

The-Book-of-Martha_Octavia-Butler.pdf (107.1 KB)

  • Donna Haraway’s “Sowing Worlds: A Seed Bag for Terraforming with Earth Others” from her recent book Staying with the Trouble.

Haraway_Staying with the Trouble_Ch6.pdf (4.1 MB)

Seed Questions

  • What change would we want to make if we could make only one? One important change. Would we accept (the consequences of) that power, after all?
  • [insert your question on this wiki]

Upcoming sessions

All sessions will occur 10 AM- 12PM MDT; 12 PM - 2 PM EDT

In your timezone: 4:00:00 PM6:00:00 PM

Week 9 (Oct. 3rd): Parable of the Talents - Wrap-up + a short story from Butler and essay from Haraway
Week 11 (Oct. 17th): Potential follow-up with Miranda

References

For more information about Butler and her books, refer back to the [announcement thread. (https://www.infiniteconversations.com/t/octavia-butler-parable-of-the-sower-parable-of-the-talents/2207).


Bateson Reading Group - Video Dialogue - Week 1
(Katina Press) #2

I put this on my “essential” calendar schedule and hope to be there. See y’all, then!


(Douglas Duff) #3

@KPr2204: would be great to have you there. In our last discussion, we chatted a bit about the direction we would like to take in regards to the NF (next fictional? non-fictional? new find?)/SF reading. As with our ever-growing list on the Reading Suggestions thread, it was more of a brainstorming session. All ideas welcome!

Also, wanted to inform others that had been participating in the Parable group but were not present for the 9/26 session (@Dona and @johnnydavis54) of the wrap-up readings. Butler’s short story “The Book of Martha” and Donna Haraway’s aptly titled “Sowing Worlds: A Seed Bag for Terraforming with Earth Others” from her recent book Staying with the Trouble are available above (thanks @MirandaIossifidis for the Haraway chapter!). And, if you may feel overloaded by the reading and mightn’t find the time, don’t let these readings stop you! It is a wrap-up session and we are using these readings in more of a supplementary manner.


(Marco V Morelli) #4

I’ve found an archived web version of “The Book of Martha” originally published on SciFi.com. Here is a PDF version for others who would prefer to read the story than listen to :robot: recording.

The-Book-of-Martha_Octavia-Butler.pdf (107.1 KB)


(Marco V Morelli) #5

Damn. That’s gotta be one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. A perfect ending, too. To remember that you were trying to forget something but forget what that thing was. Nice.

I wonder if we could individually (or as a group) ask ourselves: What change would we want to make if we could make only one? One important change.

And I wonder if we would accept that power, after all?


(Douglas Duff) #6

This was my first impression after reading (and second, third, fourth…even fifth)! I cannot get enough of this one. I had initially thought that my impression was based on my momentum of recent days related to dream work…good to hear it makes someone else’s short list for greatest short stories ever told. I thought Martha’s request to make everyone a dreamer as the most original and realistic utopian idea.

Yes, you speak my mind here too. Expecting a solid conversation today.