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    90s Post Apocalyptic Mold Breaker

    Post-apocalyptic stories have gotten too cliche for me. I didn't realize Parable of the Sower would be post-apocalyptic (or at least apocalyptic) when I picked it up, but it turned out much better than the stuff that gave me burn-out. Still, I'm trying to figure out what exactly sets it apart. There's economic collapse, strong prepper themes, and people struggling to survive when so many others have yielded to baser instincts. There's a made-up religion, though not a supernatural one. It's more belief about survival born out by the life of the protagonist, Lauren. Her conviction that any sort of an actual god doesn't make sense drives her, while she creates a god out of change at the same time. Not a being, but a concept. Then there's the element that makes the story stand out — hope. Lauren gathers people around her not so much because Earthseed (her religion) is such an amazing thing, but because she's a good and charismatic leader, and because she is contagiously hopeful. Earthseed is named such partly because she dreams of humanity going to the stars. Her fellow travelers say that's ridiculous, but I see them catching that hope subconsciously and following her because of it. All this is tied together by Octavia Butler's masterful writing. She found the way to write that pulls complex themes and issues together with plot and character in a deceptively easy-to-read story. I'll definitely be reading more from her.

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