Teaser Tuesday: “Earthseed”

So far, in 2021, I’m back to reading the books on my eReader in the order in which I acquired them, which means at the moment I’m excavating the sedimentary layers of 2017. Remember 2017? It was a bygone era when everyone still liked Game of Thrones and people were able to leave the house and travel just about anywhere they wanted and, apparently, I picked up a lot of bad books, mostly, I think, from BookBub and Amazon Prime First Reads*.

A long run of books I didn’t like. (The green stars are my ratings)

As you can see, aside from a book by the always-reliable Catherynne M. Valente and a dark take on “Alice in Wonderland” that was good but not quite as good as the previous installment, there’s a lot of stuff in there that ranged from so-so to “life’s too short for me to keep reading this”.

Anyway, this week I’m reading something I acquired in 2017 that is not a bad book: Earthseed, by the late Octavia Butler**:

I’m not sure two books actually constitutes a “series”, but okay.

Earthseed is a novel set in a dystopian near-future America in which the government has basically collapsed and ordinary citizens—most of them unemployed, because there are few jobs—live in hardscrabble walled communities where they have to grow their own food and make their own clothes and build/repair their own houses out of what they can scrounge. And those ordinary citizens are the lucky ones; the unlucky ones live on the streets or out in the canyons and tend to starve to death and/or get eaten by stray dogs, which are strays because no one but the very wealthy can afford to buy things like pet food anymore. And when does all this take place? Well, when the book begins, it’s 2024***. So, uh, make of that what you will.

I preached a sermon about perseverance if an unordained kid can be said to preach a sermon. No one was going to stop me. Cory was the only one who might have tried, but Cory was in a kind of walking coma. She wasn’t doing anything she didn’t have to do.

So I preached from Luke, chapter eighteen, verses one through eight: the parable of the importunate widow. It’s one I’ve always liked. A widow is so persistent in her demands for justice that she overcomes the resistance of a judge who fears neither God nor man. She wears him down.

Moral: The weak can overcome the strong if the weak persist. Persisting isn’t always safe, but it’s often necessary.

Octavia Butler, Earthseed

Cheerful, no? Between this and the recently-watched Assassination Nation, I could swear I’m consuming media lately that’s just a slightly more extreme version of current events.

Wife: “Why do you watch this stuff?”
Me: “I don’t know. I might as well start watching Black Mirror again.”

Maybe while I’m at it I should re-watch Contagion, just to see a pandemic that goes a little bit worse than the current one … 🤔

Now, normally with a Teaser Tuesday this would be where I’d say something like “meanwhile, editing continues on such-and-such book I’m working on”, but since I’ve put the editing on hold for a while in order to go back to more frequently chronicling the amazing ridiculous adventures of our pets, I guess I won’t be doing that this time. But feel free to go have a look at what’s happening with Lulu, Charlee, Chaplin, and their imaginary friends, and just remember: What goes on over there is NOTHING AT ALL like what goes on in my novels …

* Amazon Prime First Reads is a service where, if you’re a Prime member, you get to pick one or two free pre-release eBooks from a short list of titles. I have not had good luck with these books. In fact, some months, I can’t find one that I even want to read, let alone one that looks like it might be any good.
** Octavia Butler passed away in 2006, apparently as the result of a stroke which caused her to fall outside her home and strike her head on her cobblestone driveway, causing a fatal head injury, which was, I think, item #2 on my list of things that could have happened to me but didn’t during The Event.
*** The book was written in 1993, apparently as dictated by a time travel from a few years in our current future.

2 thoughts on “Teaser Tuesday: “Earthseed”

  1. Well done with your reading list, James. The number of low votes you’ve handed out might have sent lesser readers (me) to other sources. Though Octavia Butler is someone I’m looking to read more of, too, so perhaps hopes of stumbling onto something as good is enough incentive… Nice review.
    Thumbs up on the chronicling project, loving that 🙂


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