The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is a dystopian novel that’s far more realistic than most. Economic downturn has forced communities to hunker down and maybe hope for the best, while drugs and deprivation force people who have even less to descend upon the people who have a little bit. And in all this, a teenage girl with overdeveloped empathy (she feels injuries in other people) is building her own way of seeing and being in the world.

It’s hard to take a lot of other fanciful dystopia at all seriously when this was done so well.

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