The Patron Saint of Black Survival


Octavia Butler.Patron Saint of Black Survival. One day, if things get really bad, there will be shrines to her by the roadsides and beneath highway overpasses. People will carry ragged copies of the Earthseed in their hip pockets as they climb through holes in fences and run from feral dogs. God is Change.

Her books were the first where it was important that Black people survive. We weren’t a threat, sent to prove the metal of the main character. We weren’t the buddy or the adviser. We were it. We were the runners; the the ones who mattered.

And Lauren Olamina, the hero of the Parable series, didn’t provide us with an easy way. There is two ways to do post apocalyptic stuff. The easiest way is to focus on an alpha protagonist. The ex soldier with the heart of gold. The dealer of righteous cruelty. The other way is to wallow in the gutter with the rest of them, because if you aren’t the alpha, then you are nothing but cannon fodder.

Lauren threaded the needle. She was so human that she made me wince, but her will to live was extraordinary. Bigger than mine, I think.