Another Octavia Butler Adaptation Is Coming With Parable Of The Sower
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Another Octavia Butler Adaptation Is Coming With Parable Of The Sower From A24

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BY July 31, 2021

It’s a good time to be a fan of the late, great Octavia Butler. We have seen a slew of adaptations in the works for several years based on her books. Now we  can add one more to that list, but this time it’s a bit different. All of the current Butler adaptations are set to become television shows. However, we have news this week that her popular and prescient novel The Parable of the Sower is will see adaptation for film from A24. Director Garrett Bradley is also onboard for Parable of the Sower. This project marks Bradley’s first major feature film, after several highly acclaimed documentaries including Time and the recent Naomi Osaka. 

Parable of the Sower And The Curse Of Empathy

Parable of the Sower Adaptation Image via Hachette Books

It may be that Bradley’s documentary style will come in useful for Parable of the Sower.  After all, the novel has some eerily prescient real-world parallels. The novel is set in a future dystopia. One that looks uncomfortably close to our present-day society. It also deals heavily with themes of inequality, climate change, racism, and religious extremism. The novel is the first of a duology. Butler published these novels in the 1990’s, but she uncannily foresaw the rise of of demagogue who promised to “Make America Great” in the sequel Parable of the Talents.

Parable of the Sower unfolds its story through journal entries made by a teenager living in this dystopian future (the year is 2024).  Lauren Oya Olamina has a rare trait called ‘hyperempathy’ where she can feel the emotions of others. This is a curse in a ruthless world full of pain and suffering. When she is forced to leave her walled-off neighborhood, she joins the flood of poverty-stricken individuals searching for a new home.

Expect Some Deep Psychological Horror In Parable of the Sower From A24

Parable of the Sower Adaptation Image via Abrams Books

Of all of Butler’s novels, Parable of the Sower might just be one of the darkest. Originally planned to be a longer series, Butler actually held off on writing the final books because they were too depressing. Unfortunately, she died before completing the series but Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents stand together very well as a complete duology. It is unclear if A24 has any plans to adapt the sequel. Or perhaps incorporate the later story into the adaptation. A24 is fairly well known for their psychological horror films like The Lighthouse and Midsomer. It seems very likely that a film adaptation of Parable of the Sower might follow in this vein.

More Octavia Butler Adaptations In The Works

Octavia Butler Octavia Butler | Image via Author’s Website

Of course this is far from the only Octavia Butler adaptation in the works. Currently, Amazon is developing a series based on Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy with Ava Duvernay at the helm. The streaming giant is also adapting Butler’s Patternmaster books, that series is being co-written by Nnedi Okorafor. And we also recently learned that FX is working on a series based on Butler’s time-traveling slave narrative Kindred.

What else is left to be the bibliography of Octavia Butler that can be adapted? I think the only full-length novel of Butler’s that has not yet been optioned for adaptation is her final book  – the vampire novel Kindred. So maybe we should anticipate that will be next.

It is certainly exciting to see so much of Butler’s work making its way to screen. It is a great way to introduce new generations of readers to this highly important author of genre fiction. We will certainly be keeping an eye on all of the Octavia Butler adaptations coming our way, including Parable of the Sower from A24.  To stay up to date on all of the latest news, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today.

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

A24AdapationsAdaptation NewsAfrofuturismMovie NewsOctavia ButlerParable of the SowerParable of the Talents

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