When I read Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower in preparation for John Green’s latest season of Crash Course: Literature, I was first drawn by the Biblical parallel in the title. In what way was this going to be like the parable of the sower? Continue reading
The Handmaid’s Tale has been much talked about ever since the famous novel became a miniseries on Hulu. Like any good dystopian story, the novel wasn’t meant to ask “what if” about the future so much as “how so” about the present. Dystopian stories warn us of what might happen tomorrow. Great dystopian stories plumb deeper, asking what it is about us now that could bring us there.
I had not heard of Cloud Atlas until the trailer for the film. I immediately looked up the book and was interested. When a friend told me she had begun reading it, I quickly followed along.
David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is what some describe as a Russian doll of a novel, epic in scope and universal in theme. The story is broken into six different stories that weave together in connection. In terms of history, it’s a tale of “There and Back Again,” with fictional characters telling their story in layers unawares, from historical journal to epistolary romance to political thriller to farcical biopic pitch to digital recording to oral history.