All posts by John Tjartjalis

Community in Parable of Talents and Andrea Smith’s Conquest.

While reading excerpts from Books of the Living, the idea of how people should act together as a community really struck me. Lauren truly lived by that mentality because she would gather everyone in Acorn for a weekly meeting and whenever something was proposed, all would discuss it. Objections would be heard out, and there would be discussions and votes.

In small communities, she believed, people are more accountable to one another. Serious misbehavior is harder to get away with, harder even to begin when everyone who sees you knows who you are, where you live, who your family is, and whether you have any business doing what you’re doing. (171)

This idea about communities reminds me of Andrea Smith’s Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, specifically how we must work as a community to make a new justice system apart from jails, because jails are just growing bigger and there is, at times, no true justice. It’s not a good justice system. One proposed idea was something like Olamina’s–accountability, but this is something that would only work in small communities without much travel. Continue reading Community in Parable of Talents and Andrea Smith’s Conquest.

Butler Called It

“Oh, God, there you go again. You’ve always got a disaster up your sleeve.” – Joanne Garfield, Parable of the Sower

While reading Parable of the Sower, I couldn’t help but think this statement is the perfect way of portraying how I felt about our latest Butler piece. She has a knack for giving us some bleak futures to look forward to, as she refuses to let us go on like the Joannes of the world. She is warning us, and a warning is exactly what we need.  Continue reading Butler Called It

Getting Over the Human Identity

“’Human beings fear difference,’ Lilith had told him once. ‘Oankali crave difference. Humans persecute their different ones, yet they need them to give themselves definition and status. Oankali seek difference and collect it. They need it to keep themselves from stagnation and overspecialization. If you don’t understand this, you will. You’ll probably find both tendencies surfacing in your own behavior.’ And she had put her hand on his hair. ‘When you feel a conflict, try to go the Oankali way. Embrace difference.’” (Adulthood Rites p. 329)

Why do we fear change so much? As I read through Butler’s Xenogenesis  I can’t help but see the foolishness of how the human race fears difference and change. The resisters are a prime example of this foolishness. Their only reason they have to oppose mating with the Oankali is a desire for racial purity and fear of being different. This resistance isn’t a unique idea to science fiction. Continue reading Getting Over the Human Identity

Doro ain’t Dead

            This is mostly just a mixture of wishful thinking and denial, but I want to believe that Doro is still kicking. I felt a bond with Doro. Whether it was because he’s been with us from the beginning, or whether I sympathized with his cause, I came out of Mind of my Mind refusing to believe that his death was true. After today’s group discussions I learned that at least some of us share that same sentiment. Continue reading Doro ain’t Dead

Religion in the Wild Seed

While reading Conversations with Octavia Butler, Butler discussed how most science fiction novels deal with religion. She begins by explaining, “…science fiction tends not to deal with religion, and when it does deal with it, it’s with contempt. Science fiction seems more interested in machines than in people. It tends to dismiss religion.” 9 She goes on by wishing that the human race could outgrow religion and depend more on ethical systems that did not involve “the Big Policeman in the sky.” Right away I thought about how this idea is presented in Wild Seed. Continue reading Religion in the Wild Seed

Utopian Thinking

Until today, I’ve been having trouble choosing a topic to blog about. I’ve been meticulously going through each topic that popped into my head until I came upon one that really got me thinking. When the professor gave us questions to think about at the end of class, I knew exactly which one would be my topic. The question was “What are the gains and losses of utopian thinking?” Continue reading Utopian Thinking