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Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler

January 26 - March 2, 2021
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (six sessions)


“The world is full of painful stories. Sometimes it seems as though there aren’t any other kind and yet I found myself thinking how beautiful that glint of water was through the trees.”
Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

When the unimaginable is occurring, how do we navigate the chaos? When violence is rampant and further disasters loom, where might we find guidance? Perhaps to books that have imagined the potential dystopias that we now seem to be approaching, books like The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin and Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. In these two science fiction novels we might find hope—not as naive optimism in the face of such horrors, but a hope that comes from humans surviving in all their beauty despite some of the worst conditions imaginable.
The Dispossessed, winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1974, explores a reality where a population of humans have abandoned a capitalist planet for an anarchist society on a nearby moon. The novel follows a physicist that breaks from the tradition of his anarchist homeworld by visiting the capitalist planet to see if the evils of that society are truly as bad as he’s been taught.
Parable of the Sower, a 1994 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, takes place on a dystopic Earth sometime in the 2020s after our familiar society has been devastated by radical global climate change, racist violence, and capitalism. Looking to the stars, this novel’s protagonist, a young woman from Los Angeles, wonders if the hope for our species lies in embracing the inevitable chaos of change. Over this six-week seminar, we will explore these texts by holding them in juxtaposition, seeing how they inform and contradict each other, learning from this geniuses how we might survive the most difficult times.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Delve Access Program
We want Delve seminars to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. We are happy to offer an Access Program which provides reduced tuition to qualifying participants. Our Access Program offers Delve seminar registrations at a sliding scale amount of $45-$100 per registration. Most Delves have at least one access spot available. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you would like to take a Delve at the Access Rate


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Benjamin McPherson Ficklin

Benjamin McPherson Ficklin is the author of the chapbook 'A Cynical View of Dystopian America.' Their work has been published in Lomography, wildness, Ursus Americanus Press, STORGY, Clackamas Literary Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Autre, Oregon Voice Magazine, and recognized in Best Small Fiction 2019 and Best American Essays 2020.
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