Black Sci-fi hive, assemble! We have yet another confirmation of an adaptation based on the late, great Octavia Butler’s work.
On Monday, Deadline reported that acclaimed director Garrett Bradley (Time) will be helming a film adaptation of Butler’s acclaimed 1993 novel Parable of the Sower, with A24 recently acquiring the rights.
That means we’re now at a holy trifecta of Butler screen adaptations led by Black women—last year year, news went out that Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY was set to produce an adaptation of Dawn (with actor-director Victoria Mahoney directing) and earlier this month, Janicza Bravo (Zola) was confirmed to direct the upcoming TV series based on Kindred. Additionally, singer, songwriter, guitarist and activist Toshi Reagon adapted Parable of the Sower into “a congregational opera,” which made its world premiere at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in 2017.
Let’s get into the novel’s synopsis via Goodreads:
In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.
Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.
Uhhhh, sounds familiar?! I’m pretty sure—in the past year alone—we’ve all uttered some sort of omen-esque apocalyptic murmings. Hell, we’re actually ahead of schedule. Yikes. Climate change is very real and the social impact on Black folks is even more real.
Speaking of 2020, this “give Octavia Butler her overdue flowers” energy has been rumbling on another level since September, when her work (Parable of the Sower) finally made the New York Times’ bestseller list. It took nearly 50 years for her work to appear on that much-coveted list, by the way, and it was a lifelong dream of Butler’s. Butler was also the first-ever science fiction writer to receive a Macarthur “Genius” Grant.
As for Bradley, in case you don’t know her (yet)...you should probably get to know her. She won the Directing Award in the 2020 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary competition for her documentary short Time, which was later nominated for an Academy Award. You probably also saw her name in the credits for the recent documentary, Naomi Osaka, which chronicles the professional and personal journey of the young superstar athlete.
Remember Bradley’s name—I’m predicting you’re about to hear it more often.