Cover Image: A Few Rules for Predicting the Future

A Few Rules for Predicting the Future

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Member Reviews

Very good, it's Octavia Butler crying out loud!! Art was beautiful as well, and would be a beautiful book to display.

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A Few Rules for Predicting the Future is an illustrated essay wherein Octavia E. Butler discusses the future and it's unpredictability, the importance of looking forward, and also how we have to look at the past and the present when thinking about what is to come.

This is a great piece of work for thinkers. It is an inspirational and motivational quick read that anyone could benefit from reading. Alongside Butler's incredible prose are Manzel Bowman's stunning illustrations that really jump off the page.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nice gift for someone they care about, or for anyone currently pondering about the future!

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Octavia Butler's words like always are thought-provoking and measured, so there's no need to "review" the essay in any traditional sense. As for the book itself, I'd be very interested in getting a physical copy for its presentation, it would be a good keepsake and a gift.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy to review. Short and to the point, Butler gives the reader seemingly simple rules about predicting the future. Though short her words will stay with you- timeless, poignant, and thought provoking.

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This was an excellent little book highlighting the experiences and beliefs that impacted Octavia E. Butler's life and writing. The facets and anecdotes are powerful and evocative, and the interior artwork is stunning.

I haven't seen a physical copy, but this would make a good coffee table or waiting room book, because it is something that a person could sit with for five or ten or fifteen minutes and then think about its contents for the rest of the day. It's like a picture book directed towards adults, not children. And I love that.

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(I was able to access this book as a digital ARC through NetGalley.)

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My first foray into Octavia Butler and it was worth it. It's a beautiful publication of one of the short essays she wrote - I don't really see why it needed to be reviewed because this is a republication into essentially a coffee table book with gorgeous art.

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This was an interesting essay and I enjoyed delving into the mind of Octavia Butler. I have enjoyed a great many of her books and it's always nice to see "behind the scenes" so to speak.

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What can I say? Octavia E. Butler is a master in her craft and this is absolutely phenomenal. Octavia's writing is something that I feel can still be incredibly relevant today. I've only read two of her other works, but can't wait to read more. She's truly inspiring and reading this essay was such an intriguing time.

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Octavia Butler has taught me so much. This is not an essay I had read previously, and I love to see it organized into the format of a book. The combination of Butler's lessons alongside gorgeous Afrofuturistic artwork creates a reading experience that offers readers the chance to slow down and breathe while simultaneously learning.

I look to Butler for a chance at hope in dark times. I look to Butler to better understand how to interact with this world that I love. She reminds us that "the very act of trying to look ahead to discern possibilities and offer warnings is in itself an act of hope." I will hold onto that as I go forward in my life, and look back to her lessons to remind myself that there is hope for a just future.

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Whenever I log into NetGalley, I always check out the publishers I am auto-approved for, and I stumbled upon an essay by Octavia E. Butler that I had never read before, despite the fact that it was published in 2000. Even more staggeringly, it was clear to me that I hadn’t read anything by Butler at all.
Now, I am not in the business of making myself feel bad for not knowing about a given author. What I did feel was a unexpected sense of inspiration. Here was an author I’d never read before giving advice about our current world that felt so prescient and timely, despite it being almost 25 years old.
I cannot know for certain if I will end up reading Parable of the Sower or her other works. There is a real possibility that they may be too bleak for my reading sensibilties. However, Butler’s almost academic look into history informs her work in a real way, and her advice for predicting the future was deeply intuitive.
It should surprise no one that the first rule was ‘Learn from the Past’, followed by these ones.
Respect the Law of Consequences
Be Aware of Your Perspective
Count on the surprises
I sincerely appreciated this essay, and it was a reminder that not every book or piece of writing is new. It can be new to us as readers even if it came out many years ago.

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The most beautiful, bite-sized piece of hope, this essay is a must read for anyone struggling with anxiety about the future, for anyone looking for hope in the darkness, for anyone who wants to inspire future generations of learners, for...well, anyone, really.

While the words in this book are sparse, they are a tremendously powerful reflection on history and humanity, and Manzel Bowman's Afrofuturistic artwork is the perfect complement to Butler's message.

I expect that I will return to this essay again and again.

Thank you NetGalley for my advanced copy.

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We create the child of tomorrow. That's the thing that stuck with me as I view the current upset that is going on in the world from Gaza to Democratic Republic of Congo to the current political climate in America. We're on the edge of something and like Butler I'd like to think it's for the better. But humans seemingly and rarely learn from the past. Butler has called so much that is currently boiling in this country from book bans, to attacks on public education, to a looming threat of fascism to the lacking character of political institutions that is just par for the course and not the exception.

This short piece came out of Butler's encounter with a young male reporter who wanted a flat answer to all the world's problem when she said there was no one answer. He wrote that she said there was no answer. Interpretation is everything here and he basically lied on her when she offered him the power that it depended just as much on him as her. That there was no final dystopian answer. Maybe that lack of imagination to believe that there can be any other way and that path is multiple is the problem. Maybe belief in better has been drummed out of us making Butler's novel all the more timely a warning.

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Octavia E. Butler is such an incredible writer, and this essay is another example. 23 years after it was originally written, this manages to remain so relevant for today' world. The artwork in this book is absolutely STUNNING, and this would be a lovely gift for anyone who enjoys her writing. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read this in return for my honest review.

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I enjoyed this thought-provoking essay which was broken into 4 pieces with different messages and peppered with art. I will say, there isn't a ton of content here, and I'm not really sure it needed to be it's own book-- it seems to be more about the art, even though there isn't a ton of it. The font was a little challenging, but otherwise it was genuinely lovely. Also, I forever stan Butler.

That said, it's frustrating when there is no archive date set, so you think you have plenty of time to get get something read and get your feedback submitted, then bam there is an archive date and it's literally the same day. It's inconsiderate to your readers/reviewers, especially considering the pub date isn't for another two months.

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The book "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" by Octavia E. Butler is a collection of essays accompanied by artwork. The essays offer insights into predicting the future, drawing from real-world examples and the author's own work, and are complemented by stunning Afrofuturist artwork by Manzel Bowman.

The thought-provoking nature of the essays and the beautiful artwork make this irresistible.
It would make a great gift, especially for fans of Octavia E. Butler's work or those interested in speculative fiction and science fiction.

The insightful content and the accompanying artwork are superb.

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I found Octavia E. Butler's essay "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" particularly moving considering our current times. Butler takes the same thoughtful approach to this essay that she takes to all of her books and examines the ways in which we think about and react to our ideas about the future. I appreciated her gentle emphasis on hope--her quiet, genuine call for us to remember that nothing is set in stone and to use what we have learned to construct a path forward. She helps us to order our world in a way that makes the future less... scary. Along with the tone, the simplicity and accessibility of the text also helps removes any barrier to entry for that other essays and lectures by high-concept writers like Butler tend to have. However, I found the simplicity also may have hindered some moments that could have been more impactful.

The structure of this book reminds me of "Navigate Your Stars" by Jesmyn Ward, and I think it will find a similar audience (fans of the author, good for gifting, collector's item). Manzel Bowman's art in "A Few Rules" is beautifully surrealist, and it elevates the more introspective, cerebral, and existential elements of Butler's essay while emphasizing the idea that life is a journey through space and time.

I do think the text could be reformatted a bit on the pages where there is a lot of white space. I would also suggest that the author's description should go at the beginning; Butler's background and accomplishments are really important to the context of her message here.

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Octavia Butler's essay, "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future," is a beautifully crafted piece of literature. Her prose remains captivating throughout, and the eloquence of her words adds depth to the exploration of predicting the future. The artistry in her writing enhances the overall impact of the essay, making it not only intellectually engaging but also a pleasure to read. Butler's ability to weave a captivating narrative within an essay format contributes to the overall beauty of this insightful work.

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Octavia E. Butler is known for the extensive ways in which she views the present and future, blending the realms using tonal depth and perception that requires the mind to pause and redirect how it initially knows dreaming and futurism. Instead, her characters and her worlds sit within the tension of what is, but isn’t as is. Where the concept of Blackness as power and whiteness as other is within itself an Afrofuristic concept, because the "natural" world depicts another power differentiation.

In this short collection of essays, Butler tackles the why behind predictions of the future and how her books are tellings of such things that well…have come to pass since her publication dates, and yet there is still a wondering to why predict at all. I think it’s an in depth question that I would’ve wanted more context around, a more philosophical grounding behind each topic and maybe that’s the point of the brevity…there is no answer and just the attempt alone is a signature of hope that maybe the future might look different, just maybe and that one that Butler does well to symbolize throughout these words in this book.

The artistry is spectacular and Manzel Bowman does a wonderful job depicting an ethereal feel to the text and the wonder behind the questions. Overall, it was a good quick read of essays about futurism and the why it remains such an important genre to write from within the Afro/Black perspective.

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This is a beautiful way to repurpose Octavia Butler's essay, "A Few Rules For Predicting the Future." especially for those who have not had the chance to read it yet. A physical copy would make such a great gift for fans of Octavia Butler. I do, however, wish there was more artwork embedded within the blank pages and spaces. This could be because I was reading a digital copy. Overall, this is still such a beautiful book that I can see myself buying physical copies of for friends once it is published!

Thank you to Netgalley and Chronicle Books for the ARC!

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Octavia Butler passed away decades ago but is now seeing a revival of her works. This is a short essay that is exactly as the title – how do you envision, or predict, the future. Then to write a book with this vision being accurate, or at least believable.

Start with history, then what is going on today and extrapolate a few areas into the future. Solve some, or one of the problems, there is not one answer but multiple.

There are many images in the book, so the essay is much shorter than the 45 pages or so. It’s an easy quick read and yes, does make you think.

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