A Few Rules for Predicting the Future

An Essay

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Pub Date 16 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 06 Feb 2024

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Description

The wise words of science fiction icon Octavia E. Butler live on in this beautiful and giftable little volume.

“There’s no single answer that will solve all our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers—at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

Originally published in Essence magazine in the year 2000, Octavia E. Butler’s essay “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future” offers an honest look into the inspiration behind her science fiction novels and the importance of studying history and taking responsibility for our actions if we are to move forward. 

Organized into four main rules, this short essay reminds readers to learn from the past, respect the law of consequences, be aware of their perspectives, and count on the surprises. Citing the warning signs of fascism, the illusive effects of fear and wishful thinking, and the unpredictable nature of what is yet to come, Butler shares realistic but hopeful suggestions to shape our future into something good. An inspiring and motivational gift for students and recent graduates, fans of Butler's work, and anyone seeking a brighter day tomorrow, this exquisite gift book includes stunning Afrofuturist artwork by Manzel Bowman alongside the full text of the original essay.

The wise words of science fiction icon Octavia E. Butler live on in this beautiful and giftable little volume.

“There’s no single answer that will solve all our future problems. There’s no magic...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781797229058
PRICE $14.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Such a gorgeous book for the Octavia Butler fan! The artwork is gorgeous and vibrant and I loved reading Butler's words. She was such a genius and icon. This would make a fantastic gift for the sci-fi enthusiast.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC. All thoughts are my own.

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This was a thought provoking essay that is a very fast read but with ideas best left to simmer.

The essay is broken into a few parts with 4 different messages all relating to “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future”, they are to: learn from the past, respect the law or consequences, be aware of your perspective, and count on the surprises. Octavia then goes on to elaborate more about each of these. The major takeaway from the essay is that predicting the future helps us best determine how to guide our future and that predicting the future, as Octavia did, is best done as an act of hope.

There are also a couple of pieces of beautiful artwork throughout the essay.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the arc that I read.

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This is a single essay, turned into a book with art.
I love the art in here, it's gorgeous and colorful. However, I'm slightly disappointed by the lack of content in this book. It's a essay that is pretty short, stretched into many pages through large font. It feels more pamphlet-size than book-size.
If you're buying this, you're buying it for the art. To have this beautiful volume in your hands. However, it's not an art book either. It's has a handful of beautiful spreads, but it isn't full of art.
The words are beautiful. The art is beautiful. I'm just not sure that it justifies its price tag.

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It's a thoughtful essay by the inimitable Octavia Butler, and illustrations are beautiful, but I am not sure it needs to be a book on its own? I found the font really hard on the eyes, and the chosen format of framing a paragraph in the middle of the page a little too close to "live love laugh" kind of pamphlets... I would have dearly loved for this to be a collection of her essays instead.

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A beautiful edition of Butler’s 2000 essay, complete with vivid artwork and reflection by the author on her work and history throughout the years. A good reminder to reread Sower and Talents again.

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A very nice little book for gifting. There is no reason whatsoever to purchase this as an ebook or even as a book to actually read, but as a present for a recent graduate, or as a coffee-table book, or as a gift for the Octavia Butler stan in your life (that could be me!), it's perfect.

The essay is smart, prescient, empathetic, and thought-provoking, as is everything Butler writes, but you can read it online for free. The real benefit of this book is in the packaging and the illustrations.

I always love more attention being paid to Octavia Butler, though! Everyone go read Parable of the Sower! It's about a far-right demagogue who’s just been elected President in 2024, under the slogan MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

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This is a tiny, beautiful book not just about how to predict the future but why. The ideas are succinct and inspiring. Maybe it's too late to save the world, but this is the kind of thinking that would help us make the changes we need. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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A Few Rules for Predicting the Future is a very short collection of essays by the most amazing Octavia E. Butler. As I quickly read through each of the essays, they are not meant to tell a full blown lavish story, but a small, mind stimulating piece of information. In a time like this, it’s amazing this is going to be published. It discusses the manipulation of words, the forgetting of history, and the ignorance of people. I think all readers should read this or something similar. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC!

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All that you touch
You Change

All that you Change
Changes you

The only lasting truth
Is Change

God
Is Change
______________________________________________

As a former history major who would spend every waking minute reading if she could, I knew this essay was for me! I’m fascinated by the cross-section of history and story; how the two intersect, and how the truth of the past might infiltrate our fiction and remain truthful still.

I must admit that I haven’t read any Octavia Butler, though Kindred has been on my TBR for a while now. This tiny volume ensured that I will pick up more of her work sooner rather than later.

A Few Rules for Predicting the Future, a topical essay in 2000 and now, tackles the pervading sentiment of the times: why even try to predict (and shape) the future if, as Butler puts it: “... there are always surprises. The only safe prediction is that there always will be”? Butler says that there is no one answer to the problems that lie ahead. Instead “there are thousands of answers - at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

Another of Butler’s insights comes when she offers us the double-edged sword that the way things are now are not what they always have been, and most certainly are not what they always will be. We cannot allow the mood of the times to impact our hope (or lack of) in the future.

I knocked off one star on this review because, though Butler’s words were soothing, I only appreciated the essay because I’d already come to all the same conclusions of my own accord some time ago. I’m not sure that this handful of pages has quite the power to persuade somebody of the importance of (history) education, or to motivate someone to keep the faith in the fight for humanity. Regardless, I appreciated the essay for the comfort it provided.

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One of my favorite things about Netgalley is that sometimes you unexpectedly stumble across gems by authors you admire. While scrolling through newly added books, I came across this essay from Ms. Butler being republished and accompanied by absolutely stunning artwork. If you are on Netgalley, it's so worth hitting the request button! If you aren't, that's okay, this little book of art and wisdom comes out this spring - April 16, 2024.

The essay itself is so on point for what our world faces today, despite being published over 20 years ago. Of course it is - we are talking about one of the most visionary writers in the modern era. It succinctly provides realistic advice for thinking about the future, demanding that we look to the past and reckon with the consequences of our society's decisions. There is hope too - the unpredictable forces colliding with our consequences. Maybe we, too, can become the change that's needed.

This is definitely meant to be experienced as a hardcopy. Reading the e-book was great, but I can't wait to see how the illustrations look on a page I can hold and touch.

Thank you, Chronicle Books and Netgalley, for the DRC in exchange for my honest review.

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Octavia Butler's nonfiction writing always stop and make me think as I read. She's known for her fiction, but the thought and meaning she intentionally weaves into all her reading is stunning. Her essay here remains timely as she lays out why we attempt to predict the future and reminds us of hope even when it is hard to do so.

This specific printing of the essay is accompanied by gorgeous artwork. This would make a beautiful gift to any Butler fan or a wonderful introduction to Butler's nonfiction writing for any reader. I highly recommend any science fiction fan diving more into Butler's words.

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Really loved the design of the book and the images included in it. One thing on that aspect is that the font is quite hard to read especially on a screen. The font would be a deal breaker for me. Otherwise I really enjoyed the essay and the message of hope it gives on understanding our past and predicting our future. I really enjoy Octavia E. Butler’s writing. I will definitely read more of her work. This book will be a great gift to someone who loves speculative fiction and science fiction or just a fan of Octavia E. Butler.

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A Few Rules for Predicting the Future: An Essay is a short essay and new book by Octavia E. Butler accompanied with beautiful artwork by Manzel Bowman. This is an older essay by Octavia Butler that was republished in this book and it's about how and why we as people predict the future. Butler uses references to her books "Parable of the Sower" and "Parable of the Talents" when discussing examples of how to predict the future. She also uses real world examples like The Space Race and The Cold War.

Overall this was a really pleasant reading experience and this essay seems very relevant when viewing today's world issues. I'm giving this 4 out of 5 stars.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc (advanced readers copy).

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Octavia E. Butler's "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" is a powerful essay. It's a must-read for lovers of Butler's work, for readers of speculative fiction, and for those concerned with the future of our world. Butler's essay outlines several rules that individuals can follow if they want to predict what will likely happen in the future and what horrors we can expect in the future. Butler, an expert in speculative and science fiction, remains practical and optimistic when discussing the future. This hopeful attitude is so refreshing, especially from someone who had such a profound impact on the SFF community.

However, this edition of the essay from Chronicle Books is far more than just Butler's essay. The beautiful artwork in the book, the colorful pages blank pages, and the perfectly selected fonts used make this book a superb coffee table book or graduation gift. The cover is gorgeous, as are the absolutely breathtaking full-page Afrofuturist art prints by Manzel Bowman that fill this book. I highly recommend this book for the Octavia E. Butler lover in your life, especially if that's you.

Full blog review to come closer to the review date.

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I love Octavia E. Butler, and her work is something I think we should all always return to. This essay is beautifully crafted, and the editions of artwork made it even more powerful. This essay is an important reminder that we can be part of new imaginations of the future, and that there can be joy and hope, but we also need to pay attention to history and to current horrors. Incredibly resonant not just in the context she wrote it, but especially today.

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This beautifully illustrated book is so lovely for gifting. Octavia Butler, master of forward-reaching sci-fi gives four areas of hope for looking ahead, perfect for new grads, youth, and anyone who needs some inspiration.
I'm so thankful to have read this and will reach for it again when I'm feeling uncertain about the future.

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This is a fantastic essay by Octavia Butler that like everything from her that I have read, has very relevant takeaways for our current time. In this she talks about the idea that predicting the future is a hopeful act, that she researches history and regimes of the past to see how the problems in present day could grow to become worse. This was a wonderful reminder to know and read history as a warning for the present and future.

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An intelligent and succinct essay that remains apt for the current times. Butler draws attention to the importance of studying the past while also cautioning against both optimism and pessimism for predicting the future. Overall, the essay retains a message of hope that I really appreciate. I enjoyed the one Octavia Butler novel I've read immensely and this essay made me want to pick up more of her works.

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A very short book packed with wisdom in the form of an essay by the legendary sci-fi author Octavia E. Butler. There are beautiful colorful illustrations that I’m sure would look even more stunning in physical format.

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A brilliant, pithy essay on the difficulties of predicting the future and why it matters. Buter writes with great clarity and hope using her experience as an author to navigate the perils of prediction. A great essay. Butler can say in a few paragraphs what it takes others to say in a book.

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Octavia E. Butler's words are accompanied by amazing artwork in this gift book - ready to inspire anyone stepping out into the future. The perfect graduation gift for the young person who understands how problematic the go-to from Dr. Seuss is. Present this to anyone about to embark on an adventure. Butler continues to prod us with insight which holds up decades later. The artwork enhances the words and feeds the imagination. Thank you to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for the chance to preview this eARC.

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T
T

The wise words of science fiction icon Octavia E. Butler live on in this beautiful and giftable little volume.

“There’s no single answer that will solve all our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers—at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

Originally published in Essence magazine in the year 2000, Octavia E. Butler’s essay “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future” offers an honest look into the inspiration behind her science fiction novels and the importance of studying history and taking responsibility for our actions if we are to move forward.

Organized into four main rules, this short essay reminds readers to learn from the past, respect the law of consequences, be aware of their perspectives, and count on the surprises. Citing the warning signs of fascism, the illusive effects of fear and wishful thinking, and the unpredictable nature of what is yet to come, Butler shares realistic but hopeful suggestions to shape our future into something good. An inspiring and motivational gift for students and recent graduates, fans of Butler's work, and anyone seeking a brighter day tomorrow, this exquisite gift book includes stunning Afrofuturist artwork by Manzel Bowman alongside the full text of the original essay.

Review:

If you weren't able to collect this essay when it appeared in Essence, here is your opportunity to keep it to review-complete with beautiful artwork.

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I have yet to read Octavia Butler, but had a minute to read this essay. I love when she said that tomorrow is the child of today. I respect that she really seems to lay serious groundwork for her stories (though, she probably wouldn't be such a great author if it was otherwise).

This book would be a beautiful gift for the history, sci-fi, or Butler buff. Half of the book was artwork, making this a quick read that would look awesome displayed on any shelf. And, of course, Butler's words of wisdom will ring true at any stage of our human existence.

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Love everything that had to do with Mrs butler. She’s a visionary and should be remembered as such. This is another extension of her art. I loved it.

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This is a beautiful and compact book that would make a great gift to children or teenagers. I want to buy a hard copy!

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Octavia Butler's "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" is a wonderful, accessible volume of knowledge that beautifully expands of her groundbreaking work in "The Parable of the Sower" and "The Parable of the Talents." She describes three rules that helped guide her thinking in development of her work: Learn from the past; Respect the law of consequences; Be aware of your perspective; Count on the surprises. Each are followed by Butler's insight from her personal and political life, and ultimately reminds us of the responsibility we have to do our best to shape our futures into something good and worthy of our future children. The volume is also accompanied by beautiful artwork that flows seamlessly with the beauty of Butler's insights. A beautiful work I highly recommend.

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I am huge Octavia Butler fan. The essay reprinted here is full of Octavia's insight and philosophy. It's a good essay and gives you a lot to think about.

The essay is interspersed with art pieces inspired by the text. The art is good, but I didn't feel it connected enough with the essay. I would have liked to see more interaction between the two.

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I'm a big Octavia Butler fan, but I'd never heard of her essay. She elaborates on the idea that if we don't pay attention to history, we are doomed to repeat it, while also instilling a sense of hope and purpose into why writing speculative fiction grounded in past patterns matters. The essay is paired with vibrant collage art and makes for a very short but beautiful book for any Octavia Butler completionist.

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Octavia Butler's essay is as observant and wise as I've come to expect of her.

The illustrations look like a beginner's attempt to use photoshop and detract from the essay. Manzel Bowman's collages do not suit this or really any of Butler's works.

Received via NetGalley.

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I stumbled upon this little gem of wisdom and art through sheer serendipity while scrolling through Netgalley. Visionary science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler is known for disquietingly realistic and plausible glimpses of dystopian near futures as trajectories of our current paths. In this short but eloquent and prescient essay, first published in 2000, the author discusses how the past and present sow the seeds of the future, the importance of looking forward to potential futures to chart a better course. Her observations are insightful and empowering, and timelessly relevant.

"There is no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There's no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers - at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be."

I'm a great admirer of Octavia E. Butler's work, and I loved this short but brilliant book. It's wise and hopeful, and beautifully illustrated by Manzel Bowman. This would make a perfect gift.

Many thanks to Chronicle Books and to Netgalley for providing me with a free advance reader copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“There’s no single answer that will solve all our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead, there are thousands of answers—at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

Superb as always, Octavia Butler should be required reading in every high school in the country.

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Short book with beautiful illustrations. Text is only on half the pages, and it's straightforward and conversational. A very quick read and although Butler references her previous books, you can appreciate this one without having read them.

I appreciate NetGalley and the publisher for providing a digital ARC. My honest review is my own opinion.

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Octavia Butler is one of the authors that brought me to love reading. Her writing style is so approachable, yet developed in a way that you know you will learn something. This reigns true even in this short essay. Butler drops many gems to educate the reader on the power of the thought, her writing and creative process, and the importance of predicting what it is to come, even when it is not as black and white as it seems. The art alongside this essay is stunning and I could easily see this being an amazing conversation starter or coffee table book in my home.

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Octavia Butler's short essay is presented here in a book that's more akin to coffee table art, than a way to present her old words for a new generation.

When I first tried reading Parable of the Sower last year, I had to put it down and ultimately DNF it. The violence and apathy and overall world Butler imagined in that book felt much too close to reality and ultimately I couldn't handle it. After reading this short essay, it's easy to understand how she wrote such a creepily prescient work in the 90s - essentially, she studied history to be able to extrapolate where our future could go, and guess what? She wasn't too far off base. Scarily so.

The artwork in this short book is beautiful, but it feels like it dilutes the message of the essay. The way the paragraphs are broken up by pages of art feels like it takes away from the overall message because it keeps breaking it up and not in a way that feels organic.

Ultimately, this IS a good essay, and I'm glad that there will be a new volume like this to bring it back into light for new readers to discover. It'll certainly make for a beautiful display book for Butler fans.

Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the opportunity to read and review this. The book will be available April 16, 2024.

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Octavia E. Butler's essay is especially meaningful to me as it brings up memories of having read her novel Kindred in high school. In many ways, her essay reasserts many of the themes explored in Kindred. Butler intertwines elements of science fiction like time travel with an examination of history, human nature, and societal dynamics. Her emphasis on learning from the past for predictions of the future aligns with the exigence of Kindred.

What stuck out the most to me is the observation that predictions often arise from moments of sadness, worry, or fear, challenging the notion of purely analytical forecasting. In doing so, she encourages readers to view predictions as a means to step back and assess the world in a more compassionate manner.


Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free advance reader copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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Beautiful thought provoking essay accompanied with equally breathtaking illustrations. A wonderful little book to behold and to proudly display in one's bookshelf.

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So, I have never read the work of Octavia Butler & was interested in trying her stuff, but I wanted a gentle entry. This title, "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" an essay & quick read, met that requirement. I enjoyed it & will now be looking into more of Ms. Butler's titles. My sincere thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for the "read now" complimentary DRC, my pleasure to review it.

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The illustrations in this copy are absolutely stunning. This is the kind of book you can use as a coffee table book and conversation starter.

How can one little essay have so many highlights? Octavia Butler somehow has a way of writing about massive topics in such a beautifully concise way. I had several highlighted sections throughout this essay but my favorite is:

“Moral: Wishful thinking is no more
help in predicting the future than fear,
superstition or depression.”

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Who am I to give feedback on the work of a literary giant like Octavia Butler? I was introduced to her work a few years ago and promptly read through the majority of her works. I think Octavia Butler is as wise as she is creative and I greatly admire her work.

A Few Rules for Predicting the Future is a five star read for me. It's brief, but thoughtful and insightful. I do think this will be even better in print when it becomes available. I am so grateful to NetGalley for granting me early access to this important essay.

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Octavia E. Butler is the seer of our generation, those born during the 1970s and 1980s. During this time, the United States was unraveling from the heavy weight of its global imperialist and nuclear ambitions, with Americans living in constant terror of others, both internal and external enemies. Through the dystopian novels "Parable of the Sower" (1993) and "Parable of the Talents" (1998), she brought to light the impending doom brought on by racism and classism.

The compact volume featuring Butler’s 2000 essay "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future" offers a peek into the seer’s process for imagining worlds that eerily mirror our present realities. In the essay, Butler discusses the importance of knowing history to understand present-day crises, such as the rise of fascism. In “Parable of the Talents,” Butler prophesied the election of a despot who gained popularity by declaring that he could “Make America Great Again.” Every action yields a consequence: What we do in the here and now produces what will come next.

“To study history is to study humanity.” Butler’s words are as poignant today as they were when they were first written. This book would make a great addition to any science fiction library. I reviewed the digital copy and was thoroughly impressed by Manzel Bowman’s art. Bowman interprets the aesthetics of the worlds that Butler has built, showcasing birth and decay, dissolution and emergence.

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This was a solid essay that posed interesting ideas about the future. I wouldn't say that this essay changed how I was thinking in some mind-blowing way, but it was thought-provoking which is what I was hoping for.

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Octavia Butler is the freaking GOAT and I'm so stoked to see this essay of hers treated with the RESPECT that it DESERVES. Okay, enough all-caps.

I may be biased, but this essay encapsulates how much Butler has done for the genre of sci-fi and illustrates how intimately our politics are reflected in what and how we read. On predicting the future, Butler writes: "[...] making predictions is one way to give warning when we see ourselves drifting in dangerous directions. Because prediction is a useful way of pointing out safer, wiser courses."

Reading has always been a way to expand my horizons and challenge what I know, and I'm not alone in this! I hope more folks pick up Butler's work because of this text.

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Gorgeous artwork accompanies a timely essay by the brilliant Octavia E Butler. Her words of wisdom ring true just as much today as when she wrote them. The artwork is incredible, I can't wait to purchase this as a hardcover because it's such a work of art accompanying profound words.

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This is such a timely read. The illustrations are thought provoking. I feel that in the world's current state Butler's words speak to them in a prolific way even in a writing that was originally published over 20 years ago. I can only imagine what Butler would have to say about what is happening in our world today.

The passage about the child not knowing what Nazis were and the student who never feared nuclear war strike a chord over 70 days into an active genocide of the Palestinian people.

This is a great essay and I think everyone should take heed of Butler's words.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the free ARC.

This is a short essay by Butler. It is both advice for aspiring authors and a discussion on the hopeless of predicting the future, and yet striving to be hopeful and to keep working to improve any current or future situation.

The design is done well. The font is rather large. The artwork is done well and fits the mood of the piece,

Her writing on the misrepresentation of her thoughts on hope for the future was something that has stuck with me.

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Did this *need* to be a book? No. Is it good to have more of Octavia Butler’s words in the world? Yes, always. Beautiful art and powerful words in this (very short) essay, that’s good enough for me.

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Octavia Butler is a fantastic writer! I enjoyed this essay and I enjoyed the pictures that were mixed in with the writing.

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I'm definitely a fan of Octavia Butler, and of course, the title drew me in. It was like hearing from Octavia from beyond the grave.

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Fascinating world building and reflection from a master of creative voice. This book could function as an introduction to this author or a reading companion.

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Octavia E. Butler's work is, as always, grounded and accessible with the spark of inherent talent that makes a reader trust what she has to say. The imagery accompanying the writing was simply beautiful and connected with the energy often found in Butler's fiction writing.

The images, however, create a disjointed reading of the book in its electronic form. They add the necessary length to make this sellable as a book, and will undoubtedly be breathtaking in printed form, but are a bit irritating when reading. Now whether this is an inherent issue with the book or simply the consequences of reading a digitized copy remains to be seen, but arguably in this age of digital accessibility, a book should be designed or if necessary redesigned to offer an immersive experience on digital systems as well as in print.

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the ARC.

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Illustrated version of an article Butler wrote, with handy explanations of how to think about change in light of existing oppressions. Be aware that it's short!

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I’ve never read any Octavia butler before but after reading this brilliant essay it’s clear that I have been missing out.

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“A Few Rules for Predicting the Future” is an essay of Octavia Butler’s originally published within Essence magazine. Within this essay Butler discusses the ways in which we can consider the future and work to crat it into a more positive one. This edition of the essay includes beautiful artwork which fit well with Butler’s essay. A with most of Butler’s works, this essay examines ideas around real people within a variety of situations.. This work remains just as relevant right now as it was when written. If you’re looking for a pretty edition of an essay by Butler this is the book for you. It may also be a great gift for the Butler fan in your life. Thank you Netgalley and Chronicle books for providing me with a digital copy of this book. All opinions concerning it are my own.

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Gorgeous artwork and wise insight. This book was a super fast read and beautiful. I wish it had been longer. Everyone should check it out.

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A gorgeously illustrated printing of this essay by Octavia Butler. I read this as an ebook and would love the experience of a tangible book to look at the illustrations better. Short and sweet, I really liked it!

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Thank you to Chronicle Books via NetGalley for providing me with this ARC! I need not spend the entire review on the brilliance of Octavia Butler within this essay, one that I feel we should be returning to even over 20 years after it was originally published in Essence magazine. The images in this book were lovely and I felt complimented the essay well. Admittedly, it is important to note that I have read this essay before — for free — so the purchasing of this book, I feel, would likely be for someone who already has an appreciation for the essay and would like it in a book form with illustrations. I will definitely be gifting this to some of my friends.

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Originally published in Essence magazine in 2000, Butler's wisdom shines through this essay. She discusses the inspiration behind her groundbreaking science fiction novels and advocates for a thoughtful examination of the past and our personal responsibility in shaping our future.

Structured into four key rules, the essay encourages readers to draw lessons from the past, understand the consequences of their actions, be mindful of their perspectives, and embrace the element of surprise. Butler astutely discusses warning signs of fascism, the impact of fear and wishful thinking, and the unpredictable nature of the future, offering realistic yet hopeful suggestions for steering humanity towards a positive trajectory.

This essay also include gorgeous Afrofuturist artwork by Manzel Bowman. The essay not only celebrates Octavia E. Butler's legacy as a visionary author but also serves as an inspiring gift for students, recent graduates, and anyone navigating life's milestones. This work explores the importance of self-reflection and making predictions as a useful tool to draw upon past knowledge to manifest a better future. Ultimately, this work is a testament to Butler's enduring influence on literature and her invaluable contributions to the Afrofuturist movement. Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read!

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I’m a huge fan of Octavia Butler, and this illustrated essay did not disappoint! This adaptation of her original essay with beautiful artwork is a lovely contribution to the Butler canon.

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"No, I said. I mean there's no single answer that will solve all our future problems. There's no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers - at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be."
This is a republished essay by Octavia Butler in which she reflects on her work, history and future of society. Within the essay text there is some absolutely gorgeous artwork. I believe this essay is twenty or so years old but very relevant to the world we live in today. It speaks to the timelessness of Octavia Butler's work. This will be a beautiful book to showcase not just for Octavia Butler's impactful words but because of its visually appealing images.

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Interesting read, beautiful imagery. As usual Ms. Butler illuminated the future directing us to look to the past. History repeats itself, so how do you predict the future?

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I was provided an advanced copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Octavia E. Butler's "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future: An Essay" is a succinct yet profound exploration of the complexities involved in anticipating what lies ahead. In this thought-provoking essay, Butler imparts wisdom and shares insights on the intricacies of predicting the future, drawing on her keen understanding of human nature and societal dynamics. The brevity of the essay does not diminish its impact; instead, it serves as a concentrated dose of Butler's brilliance, leaving readers with valuable reflections on the art and challenges of forecasting the future.

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3.5 rounded up.
This is a lovely coffee table book for fans of Octavia E Butler. It's an essay spread over 50ish pages with paragraphs on each page and art between sections. I'm sure it will be very pretty in person, however I do wish it had more art throughout, just to lean more into it being an art book since it's just one essay spread out. The essay stands alone and is great and worth the read, I just finished a reread of the Parable duology which is mentioned throughout the essay so it was lovely to read this after. But I just wish there was more art to go with it to really make it stand out as a coffee table book, especially because the art is beautiful and very reflective of Octavia Butler's work. All that being said, I will eventually buy it to go with my Octavia Butler collection, but if you're not a huge fan I'd say grab a copy from the library to read her timely and always relevant essay.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for the advanced reader copy for review.

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Octavia E. Butler can absolutely do no wrong. I often sit and feel sad that she died so early, before she could have written more genius works for us to read. This will be a great graduation gift.

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Short story that just left me wanting more. I wished it were longer so I could have more of her writing. Many of the themes from the original 2000 publishing are still relevant today, as is the message. Always leading with hope, we do not give up.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

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A couple of Octavia E. Butler have been on my TBR list for years. I love science fiction and I don't know why I haven't yet dwelved into her books. A Few Rules for Predicting the Future is a very short collection of essays by the author. While the book is a very quick read, the essays are very through-provoking and will stay with the reader for a long time. The beautiful artwork is an extra bonus! A Few Rules for Predicting the Future would make a great gift for a recent college graduate or someone embarking on a new stage in life.

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This collection of short essays was such a delight to read and a great reminder to read more Octavia Butler. Her ability to see beyond herself and see paths both for humans and humanity as a whole us unparalleled. I greatly enjoyed reading this collection and can't wait to add more Butler to my TBR this year!

Originally published in Essence magazine in the year 2000, Octavia E. Butler’s essay “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future” offers an honest look into the inspiration behind her science fiction novels and the importance of studying history and taking responsibility for our actions if we are to move forward.

Organized into four main rules, this short essay reminds readers to learn from the past, respect the law of consequences, be aware of their perspectives, and count on the surprises. Citing the warning signs of fascism, the illusive effects of fear and wishful thinking, and the unpredictable nature of what is yet to come, Butler shares realistic but hopeful suggestions to shape our future into something good. An inspiring and motivational gift for students and recent graduates, fans of Butler's work, and anyone seeking a brighter day tomorrow, this exquisite gift book includes stunning Afrofuturist artwork by Manzel Bowman alongside the full text of the original essay.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.

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As the publisher's copy reads, this volume is perfect for "anyone seeking a brighter day tomorrow." Octavia's message that "there’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers–at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.” is as important and resonant today as it was when she wrote her essay nearly 25 years ago, if not more so. Afrofuturist artist Bowman's pieces are a perfect complement to the message. A true gift of a gift book.

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*I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I really enjoyed the essay itself - I had never read it before, and it was interesting to read. Octavia E. Butler's novels have been on my TBR for a while and this made me excited to start reading them finally.

However, this edition seemed a bit weird, at least on an e-reader, I cannot speak to how the art / colors comes through in person, but on an e-reader the way the pages of plain color broke up the paragraphs was a bit odd. The art was gorgeous however.

4 Stars (for the edition; 5 stars for the essay)

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A beautiful reworking of a classic Octavia Butler essay. The artwork is gorgeous and interesting, and the essay is even better than I remember it. A must-read in current times.

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Thank you for the eARC for the book!

Rating: 4 stars

I need to read more of Octavia Butler's work in the future, because despite how short the book is, brought up valid points to think about. Especially in terms of "future" and what it entails. The art is beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

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I agree with other reviewers saying this didn’t need to be a book but also I do. Todays political and socio climate constantly require us to evaluate our past yet we’re not doing that… these words come at a time when they are most needed. When we all collectively need to be reminded that we are responsible for our tomorrow.

I love the revamp of her earlier article, I just feel like the art was a little noisy but I think I can understand why it was used and the objective.

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle books for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released April 16th, 2024.

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I love that there are more of Octavia's words in the world. I am surprised that this is in book form but that made it even better for me. Her nonfiction writing is some of my favorite because she genuinely makes me think and I truly love that. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher  for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Beautiful thoughts and beautiful artwork.

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the ARC.

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I enjoyed it, it’s very short, but it makes you think. It would be a good gift for someone who likes Octavia Butler (like me).

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Look at this book version of Octavia Butler's essay A Few Rules for Predicting the Future for what it is: a colorful, nicely laid-out reprinting of Butler's essay that she wrote for a magazine in 2000. It's a nice gift for someone who loves Butler and derives joy from beautiful physical objects that embody their favorite authors. It wouldn't be out of place on the table of a university common space.

The essay is short, which limits the scope of ideas one might glean from it. There isn't much here that I haven't heard repeated multiple times on public radio since 2016. Reading Butler's novels is a better way to learn her way of thinking about the future.

You can read the full essay for free on the web:
https://commongood.cc/reader/a-few-rules-for-predicting-the-future-by-octavia-e-butler/

The main reason to seek out the physical book is the 5 art panels that it includes. Their colorful style varies from panel to panel, running the gamut from indulgent florals (reminiscent of the cover of Isabel Allende's The Wind Knows My Name) to an explosive futuristic collage. They're all by Manzel Bowman, which surprised me because they are distinct stylistically, but all fit the controlled sensory overload aesthetic that will likely become characteristic of 2024.

The printed book would have more substantial value if more Bowman's pieces replaced the many pages that currently include no content aside from a wash of neon-pastel color.

Thank you Chronicle Books, Manzel Bowman and the ghost of Octavia Butler for a free Netgalley advance reader copy of A Few Rules for Predicting the Future.

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Beautifully said! A Few Rules for Predicting the Future, by Octavia E. Butler, is an insightful view and response to many things happening in today's society. Yet, she wrote this many years ago. The text was short, but insightful in a way that will provoke thought. The illustrations are a delight in themselves. These "little books" will make nice gifts. Thanks, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with the ARC ebook that I read and reviewed. All opinions are my own.

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I wish this book was even longer as the words written were very thought provoking and something I will go back to. How do we prevent history repeating itself?

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I really love this essay, and it's so wonderful to see it given new life in this re-publishing. There's no such thing as too much of Octavia Butler's work out in the world.

This is more of a coffee table book, with art included throughout. If you're looking to pick this up, I'd highly recommend a physical copy over a kindle version. The latter just won't do the art justice, and I think the point of this book is to make a really beautiful, tangible book to have on your shelf. I think my only note is that i'd want MORE art and less of the solid colored pages, but it may be a different experience reading the physical book. It would be a perfect gift for Octavia Butler fans or sci-fi lovers who seem to have just about everything. I have a feeling I'll probably end up buying myself a physical copy of this when it comes out in April.

Rounding up from 4.5. Thanks for the ARC, Netgalley!

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Really well done pairing of a Butler essay about spec-fic and possibility with some really well done graphic design. Gorgeous read.

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"Our tomorrow is the child of our today."

Everything in this is beautiful. The writing, the ideas, the artwork. All of it.

Octavia Butler's writing continues to be so relevant. In this short essay, she examines how we shape our future through our understanding of our past and the consequences of our current choices.

If you are a fan of Octavia Butler, read this. If you like of science fiction, read this. If you are human, read this.

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Insightful and hopeful, this lovely presentation of Butler's essay is perfect for gifting a bit of wisdom or for keeping by your bedside to reference when you need some pragmatic hope about what is and what could be.

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This is really an essay with artwork that seems like it would be best read as a physical book. The thoughts in the essay are intriguing and the illustrations went with the text well.

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4.5

This is a beautifully repackaged version of an essay Octavia E. Butler wrote for Essence magazine in 2000. In it she talks about her inspiration for her work, which is incredible and this is a reminder to me that I need to continue reading her oeuvre. I won’t say more than that because it is quite short, it I highly recommend picking up this essay if you have any interest in reading from Butler. This edition in particular has some beautiful art done by Manzel Bowman and would be a perfect gift. I can’t wait until it’s released so I can pick up a copy!

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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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A beautiful, short, and hopeful essay for the future of humanity. Gorgeous art and formatting that is extremely colorful on the opposite pages.

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This is a visually beautiful edition of a wonderful essay by Butler on what it means to try to predict the future. It is a very short, but hopeful essay.

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This collection of essays was a short sprinkle of wisdom from our queen, Octavia Butler, and I had a great time reading it. The artwork was enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. A true gem for any Butler fan!

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