top of page
  • Gabby Womack

A Few Rules for Predicting the Future: An Essay by Octavia E. Butler




My first read of the month was A Few Rules for Predicting the Future: An Essay by Octavia E. Butler! This essay was originally published in Essence Magazine in May 2000 so you can definitely read that, but this version comes with the beautiful addition of Manzel Bowman's art.


This book will be released on April 16th, 2024 but I won an advanced copy on Goodreads from Chronicle Books. There's another giveaway for this book open right now, by the way!


If y'all have been here for a while, you know I LOVE Octavia Butler's books. Though Butler wrote most of them over twenty years ago, she managed to predict a slew of problems that we since faced in the U.S. Which, understandably, makes folks wonder how she did it. This essay explains it!


One of my favorite quotes is, “To study history is to study humanity. And to try to foretell the future without studying history is like trying to read without bothering to learn the alphabet.” As an historian and avid reader, I wholeheartedly agree!!! There were so many times in the past 10 years (during which I spent a lot of time doing historical research) when I realized that I was no longer surprised by the events that played out in global politics, race relations, and climate change.




“To study history is to study humanity. And to try to foretell the future without studying history is like trying to read without bothering to learn the alphabet.”

This was depressing, but it also meant that I could find some ways to move forward through learning about previous efforts that failed or succeeded. Learning ultimately brought me hope.


As Butler wrote, “there’s no single answer that will solve all our future problems…Instead there are thousands of answers–at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”


I hope y’all add this to your TBRs, request it from your libraries, and purchase it for your classrooms!



[ID: Slide 1- Gabby holds a copy of A Few Rules for Predicting the Future: An Essay by Octavia E. Butler in her left hand over her purple, black, and gray rug. Slide 2- Multicolored images of space overlap one another in the background. In quotations, the text reads, “To study history is to study humanity. And to try to foretell the future without studying history is like trying to read without bothering to learn the alphabet.” Slide 3- Gabby holds her copy of the book open to the first art piece which depicts a blue-black skinned person wearing a textured yellow v-neck. The upper half of their face is covered by a pink, yellow, and peach bouquet of flowers.]

Kommentare


bottom of page