News Release| University Library; Cal State L.A.

One Campus, One Book panelists to discuss science fiction, faith, Los Angeles

‘Parable of the Sower’ to address the fate of today’s community at Cal State L.A. May 16

Los Angeles, CA  -- Featuring a conversation about science fiction as a cultural genre, faith as a social force, and the landscape of Los Angeles, the University Library at Cal State L.A. presents its One Campus, One Book Panel Discussion on Monday, May 16, at 4:30 p.m.

Taking place in the University’s Golden Eagle Ballroom, the free public event is part of CSULA’s One Campus, One Book initiative, which encourages the campus community to read one book collectively. The science fiction thriller Parable of the Sower, by the late Octavia Estelle Butler, was selected as the book to read for 2010-11.

Set in Southern California in the year 2024, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman who possesses the ability to feel the perceived pain and pleasures of others. When the society is near collapse, she survives by “developing a religious community or a new social order.”

The panelists—who will also address what can be done to avoid the fate Butler imagined for our community—include Patrick Sharp, chair and professor of Liberal Studies at CSULA; Michael Willard, professor of Liberal Studies at CSULA; and Michael Koh, pastor of Vision Christian Fellowship Church in Pasadena. The moderator will be Catherine Haras, information literacy coordinator at CSULA.

A CSULA alumna, Butler (1947-2006) was recognized as “the first African-American woman to gain popularity and critical acclaim as a major science fiction writer.” Butler garnered several awards for her writing, including a 1984 Hugo Award for her short story, “Speech Sounds,” and a 1985 Hugo for her novella Bloodchild, which also won the 1984 Nebula Award. In 1995, she received a five-year $295,000 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

For more information, go to or contact Christina Sheldon, University Library, at (323) 343-4824.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.