Lauren Oya Olamina

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Lauren Oya Olamina is the founder of the fictional religion Earthseed in Octavia Butler's two book series comprised of The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents. She is the daughter of a Baptist minister who teaches at the local university and serves the community in their walled-in neighborhood. Lauren suffers from hyperempathy, a condition that causes her to share in the pleasure and pain she perceives in others. Given the dystopian future the books are set in, there is a lot more pain than pleasure to be shared! Lauren's condition stems from her mother's addiction to Paracetco, a prescription drug she was abusing during her pregnancy.

As we follow Lauren through the two books she moves from being an isolated 18 year old to a revered religious leader for a religious movement that sends people out to seed the galaxy with life. This transition is marked in the two books by a transition in how people refer to her. In Parable of the Sower she is Lauren, in Parable of the Talents she is Olamina or "Shaper".

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