This is a dual post. I am participating in A More Diverse Universe Tour but I received this galley for review via Netgalley. First I want to say what an awesome idea this was to highlight speculative fiction with a focus on authors that are people of color. Diversity in reading is something that I strongly believe in. After recent events, which will be discussed later, diversity in reading will also be one of the focuses of my blog. For more information, or to look at other diverse posts, check Aarti's blog at http://www.aartichapati.com/2012/09/a-more-diverse-universe-schedule.html
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
The Patternist Series- Book 1
Open Road - July 24, 2012
320 pages - Adult, Fiction, Speculative
*Octavia Butler passed away February 24, 2006, so all information posted on either site is posted by people wishing to keep her work and memory alive.*
Read what this book is about: here.
A copy of this digital galley was given to me, free in exchange for my honest opinion.
Where do I start? I have been a huge Butler reader since the first time I read Kindred for a college English Class. She revolutionized my opinion of science fiction much the same way she revolutionized the genre, I have come to expect a world that may take me a while to get acquainted with, but once I have it becomes almost like a second home to my imagination. I expect characters that walk, talk and act as if they are living and breathing real people. And a story that is just a story for those who only want to tangle with the surface, but for those who wishe to go deeper there's layers upon layers to go through. I got exactly what I expected plus more with Wild Seed.
I cannot even begin to imagine what life was like for Doro or Anyanwu, to live so long without end and always believing that you are the only one that carries the weight of supernatural abilities. Doro has accepted his lot by seeking out and creating others that are similar (but nowhere near as powerful) to him. He has little colonies of people that he breeds with each other and with others that he finds in the hopes of making someone that would one day be a companion to him. He has made himself out to be a god to his people and he creates his own rules and ways of living. The only law that his people have is to not disobey Doro. The punishment is death. Anyanwu's choice is to live her life as unnoticable as she can make it. She has accepted that she is the only of her kind and she does what she can to make her area better for it.
Both are abnormally strong and there are times when their differences compliment one another. But, there are also times when their strengths push them into dangerous areas, possibly pushing them to the limits of their self control. Anyanwu goes with Doro, the first and only man who has enough strength and unchallenged power to make her submit, in the hopes of sparing her children the heartache of becoming one of Doro's possessions. I don't want to give too much away, because like most of Butler's work, Wild Seed, is more than a book it is an experience. I was hooked from the beginning, and I allowed myself to trek through the wild and the colonies to see the world that Doro and Anyanwu were imprinted on.
Matters of faith, gender issues, racism, incest and slavery all find their place within these pages. Even the cruelest find sympathy when I thought that I couldn't muster up any for him. Once again, I have found another reason to follow Butler's work. Though I am sad that she is not around to create more worlds and tell more stories, what she has left us with will be read over and over again.
Recommendation: Wild Seed is the first book in the Patternist series, and is a great place to start if unfamiliar with her work. I recommend this if you are looking for amazing science fiction, if you are looking for stories with substance that are captivating.
What's Next? Mind of My Mind
5 Stars *****