book review · literature

Book Review – Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

I first heard about the Patternmaster series last year from a friend who had been introduced to it. My husband bought me the four-book series for Christmas and I read them in chronological order as I intended to. There are two ways to read the Patternmaster series: 1) Publication Dates or 2) Chronological Story Dates. I chose to read them chronologically and am happy I did so.

In Wild Seed, we are introduced to the main characters Doro (an immortal spirit being that travels between bodies) and Anyanwu (a self-healing, shapeshifting woman of African descent). They immediately meet one another in the beginning and the rest of their book is a recounting of their experiences together and the transitions they both go through as they learn what it is to be the beings they are as well as how they want to live their immortal lives on this planet.

Many are put-off by the constant references to incest and in-breeding that take place throughout this story and throughout the 300-400 years you are reading about. These elements did not bother me, not because I would partake in these behaviors, but because it is no different than royal bloodline breeding within British Royal families of the past or any royal lineage that has existed at some point in time. This is usually done through cousins and distant relatives and usually is not immediate siblings. There generally was no immediate incest taking place in this story either.

It is important to focus more on the existential meanings in this science fiction novel that take us from birth to death, in whatever form we experience this, and understand who we all are as beings and what is important to us. For, without our own self-development, the development of others is meaningless.

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