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Patternmaster Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1995

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect; Reprint edition (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446362816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446362818
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Octavia E. Butler was the first black woman to come to international prominence as a science fiction writer. Incorporating powerful, spare language and rich, well-developed characters, her work tackled race, gender, religion, poverty, power, politics, and science in a way that touched readers of all backgrounds. Butler was a towering figure in life and in her art and the world noticed; highly acclaimed by reviewers, she received numerous awards, including a MacArthur "genius" grant, both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the Langston Hughes Medal, as well as a PEN Lifetime Achievement award.

More About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the "grand dame of science fiction," was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter's Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.

Butler's first story, "Crossover," was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology. Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977. Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay's Ark (1984).

With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, "Speech Sounds," and in 1985, Butler's novelette "Bloodchild" won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.

Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995). Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The book's sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.

In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.


1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA
1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds
1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1995, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant
1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents
2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing
2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame
2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

Customer Reviews

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I think that she is one of the best science fiction writer of her century.
China Snardon
After reading Wild Seed, the first book in the series, I had to read Mind of Mind (Book 2) and finally, The Patternmaster.
M. Moore
Once again, her characters are full, first-rate creations that live on in the readers' mind afterword.
Robert J. Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The pattern established in the late 20th century by Mary, descendant of Doro, has continued into the far-flung future. Society is in three sects: The Patternists who are the ruling class. The Mutes -- humans who lack a psychic talent or ability, and the Clayarks, diseased half-human creatures -- who are regarded by the Patternists as mindless savages.

The story follows the two contenders for the right to take over the Pattern from the existing master of the Pattern who lies dying. Coransee, the elder, is brother to the younger but will not permit that to stop him from obliterating any obstacle between him and the ruling of the Pattern.

The most disturbing thing about the book is that plain, ordinary humans -- men and women who are neither diseased nor part of the pattern -- are spoken of with pity and treated little better than housepets.

The Clayarks turn out to be surprisingly sympathetic for disease-generated once-human mutations. They are displayed as easily as human as anyone else on the world which bears only passing resemblance to the Earth that we still recognized from Mind of my Mind.

The ending is only slightly surprising. But Butler's pervasive and unsettling theme is that, one way or another, at least in her world view--the human race will only survive if it is dramatically changed into something else. Better or worse, she leaves to the discretion of her readers
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Nunnally Jr. on April 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The coming of age novel was a golden age mainstay. Butler's work here is reminiscent of the novellae of golden age writers. As we might have been in an Asimov, Heinlein or Silverberg, we are placed in midstream in a future history constructed as an extension of other Butler novels. Butler novels typically feature the dilemma of being human in a dystopian setting--this novel is no exception. This "future earth", inhabited by one group of humanoids with enhanced mental powers, and another group of intelligent nomads infected by an alien virus, is easy to wrap one's imagination around even if one is not familiar with the Butlerverse. Butler also spares us the detailed rehash of "prior future history to the present future history" that could weigh down (and no doubt increase word counts in Astounding Magazine of serializations of) the golden age novels. Instead,we have all of Butler's strengths at play--a direct, intelligent writing style, an ability to convey character in spare, plausible phrases, and plotting which is neither heavy science nor pure fantasy, but has a unique fictive plausibility allowing an easy "buy-in" by the reader. The book also has the factors that can make a Butler slightly off-putting--casual violence, a chilling soul-lessness permeating the characters, and an abiding sense of otherness. If you've always wanted to try Butler, but want to do one in an afternoon to see if you like her, this is the one to try. I read this during a 3 hour interval, and found myself never bored nor particularly desirous of a longer stay in this particular world than need be. Butler is the real thing--and this is not a bad introduction to her.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Moore on May 10, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading Wild Seed, the first book in the series, I had to read Mind of Mind (Book 2) and finally, The Patternmaster. This book is the 3rd of a series and it makes much more sense if you read the previous two.

In The Patternmaster, Butler finishes the story of the Pattern which began in Mind of My Mind. I would NOT recommend this book if you have not read the previous two. Too many questions are unanswered, it would only be confusing.

I would recommend the first novel, "Wild Seed," followed by the second, "Mind of My Mind." "Clay's Ark" is a side novel, but it explains the origin of the Clayarks and part of the reason Earth is so messed up. If you read them prior to "The Patternmaster," things will be clearer.

To Schwinghammer - The reason it seemed that she didn't tell you where the novel took place was because she'd already done so in the previous books. I think you'll find Wild Seed interesting and entertaining; Mind of My Mind is the set up for The Patternmaster.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By NappyGirl on July 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like some of the other readers, I was disappointed by the virtual absence of strong female characters in this Patternist story. I've read all four books in the series and found this one to be the least gratifying. With all due respect to Ms. Butler, whom I admire greatly, this book lacked the imagination of the prior installments and the central characters seems much less "human" in that they come across as one-dimensional and single-issue driven without much personality. At times the reading was frustrating and void of any recognizable emotion. I found no real chemistry between any of the characters since they all were completely at the mercy of the Patternmaster. Also, unlike most of Butler's other books, none of the characters (with the exception of the healer) are identified by race. Race and social conditions play no role in this universe that Butler has created which may be fine for some readers but those preferring more realism may not enjoy this effort. I would highly recommend the other books in the series: Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, and Clay's Ark for traditional or new Octavia Butler fans.
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