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Seed to Harvest Paperback – January 5, 2007

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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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (January 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446698903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446698900
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Prestina Thompson on January 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Think Sherri Tepper at her height (not the preachiness she's descended to). Think Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Think the moral dilemna's and characterization of Robin Hobb. When you think of these things you're close to understanding this series by Octavia Butler. Being a black woman I was initially intrigued by the idea of afro-centric science fiction. But this is soooo much more than that. Octavia Butler is one of the most talented sci fi writers I've read in god knows how long. Her characters may be racially African-American (and sometimes just African, and usually a mix of a lot of different races) but this book has nothing really to do with that. It does lightly explore racial inequalities, but focuses more on social inequalities, the plight of the impoverished. Even better than that the REAL focus of the book is the science fiction. It's not just a social commentary with a touch of the extraordinary. It's true hard core sci/fi fantasy, and it is extraordinary.

The book follows a race of mentally gifted individuals of all ethnicities forward in time from the pre-slavery era to around 2225. These individuals are breed like cattle to be the companions, family, science project and ultimately FOOD of the scariest super villian you ever want to read about....Doro. Doro is a superbeing, a soul-vampire. He is immortal in that he jumps bodies but not like the rather kindly Lestat in Anne Rices series. He has to jump bodies, it's how he feeds. He likes it. And the more mentally talented the person is the better the food tastes to him. He also has the ability of tracking a person that he's met anywhere, across continents and across time. You cant escape him, and the last thing you want to do is kill him. That would only precipitate him jumping into YOUR body.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By T. Pham on January 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this title while browsing around Amazon's New in Fiction January list, and was quite excited about the prospect of a new Butler book. Unfortunately, it is a compilation of books I've already read...bummer! I echo the comment left before me -- if you're new to Butler, great series to read.

Compilation includes the following novels: Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster.
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139 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine J. on December 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was extremely excited to learn that Octavia Butler had written a final book before her departure, and as she was my favorite author I rushed out to get this last work. Unfortunately, its a trick because its only a compilation of her pre-existing work and contains NO NEW MATERIAL! So, unless you're new to Butler, don't bother picking this one up. If you are new to Butler, its an excellent read and saves room on the bookshelf!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I can say without hesitation that this is one of the best hard sci-fi series that I have ever read. The concepts are breathtakingly ambitious - the birth of two new species of humans burst over 1,000 years - with wonderfully complex and realistic characters. I have read each of these novels separately several times, with great enjoyment, but this is the first time I have read them in sequence. The quartet is enthralling and, as with the best sci-fi, believable because scientifically plausible.

The first novel is perhaps my favorite. Doro, a seemingly immortal vampire-like mutant who is attempting to breed a race like himself, senses another powerful mutant (Anyanwu). Her follows her "scent" and compels her to accompany him, for breeding purposes. The result is a battle of wills like none that I have ever encountered in fiction: Doro is a cold and implacable killer, but Anyanwu is a healer that respects life. Over the course of over 300 years, they fight, through the lives of Doro's people, her escape and recapture, to a compromise. It is as exquisite as it is bizarre, full of historical imagery and unusual concepts.

In the second novel, Doro in a sense achieves his goal, but the result is not at all what he expected. The surviving mutants exhibit a range of powerful abilities, growing from the destructive side effects of Doro's many semi-failed experiments. There is a new battle of wills, as a new human species emerges. There is also the emergence of a new kind of social organization, a dependency between the two human species. Again, fascinating ideas and characters that evolve with great realism in fantastic situations. It takes place more of less in the present.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia McPherson on April 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been re-reading Octavia Butler recently and decided to tackle all five books of the Patternist series, yes, including the out of print Survivor that the author herself didn't like. When I first read these books, I read them as a straightforward adventure in evolution, but there is so much more between the covers. In many ways, it is a history of original sin and asks the question, common to all Butler books, 'Will we manage to overcome our flaws as a species/". As we all know, the answer to that isn't easy for the individual or the collective.

The novels are presented in the order the author decided served the storyline, rather than the order of publication, so keeping that in mind is important. We begin, with Wild Seed at the height of the Middle Passage with woman and a being, formerly a man, who have evolved into something beyond human. The man, the villain of the piece is determined to create a new telepathic and immortal race to keep him compnay over the long millennia. The woman provides the immortal aspect of the project as when Doro finds Anyanwu, she has been alive for 300 years and is capable of cellular healing and changing the shape of her body. We follow these two as they fight and as both are bred repeatedly to achieve the desired mixture. Is forced breeding for a noble cause immoral? When the species evolves, who is human? And of course, what would happen if some of the African diaspora had been able to magically escape slavery in the United States.

Next, in Mind of my Mind, centuries of breeding have finally produced the desired results, but will the offspring be more powerful than their creator? And what defines freedom and humanity? Are the strong destined to always subdue and use the weak?
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