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Wild Seed (The Patternist Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Octavia E. Butler
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When two immortals meet in the long-ago past, the destiny of mankind is changed forever

For a thousand years, Doro has cultivated a small African village, carefully breeding its people in search of seemingly unattainable perfection. He survives through the centuries by stealing the bodies of others, a technique he has so thoroughly mastered that nothing on Earth can kill him. But when a gang of New World slavers destroys his village, ruining his grand experiment, Doro is forced to go west and begin anew.
He meets Anyanwu, a centuries-old woman whose means of immortality are as kind as his are cruel. She is a shapeshifter, capable of healing with a kiss, and she recognizes Doro as a tyrant. Though many humans have tried to kill them, these two demi-gods have never before met a rival. Now they begin a struggle that will last centuries and permanently alter the nature of humanity.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.

Editorial Reviews


“Richly evocative . . . particularly striking.” —Chicago Tribune
“Among the best of contemporary SF writers.” —Houston Chronicle
“Butler’s literary craftsmanship is superb.” —The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. She received both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and in 1995 became the first author of science fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Her first novel, Patternmaster (1976), was praised both for its imaginative vision and for Butler’s powerful prose, and spawned four prequels, beginning with Mind of My Mind (1977) and finishing with Clay’s Ark (1984).
Although the Patternist series established Butler among the science fiction elite, it was Kindred (1979), a story of a black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, that brought her mainstream success. In 1985, Butler won Nebula and Hugo awards for the novella “Bloodchild,” and in 1987 she published Dawn, the first novel of the Xenogenesis trilogy, about a race of aliens who visit earth to save humanity from itself. Fledgling (2005) was Butler’s final novel. She died at her home in 2006. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 4102 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (July 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,058 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
"Wild Seed" is one of a series of superb science fiction novels by Octavia E. Butler. This story begins in 1690, and spans Africa and America. At the heart of "Wild Seed" is the enigmatic relationship between two powerful, and seemingly immortal characters: Doro, a sort of energy being who transfers from one host body to another, killing his hosts in the process; and Anyanwu, a shapeshifter who can assume forms of any species, and of either gender.
"Wild Seed" is both a psychologically perspective character study and a profound meditation on power and desire. Butler's philosophical canvas takes in such controversial issues as slavery, race, reproduction, and gender. In addition to being a superb example of the science fiction novel, "Wild Seed" is a stunning historical novel which expands the boundaries of African-American literature. As such, it would make a compelling companion text to such "canonical" novels as Toni Morrison's "Beloved." Also recommended: any of Butler's other outstanding novels, and her collection "Bloodchild and Other Stories."
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic December 13, 1997
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am not normally a science fiction fan, but this book gripped me from the start and I couldn't put it down. Butler's lean, spare style of writing helps keep the story tightly under control and moving briskly. In addition, her skill at constructing multi-dimensional characters is at it's best in this novel. It isn't easy to make individuals as powerful as Anyanwu and Doro seem like believable people with genuine human emotions, but Butler pulls it off, showing startingly empathy with her characters, especially Anyanwu. The relationship between Doro and Anyanwu is so skillfully done you can't help but think of them as real people. The book is rich with both historical and sci-fi detail and gives the reader an almost overwhelming sense of epic scope while basing the story around a small, intimate cast. Butler is an excellent writer and this is arguably her finest effort -- a good book to start with if you haven't read her before.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the sheer power of imagination July 26, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Octavia Butler book I read, recommended by a friend who is a fan of hers. I was not disappointed. Her "speculative fiction" contains ideas which are only a few degrees removed from our current reality. At the rate humanity is evolving, there may come a time in the future when psychic gifts, immortality, supernatural healing abilities and astral travel are innate characteristics, as opposed to legend or the rare, often disputed examples that exist today.
In this story, Doro and Anyanwu, two powerful beings, cross paths. The core story of Wildseed is the developing and deepening relationship between these two beings, and their relationships to lesser evolved, but still powerful, beings like them. Doro "farms" these poweful beings with rare gifts; he engineers them. Anyanwu just is; she is "wildseed," and occasionally out of Doro's control. Although Anyanwu is female and Doro male, their power, sensitivity, passion, and determination transcend; they are portraits of the most powerful, the most full, that a human spirit can be. Seen as metaphors for human spiritual development, Anyanwu and Doro are the fantasies many of us carry in ourselves, the fantasy of ultimate power, a power of Creation that borders on the divine.
Butler's writing is strong, supple and gorgeous. She's the type of writer than can turn a phrase so beautifully, that you'll read it over several times, letting her insight and creativity sink in. Butler's imagination is wide open. Only a mind totally open could dream up characters such as these.
Although I haven't read any other Butler books, I did buy "Earthseed" to read next. Butler's writing is a gift, a magnificent talent that cuts to the heart of the matter.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars _Wild Seed_ has it all. February 9, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In his book _How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy_, the famous writer Orson Scott Card says about _Wild Seed_ that "nobody handles exposition better than's a terrific novel that you ought to read for the sheer pleasure of it." I'm with him--this book is one of my very favorites. Octavia Butler is not nearly as outstanding for being an African-American woman writing speculative fiction as she is for the sheer quality of her writing, especially in this book. It has everything. Sure, in terms of the genre, it has great "hooks": the reader can speculate about the genetic basis for the abilities of the soul-stealing Doro and his "seed"--shapeshifting Anyanwu, telekinetic Isaac, and many others; and the novel has a grand scale, since Doro is two or three thousand years old, and the action starts in Africa and crosses to the young America. But this is far more than your ordinary science fiction novel. It has appeal for a wider audience. Doro, Anyanwu and the other characters have deep, complex personalities--you will care about them deeply, with love and hate and pity. When Butler writes violence, it's like real-life violence: sudden, shocking, sometimes fascinating but usually sickening. Butler's language is beautiful, but it's her plot, characters and imagination that put you in a mindlock. I only rated _Wild Seed_ 9 out of 10 because I know that some people find the ending a bit unsatisfying. Personally, I think it's perfect: the main conflict is between Doro and Anyanwu, so once that gets worked out, the story has to end. If I were to be completely subjective, I'd give it a full 10.
And by the way--yes, it is nice to have a (convincing) black woman playing the lead.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive!
Read it in one night. I couldn't put it down.
Published 23 hours ago by Akili Amina
4.0 out of 5 stars I had to read it for a class but I ...
I had to read it for a class but I find it interesting. Definitely a milestone book for the time period it was released.
Published 1 month ago by Lylaoceanpico
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book was amazing!
Published 1 month ago by Pat DeJarnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Read
This was my first read by Octavia Butler, but won’t be my last. This book was a little different for me, but I’m glad I read it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh!
Started good and intriguing. Then at the middle just kept a holding pattern to the end. Minor resolution.
Published 3 months ago by Michael Shumate
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good write, well organized, an easy read. The story is enchanting but haunting.
Published 4 months ago by Maureen Allen Holder
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book...
This book is more than just a's a tale. One that wonderfully weaves the readers mind into it's characters emotions. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tasneem89
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story Line
Great story line - completely different. I love the dominating role of the africa decent of the female - great great great story line.
Published 7 months ago by Victoria
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Unusual as only Octavia Butler could create.
Published 8 months ago by Sharon Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a personal favorite now
Published 8 months ago by damulaan santiago
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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

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