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Clay's Ark (The Patternist Series Book 3) by [Butler, Octavia E.]
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Clay's Ark (The Patternist Series Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in The Patternist Series (4 Book Series)
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Editorial Reviews


“Haunting, apocalyptic, compelling. . . . Butler’s prose is sharp and lucid, and Clay’s Ark offers a complex rendering of the interior journeys of characters dragging themselves across a violent and lethal future world.” —Essence
“Exceptional. . . . Butler is a realist, writing the most detailed social criticism and creating some of the most fascinating female characters in the genre.” —The Village Voice
“One of science fiction’s finest writers.” —The New York Times

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: 4208 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (July 24, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 24, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,233 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The last novel in her Patternist series to be published, it shares a lot more in common with her Xenogenesis trilogy in tone and subject material. Of the Patternist novels that I have read, that group seems more oriented towards questions of power and dominance--basically, who is stronger, and what are the responsibilities of that role. The series actually begins with Wild Seed, which explains the character of Doro, who then sees a success in his human breeding program in Mind of My Mind. Clay's Ark is next in the timeline, but it only refers obliquely to the existence of a psionic pattern (late in the novel, it explains the macguffin for the faster than light drive used by the spaceship that returns to Earth), but it mainly concerns the alien organism that creates the Clayarks. The next book, Patternmaster, shows these two groups--the Patternists and the Clayarks--millennia later, both almost unrecognizable as human.
It is this evolution away from humanity that becomes the main theme of Xenogenesis, but it is in the forefront of Clay's Ark. The difference, however, is that this evolution is almost entirely negative here, whereas in Xenogenesis there's an ambiguity to it that makes it much more complex than just a good/bad issue. Change happens (to quote Butler's more recent work). Why is it negative here in Clay's Ark? Because of the mindlessness of the extraterrestrial interaction. As humans, thinking and feeling humans, we see ourselves as ratiocentric--that is, we value the power of logic and rational thought and discount the so-called "animal" urges of instinct and biological compulsion.
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By A Customer on January 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
If you've read her excellent _Mind of My Mind_ and _Patternmaster_, you might wonder about how the world changed so much between these two novels and what exactly these Clayarks are. Well, this book clarifies much of this. While it's probably a notch below the other two in the series, it's well worth reading and essential if you want a complete understanding of the Patternmaster series
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Format: Paperback
I was so enthralled by "Dawn" and the subsequent books in that trilogy that I set out to read everything I could by Butler. Overall I find her novels to be exceptional sci-fi with some very thought provoking anthropology and history thrown into the mix. I was disappointed in Clay's Ark, and I think it was primarily because, compared to Butler's other novels, it was the leanest. While she comments on the bleak direction the future of the U.S. is headed in, this tale did not stay with me or terrify me the way the "Parable" books did. I didn't feel as attached to these characters as I did to their parallel counterparts in the Patternmaster. It's an interesting story, but not Butler at her best. If you're as obsesseive as I am about my favorite authors, read it anyway! If you're new to Butler, start with Parable of the Sower or Dawn.
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Format: Paperback
Clay's Ark is fittingly the final volume in Octavia Butler's Patternist series. While in the chronological order Clay's Ark would be third, its proper place in the reading order is that of the publication order: fifth. Some may find it preferable to read the Patternist novels chronologically, but this would be something of a mistake.

Patternmaster, the first published and last in the timeline, sets up our world as it will be in thousands of years. Technology has all but disappeared and there are telepaths ruling from households and controlling mutes, those humans without telepathic power. A third group are the clayarks, disease-ridden once humans who are disgustingly deformed and are feared and hunted. This brings us to Mind of My Mind where we see a world not too different than the one in which we now live, only the telepaths are only just beginning to take control. Next is the forgettable and all but disowned by Butler Survivor. The clayark disease has ravaged the Earth and one last group is permitted to settle a different planet. It ties into the Patternist world, but only from a tangent. Wild Seed gives us the origins of Doro, he who had the breeding program to develop the telepaths.

This brings us to the final novel in the Patternist sequence: Clay's Ark. Now, if we had not read Patternmaster we would have no idea what the clayarks are to become or what what the significance of the title Clay's Ark actually is. The title itself rewards readers of the series while it sets of warning bells about the content of the novel. If we are reading in publication order we know that the clayarks came from some sort of extra terrestrial virus / entity and that they overran the land. We know that something bad is coming and that this novel is likely to show us how it happened.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After the final confrontation between Mary and Doro in Mind of My MInd, I was really excited to start this next book in the Patternist series to find out the implications of that. However, instead this book is about an apocalyptic future and a small enclave of people trying desperately to keep a space disease from infecting the planet.

It's my understanding that this story is a prequel that explains some things in the final book, but i'm not entirely sure it needed telling. It's definitely obvious that this was an afterthought instead of a main idea. While prequels are always interesting, do they really contribute anything more than just filling in details and appeasing fans?

While the disturbing nature of this book definitely kept the pages turning, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Honestly, I was reading to see what happened not because I had any deep attachment to their well being. What I did find interesting was how this book took a different approach to the idea of a small group of people endowed with different abilities struggle to maintain their humanity. While in Mind of My Mind and Wild Seed this played out in the breeding networks of Doro and the mind control of Mary, this small group of people were fighting within every inch of their lives to resist dark urges that went against human nature and made a new societal structure for themselves.

Overall, while it had the disturbing action and interesting premise i've come to expect from Octavia Butler I am not so sure this was a book that necessarily needed to be written. Interested to see how this ties into the fourth book.
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