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Patternmaster (Patternmaster #4)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,446 ratings  ·  130 reviews
A despot’s heirs battle for control of all the minds on Earth

A psychic net hangs across the world, and only the Patternists can control it. They use their telepathic powers to enslave lesser life forms, to do battle with the diseased, half-human creatures who rage outside their walls, and, sometimes, to fight amongst themselves. Ruling them all is the Patternmaster, a man
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ebook, 208 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published 1976)
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Diana Welsch
Jan 29, 2011 Diana Welsch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Octavia Butler completists
Octavia E. Butler is one of a kind. She is a black feminist science fiction writer and the protege of the great and bizarre Harlan Ellison. She was the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant, which she was awarded in 1995 for pushing the boundaries of her field.

I was intrigued after noticing Kindred in the science fiction section of the library. "This must be miscatalogued," I thought, "Because it has a picture of a black woman on the cover, rather than a unicorn or s
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Lyn
Patternmaster by Octavia E. Butler is a mix of Ursula LeGuin and Robert Silverberg, with a nod to Frank Herbert.

The coolest thing about this very good read is Butler’s ability to create a world intrinsic to itself; the author has crafted a unique, distinctive culture that is alien to us but contextually correct for the world she has built.

Butler’s biography denotes a strong, singular personality and this comes through in her writing. Many books can boast a strong female lead, and Butler’s wome
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Wendy
After Clay’s Ark, I had no idea what to expect with The Patternmaster. What I did not expect was that the Clayark evolution would basically turn those people into animals – albeit really smart human-like animals – and that they would have no real purpose to their existence save to
be obstacles for the protagonists. Their humanity was almost completely stripped away, despite them fighting so hard to maintain what they could of it in Clay’s Ark.

This book focused otherwise entirely on the Patternist
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Dorothea
Patternmaster is the last book in this series by internal chronology, but it was the first published -- in fact, Butler's first published novel -- and it shows.

There is actually a fifth book in this series, Survivor, but it's never been reprinted because Butler decided it wasn't good enough. She described it as her Star Trek novel.

...Patternmaster is her Darkover novel. The kind without lesbian separatists.

It's set in the far future, hundreds of years after the psychics joined together in their
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Paul
This was not the best book in the series, however Butler wrote this book first and after reading the other books you get a sense that she had vision and great storytelling skills which she used to go back and write the other books. A great sci-fi experience overall.
Kevin Shoop
The Patternist series has been great fun to read, especially in suggested order rather than order of publication. This was the first published book of the series. The story was very good, although I was disappointed that there weren't more tie-ins to the other books (which really demonstrates how well Butler expanded the world in later-published prequels). The major themes of power, gender, human relationships, and slavery were there and illuminating as ever. There is so much more to explore and ...more
Metaphorosis

reviews.metaphorosis.com

2.5 stars

A talented young telepath finds himself sold off to a powerful lord. While he fights and plans to escape, he falls in with an independent female telepath and they form a bond.

People like to say that space opera is derived from westerns. Octavia Butler seems to have set out to prove that on a smaller scale. Patternmaster is transparently the story of a young cowboy ('civilized' man) out in the wilds, killing or escaping wily natives (mutated humans) at every turn.
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Melissa
This last book fell slightly short of the others, for me, mainly because I felt unsatisfied with the conclusion, and I didn't feel that it had the strength and depth of the others (although I think allowances can be made for this being the first one she wrote). But the journey was enjoyable enough that I'd still highly recommend the series.

Ultimately, the stories told in this series are almost all about different types of slavery. Physical/personal slavery, of external factors such as disease/mu
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Onefinemess
Another author that I've always known of but somehow managed to never read.

Also: random: this is the 4th book of a series? It's not noted anywhere on the book itself, so I'm guessing it's a disconnected series, maybe like LeGuin's Hainnish stuff? Whatever the case, I simultaneously didn't feel like I was suddenly thrust into the middle of anything and did feel like I could see where the 3 books preceding this one might lay.

OK, weird. Wiki says this was her first published book? Crazy! And so go
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Casey
Since I read all the other books first, including Survivor, I think my rating of Patternmaster is affected. The book doesn't give much background at all, you are thrown right in to everything. Even though it's a short, much is happening.

A summary for those not familiar: It's far into the future. There are many people with special mental abilities and powers, the result of a long breeding program over hundreds of years. It's not a military or governmental project - it's the result of an individua
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Titilayo

This book is short. Not so sweet. I had to pace myself so I wouldn't devour it in one sitting. It started off in the thick of things. A supreme being "the Pattern Master” is preoccupied with is slipping hold on to the fabrics that hold his world together-literally. He is in charge of the entire telepathic network of consciousness. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Scary, but not really. Unlike her other works this particular one is not as foreboding and apocalyptic as the others. Although the general premise
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Lisa
Again with the same complaint I had in the third book about no good men. Butler may even have been of the opinion that her main character is one, but I know better men than that so I have to disagree. I am happy about the agency the main female character showed and maintained no matter what people said to her. I am not happy about how magically the men were always more powerful in their gifts and the current patternmaster is male. What happened to the lady in book two? It clearly showed women we ...more
Kyra
I loved this very fast read, and all I have to say is if you like modern fiction--not just science fiction, you might want to read it for yourself and see if you like it, and maybe, read this one alone or early on if you decide to read the series.

Also, I'd suggest trying to ignore the reviews until you've finished them all, except for the parts where they suggest what order to read them in and where they were mostly summary or referenced Butler's other books or serial writing in general, because
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Julie Decker
In a future world governed by a telepathic ruling class, the Patternmaster is the central mind in the telepathic hub, and now that the ruler of the Pattern is dying, Coransee wants to be the next master, though that means taking the reins from his father and battling his brother for the position. The journey he must undertake will put him in physical danger long before he can attend the showdown, though; the wilderness is full of Clayarks--hostile ex-human creatures who can't be reasoned with.

Th
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Susan
The premise of all the books in this series was fascinating. I read them in their story order, as opposed to the order in which Butler wrote them (apparently Patternmaster was first, and the other three books were prequels). I found the ending of Patternmaster a little unsatisfying after so much buildup in the previous books, but this makes more sense now that I know how she actually wrote them. Fascinating stories that I will continue to think about -- the best kind of sci-fi.
Andrew
The first book in the Patternist series (ignore the #4 in the subtitle; this was actually the first book written and the fifth chronologically) is a bizarro dystopian-sci-fi-fantasy-western. It's more slight and more "fun" than the rest of the series, and it does a lot of graceful heavy-lifting in the world-building department. It's also only 140 pages, making it a quick and satisfying weekend read.
Alicyn
i like the extrapolation of future humanity based on extreme biology instead of extreme technology.

i read the patternmaster books in order of canon chronology, but if i could do it over i would read this one first. because it is so short and because it was butler's first novel, it really left me wanting more. (after that i would read wild seed and follow the chronology.)
Swankivy
Octavia Butler continues what she started in Wild Seed and jumps forward with the story arc begun in Mind of My Mind. It also intersects quite a bit with a parallel storyline in Clay's Ark. In a distant future where the telepathic Patternists have taken over society, we get both an epic plot and a personal story. I love when that happens.
Baal Of
I really hate to give Octavia Butler anything less than 4 stars on a book, but this one just didn't impress me. It was not bad, just very lackluster compared to the others in this series. Apparently this was her first book, and it shows. The characters are just not very compelling, and the plot is so simplistic - powerful telepaths fighting over control of the pattern. This book makes the events of the previous three books seem almost pointless. Humans went to another star for no other purpose t ...more
Courtney H.
Although the first book to be published, the one that rightfully sparked Butler's popularity, in the end I think this ended up being the weakest of the four novels I've read in the Patternist series (five were written, but Butler has rejected one of them and chosen not to keep it in print). It is inventive, imaginative, and probably groundbreaking for the time (published in 1977). But it is the history that she created for it, the saga that she developed around it with the other novels, that giv ...more
Jonathan Waxman
Four stars for an Octavia E. Butler novel is a lot more than four stars for any other book. Four stars for OEB means amazing, but not quite as amazing as her best work.
SBL
Possibly the weakest of the three Patternist books I've read so far, it suffers a bit from pacing problems and being a bit too short. The world is so far removed from our world despite being a distant future of ours, and yet almost no time is spent on detailing the long historical changes. Also, the Clayarks are not very well defined and their motivation to fight Patternists is never clearly iterated. Nevertheless, the book is compelling and does not duck from somewhat difficult topics. Bisexual ...more
Adam
My mom occasionally recommends Octavia Butler's books to me so I picked one up from the library. This was my first book by her, and it's a great one- or two-day read. Good sci-fi with sex, lesbians, and subtexts of colonialism, race violence, slavery, and genocide. Her treatment of the 'mutes' is interesting and it makes me wonder whether she deals with that culture in any of her other books. All in all this one is a fairly light read, but I'm definitely going to check out one of her longer, mor ...more
Paul
I came upon Wild Seed randomly about 10 years ago and I loved it, so I was very interested when I found out it was actually the last chapter (though chronologically first) in a full series. I'm not sure that the two books are thematically very similar, and this book is certainly nowhere near as rich in characterization or storyline as Wild Seed, but it's still an excellent first novel. The "first novel" flaws I see in it are generally the "good" type of errors - the characters and the world ten ...more
Paul Eckert
I've fully detailed how much I've loved the Patternist series in other reviews, so I'll just say the same applies here.

I've read these books in order as collected in Seed to Harvest, and in that collection this was the last book. In reality, it was the first book published of the four Patternist books.

In Patternmaster, the alien-diseased Clayarks and the telepathic Patternists control most of the world, having overtaken regular humans and keeping them as slaves (or in the case of the Clayarks,
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Desiree
This is the fourth book in the Patternist/Patternmaster series and while short it is still somewhat enjoyable.

This centers around the power play between Teray and Coransee. Both are descendants of the Patternmaster (Rayal) and while Coransee is plotting to take it over, Teray is mainly concerned with surviving and living a life that is free of bondage.

It was easy to side with Teray because Coransee was such an SOB. This is not to say Teray didn't have any arrogance flowing through his veins bu
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Outis
They use a Pattern. They've got murderous sibling rivalries. There's even a character called Amber...
But the main character is no Corwin. And while the setting is more interesting than most, it's not as grand as Zelazny's. Neither is the plot as inspired.

It's a pleasant read alright. Butler's yarn flows well as usual and she knows how to push people's buttons (though not subtly enough perhaps) in order to get readers interested. The book's magic has lots of intriguing features as well, from the
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Roddy Williams
‘The Patternmaster is dying. He rules his own race of selectively-bred, psionically powerful Patternists, who in turn dominate the non-telepathic servile ‘mutes’. A hostile third race – the mutant cannibal Clayarks – preys on the waste between the cities.
Now a successor must come forward to rule the Pattern and carry on the ruthless war against the Clayarks. In a savagely hierarchical, brutal society where all power is absolute and emotion is weakness Coransee and Teray, sons of the Patternmaste
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Melody
I did not know this was part of a series when I first read it. I wanted to read it just because it was Butler's first published book. Finished it a few days ago and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. The telepathic society aspect was really intriguing. I felt that there was more that could be done with it. The book is short and there is a lot left to the imagination.

All of the lead characters could have been fleshed out more. The hero had few redeeming qualities and I didn't particularl
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Abra
This was the book I liked second least... that's awkward. Of the Patternist Saga, Clay's Ark was most depressing, but this was the book that almost matched it for least enticing me. It's different, now, reading them in order, but knowing that Octavia Butler wrote this novel, Patternmaster first. I could see where she worked backwards to provide bridges to what-had-to-happen-first, and to locate the book in a plausible historical line. At first, when the book was published in the early seventies, ...more
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Viruses 1 3 Jan 12, 2015 07:23PM  
The Blerd Book Club: Patternmaster Discussion 11/3/13 - Spoiler Alert! 1 19 Nov 03, 2013 08:58PM  
The Blerd Book Club: Patternmaser by Octavia Butler 1 19 Sep 29, 2013 09:27PM  
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
More about Octavia E. Butler...

Other Books in the Series

Patternmaster (4 books)
  • Wild Seed (Patternmaster, #1)
  • Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)
  • Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)
Kindred Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) Fledgling Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)

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