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Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)
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Clay's Ark (Patternmaster #3)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,458 ratings  ·  172 reviews
In a frightening near future, an alien disease is poised to become a devastating global epidemic—unless someone can stop it

Blake Maslin and his two daughters are driving to Flagstaff when bandits swarm their car. At gunpoint, the marauders kidnap one of Blake’s children, promising to keep her safe in return for medical care. Warily, the doctor goes with them, not realizing
ebook, 224 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published 1984)
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I enjoyed the purity of this science fiction tale on the theme of alien possession. In this short novel of less than 200 pages, we are subjected to an intense story of survival of a single family with the fate of the human race at stake. The terrible choices they must make put it over the line into the territory of psychological horror. What makes this book stand out is its use of the story as a doorway to larger themes of what it means to be human and to be part of a community.

Written in 1984,
This was the most disturbing book by Octavia E. Butler that I have read yet, further inspiring my desire to have a conversation with her to find out just how that brain worked. Her concepts are fascinating, even when as disturbing as this one.

Perhaps it was the violence against young children that has me troubled. The ending, certainly, is not for the faint of heart. However, I did not dislike this book because of this. My dislike comes, perhaps from a bias regarding its place as part of the See
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Where Butler gets it right—always gets it right—is in the fascinating premises she builds her novels on. Where she occasionally gets it wrong is in the development.

Butler published Patternmaster in 1974, and then spent the next eight years filling in the history of the far-future world she had created. This produced Wild Seed, which became one of her best novels, but it also produced Survivor, which she later disowned, and Clay's Ark.

Clay's Ark has the usual Butlerian sexual, racial and xenophob
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
Many bad decisions were made in this book. So many. You can't just use a mind controlling organism group. Butler sucked me in with this normal, average father and twin daughters, one of which with Leukemia is just crossing a desert, minding their own business until they meet skinny, creepy people.

The skinny, creepy people turn out to have a disease. You get flashbacks to how that spread which are a bit confusing.

Then you follow this father and his daughters through their horrible plight which

3 stars

The sole survivor of a scouting trip returning from a far star, Eli, host to a powerful and contagious alien symbiont, tries to satisfy its demands without infecting the rest of the Earth.

It's finally clear to me that this is a 'series' in the sense of shared universe, not a continuing plot line. (I guess I might have been served better by a little research, rather than plunging in blindly. It seems Ms. Butler started with the fifth book and added the others somewh
Paul Eckert
This is the third book I've read in the Patternist series, going in the order they are collected in Seed To Harvest. I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind, and those two books were directly related, with a few of the same characters 200 years down the road. However, I didn't notice any direct links between Clay's Ark and Mind of My Mind, but maybe I missed something.

Anyway, here's the plot in a nutshell: an astronaut has crash landed on Earth, carrying with him a contagious disease-or
First off Clay's Ark has almost nothing to do with Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind. I have yet to read Survivor or Patternmaster, but from what I know, Clay's Ark provides explanation for the events in Survivor.

Anyway, with that in mind, Clay's Ark should almost be viewed as a stand alone novel. Granted, all the novels in this "series" are, since everything the publication order does not fit with chronological order.

Graphic scenes are abundant in Clay's Ark. I think they fit along with the plot, b
At first I expected Clay's Ark to have more ... human interest? for me than Mind of My Mind.

Both novels concern a sort of new development for humanity -- Mind of My Mind has people with psychic abilities who are gaining power by working as a group, and Clay's Ark has an isolated set of people infected by an alien disease which changes them completely. All of the major characters in Mind of My Mind were part of the in-group of psychics; there was no real voice for the ordinary humans whom the psy
MeiLin Miranda
The last-written--and least--of the Patternist books. Butler's almost parasitic alien life form is frighteningly believable, as is the fate of the people it infects...and the story is so very bleak. I don't do bleak well. That's not why this is the least of the Patternist books. Butler was filling in the gaps, splicing the last thread in the story she began weaving with Patternmaster, and that's exactly how it reads.
Baal Of
It's difficult to see how this grim, violent book fits in with the rest of the patternmaster books, since there appears to be no connection with Doro and his cultivated family of mutants. There was the briefest mention of a particular victim of the disease having been better able to cope with the disease, with implication that this survivor might have been connected to Doro, but since I didn't make a note of the passage, I can't find it now, so who knows if I'm just making that up. The alien pla ...more
Logan Christian
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Clay’s Ark… A few weeks ago I wrote this blog post about how my tbr pile wasn’t very diverse. I aimed to correct that. After a rather exhaustive (and frustrating search) and my local used bookstore, which is nearly as big as a wal-mart, I came away with a tattered, book club version of Octavia E Butler’s novel, Clay’s Ark.

I was not prepared for what I read.

First, that was the worst cover I’ve seen in some time. It was purple with small white splotches all over it. I *think* it was supposed to be
Aug 27, 2008 Erika rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erika by: Todd
There are a lot of books and movies about a post apocalyptic world. Count on Octavia Butler to write about the events of the apocalypse instead and to invoke a complex mix of feelings that leave you thinking about your humanity for days.
That being said, this was my least favorite of her books so far. I found it gritty and raw in a way that I personally find uncomfortable. I also felt that there was much less of the character development that I have come to expect and enjoy.
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I have no idea why this is supposed to be linked to the last two Patternmaster series books. The only link is one that was obviously contrived, and is completely irrelevant to this book.

In this book and the last, one of Octavia Butler's patterns becomes clear. She reuses names from novel to novel. For example, there is a family surname Larkin that figures fominently in the second of this series, and the name Asa in this novel. Both names reappear in the Earthseed series written many years later
Julie Decker
A disease of sorts--or rather, a sort of alien possession--is threatening to sweep humanity, changing the people it touches so they can no longer call themselves human. Should those affected exile themselves, or is a cure possible?

In another book in this series, Patternmaster, the descendents of those affected here are called Clayarks, and they're regarded as disposable, dangerous, subhuman entities. This book explains how the Clayark disease happened and what exactly it is. As for the story it
This is probably my least favorite of the Patternist books, but it was definitely important in understanding a certain perspective in the related book Patternmaster, not to mention that it was interesting to see how the Clayark disease began.
Zanetta Robinson
The writing is fine, but so far, the story is boring the crap out of me. I dont care about ANY of these people. AT. ALL.

How can an author write one book and make me love EVERYONE, then write a different book in that same series that makes me give less than a damn? I dont know.

Update 5/5/14: I felt supremely guilty, so I finished the entire book. Clay's Ark was...interesting, I guess. I didnt give a hoot about any of the characters, except for maybe the astronaut guy, whose name I dont remember
Okay, so I don't know how to rate Octavia Butler's work. This book was fantastic but also horrifying. 3 isn't enough stars but I don't know yet if I can say I really "liked"it.
Jim Brucker
Excellent, compact story that reads fresh and current. All of these zombie-outbreak fanatics could learn something from Butler's amazing combination of humanity and brutality.
Jesse Lehrer
This was my favorite book so far in the series. It was so weird and uncomfortable and disturbing. Aka: classic Butler. I still like the Xenogenesis series's much more cohesive and flows better, but this series is definitely very enjoyable and thought provoking as well. This one veers off a lot from the prior two books so I'm interested in seeing what happens in the last book. To be honest, I'm not even really sure why it's a series beyond the first two books, it jumps around so much. ...more
Adam Shields
Short Review: This is a one off book from the series. It feels different from the rest (but I guess all the book in this series feel different from the rest). It is a meditation on slavery like all others, but this time it is an alien control story where the alien is a microbe and we become enslaved to our changed biology. Of the books that I have read by Butler, this is the closest to a horror story, although it is not quite that. It feels a bit like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but with a bit m ...more
Butler is such a glorious pessimist. Here the pessimism most evident in Parable of the Sower shines through. This is a dark dismal tale that we all know from the beginning can only end badly. I was constantly wondering if she was going to be able to rescue a smidgen of hope from the decay of humanity. What’s most striking is that she tells this dystopian tale without using any bang of an apocalypse, just a slow whimper. Chilling!
Still an interesting book, its place inside the series felt off until I read the final book. This is partly because the first and second book have the same sub-main character and the same viewpoint, but this one mentions nothing of the first two books. I was also deeply frustrated by a sense that there are no really good male characters. Like...there are non-rapist men in the book who try to be good, but ultimately they refuse to listen to and order around the women in their lives. Plus there ar ...more
Parts of this reminded me of the unpleasantness that kept me from continuing with Parable of the Sower. It's only loosely connected to Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind.
Octavia Butler does not pull any punches with this book. It's a sort of offshoot of the original stories (although of course these were not written in chronological order) that sets up the last book. The world has gone in a more Mad Max direction, at least in the uncivilized areas, but the story itself is a lot more brutal as well. (Some content warnings for sexual assault are warranted here, I think)

But I still enjoyed it and want to see what results from the events in this book and the previou
It is so hard for me to admit that I didn't like an Octavia Butler book. This year one of my reading resolutions was completing her catalog by filling in the gaps of the 5 or so things I hadn't read yet, this series being a big chunk of that. Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind are the first two books in the Patternist series, followed by Clay's Ark. Either of the first two books would work on its own, and Mind of My Mind is brilliant. I'm not sure what is happening with Clay's Ark. It seems to have n ...more
Set in the near future, in a world where humanity has turned life into a cesspool, a doctor and his two teenage girls find themselves kidnapped by a strange, and apparently ill, group of people.

The group is headed by Eli, a astronaut, who has brought back to Earth a microorganism bent on creating new beings by infecting humans and manipulating their DNA. Unable to control their more "animalistic" impulses, yet wishing to save humanity, the group isolates themselves on a ranch in the desert, onl
So, this is the first book by Octavia Butler I've ever read. I have felt recently like I should just give up on fantasy/sci-fi in general since most of what I've encountered over the past few years has been disappointing at best. But in reality, the urge to read these genres will probably never let me go. Maybe it's an alien virus I contracted as a youth, and is the reason why, whenever I avoid the fantasy/sci-fi aisles at the bookstore or library, I get the shakes and sweat profusely.

Octavia B
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The Blerd Book Club: Clay's Ark by Octavia Butler 3 27 Sep 24, 2013 08:59AM  
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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)
  • Patternmaster (Patternmaster, #4)
Kindred Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) Fledgling Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)

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