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Wild Seed (Patternmaster #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,339 Ratings  ·  836 Reviews
Doro is an entity who changes bodies like clothes, killing his hosts by reflex or design. He fears no one until he meets Anyanwu. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss and savage anyone who threatens her. She fears no one until she meets Doro. Together they weave a pattern of destiny (from Africa to the New World) unimaginable to mortals.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1980)
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Jun 10, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the best stumbled upon moments in years. I was reading a book review by Orson Scott Card and he was waxing lyrical about Octavia Butler in general and this book in particular. Wild Seed is science fantasy as opposed to science fiction as a lot of the fantastical elements are scientifically improbable, though biology plays an important part in the story also. The story is about two immortals, a man and a woman; while they are both immortals the nature of their immortality is v ...more
Jul 09, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Dear Goodreads friends,

If you like to read science fiction / fantasy you should get to know Octavia Butler.



Butler’s 1980 novel Wild Seed is the first chronological book in her Patternmaster series. This details the beginnings of the sub-race of humans that will, in Patternmaster, be set in the far future. Butler begins her narrative in 1390, in West Africa, where her protagonist Anyanwu meets a strange young man named Doro.

So begins a centuries old relationship, often rocky, between two
I really don't know where to start with this review. Wild Seed is unlike anything I have ever read before but yet it was still very accessible and easy to read. I would say this book is a combination of urban fantasy, horror, historical fiction and fantasy. Butler addresses slavery, gender roles, racial issues, sexuality, and class issues so subtlety you can miss the commentary if you want to and she does this all through the lens of a fantasy world involving supernatural beings that are seeming ...more

As Woolf once said Middlemarch is one of the few English books written for grown-ups, so too is this one of the few pieces of science fiction written for the real world, not marketing and academia. Of course, so chock full is this work with critical engagement and unflinching history that the cries of 'polemic' and 'bias' would not be an unlikely reaction. If that doesn't work, 'prosaic' could always be used as a strong condemnation via completely arbitrary standards of institutionalized re
Wild Seed: Two African immortals battle for supremacy in early America
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Wild Seed (1980) was written last in Octavia Butler’s 5-book PATTERNIST series, but comes first in chronology. The next books by internal chronology are Mind of My Mind (1977), Clay’s Ark (1984), and Patternmaster (1976). Butler was later unsatisfied with Survivor (1978) and elected to not have it reprinted, so I will focus on the main 4 volumes. Wild Seed is an origin story set well befo
blog | goodreads

Most of us don't believe in gods and spirits and devils who must be pleased or feared. We have Doro, and he's enough.
What can I say about Wild Seed that could come anywhere close to doing it justice? This is the story of how Doro met Anyanwu, the only living soul on Earth who could possibly match his will; test his patience, endure his passive cruelty, and time and again defy him in ways even she could not possibly understand.

And forever is a long time to endure one another whe
[Name Redacted]
Butler's sci-fi classic has so much to recommend it. She is a very talented writer, and she creates a mythology and cosmology which are, if not unique, then arguably the best-developed of their kind. "Wild Seed" is beautiful and lyrical and powerful, but the rampant misandry and peculiar romanticization of pre-colonial Africa mar it -- infect it like a virus.

There is neither subtlety nor nuance in Butler's representation of the two sexes. No woman is ever a criminal or a monster or a villain --
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
My first foray into the unique world of Octavia Butler's imagination does not disappoint. Terrify, yes, and fascinate in an almost grotesque way, but it's oh so worth it. It is also a good example of speculative fiction and what you can do with it.

For over three thousand years Doro has wandered the Earth, gathering together those born special, with latent potential or abilities, usually mental, that can endanger themselves or others. Born human, Doro died during his own "transition" as a boy, ye
4.5 stars. How do I even begin to review this? I'm going to have to think on this for a few days. If you have Kindle Unlimited, do yourself a favor and read/listen to this book. If you don't, just buy it. Doro, a man who steals the bodies of others and uses the until he must find another or he feels he deserves the body of another person, finds Anyanwu in the African forests living alone on the fringes of a village as a old medicine woman. While searching for one of his lost groups of people, pe ...more
Mar 16, 2008 Rona rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy and sci-fi fans, women of color, history buffs
This is one of my favorite books ever, for its superb blending of atmosphere/landscape, characterization, politics, history, race/gender/sexuality, politics, and plot. Ms. Butler (may she rest in peace) created some of the most memorable characters in my mind in Doro and, of course, Anyanwu/Emma. I could read this book over and over. Just doing a text analysis of the opening 7 paragraphs is such an education to an aspiring novelist like me. Didn't like 'Mind of My Mind' as much, but wonder if an ...more
A great book, I can’t believe that I just discovered Octavia Butler this year. She has been one the gems that I have encountered while reading through the NPR list of classic science fiction and fantasy. This novel could easily be a stand-alone novel, but I was intrigued when I realized it was the first in a series—I will be very interested to see where Butler takes the story from here.

Although this is another book about extraordinarily long life, Butler examines it from a very different view po
Oct 22, 2015 Akirah rated it really liked it
This book drove me crazy! There were amazing moments in the book: moments where I was just truly shocked and excited. Times where I would tell my friends and family that Octavia Butler is one of the greatest writers to have ever lived. However, there were times where I struggled to get through it. The internal dialogue in this book is oftentimes long and repetitive. I found myself saying "Wrap it up, B" in the Dave Chappelle type of way.

However, I truly believe that if Octavia Butler was alive
Apr 21, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Octavia E. Butler's women are incredibly strong characters. One of her themes is that people are either masters or slaves but occasionally there is a person who refuses to be either and that person becomes persecuted for their refusal to be labeled. The main protagonist of Wild Seed is one of those persons. She is a mutant who has lived 300 years, both feared and respected in her African tribe yet always living on the outside for her protection. She meets another non-human that is much older and ...more
Zen Cho
Jun 05, 2007 Zen Cho rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, written-by-poc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it
This book wasn't as good a match for my mood as N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but it didn't suffer for being read immediately after it. It's an interesting concept: a being that might as well be a god, moving from body to body, amoral and utterly self-serving, trying to breed others like him so he won't be alone, and a being who is also immortal, or close to it, nurturing families so she won't be alone. The two of them are entirely different: Anwanyu loves the people she finds an ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
5 Stars

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler is book one in her Pattermaster Series. I am a huge fan of Octavia Butler and have loved many of her works. She writes about strong women. She also writes to explore deep subjects and situations utilizing her fiction as the means in which to explore them.

This is primarily the story of an amazing woman named Anyanwu. She is different from most people, a mutant per se. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter and a gifted healer. She can manipulate her body down to each indiv
Jan 14, 2011 Kane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: would-be writers
Striking and unique. Where do I begin? Maybe at the beginning. The first few paragraphs of Wild Seed are a lesson on exposition. From a careful reading we get a developing picture of a very odd character. We're encouraged to look further. We're repulsed. We're drawn back. We care.

This is the story of the meeting of two strange beings, Doro and Anyanwu. Both have incredible powers; but use them very differently: one kills coldly and easily and one is a healer. Their evolving and complex relations
Spider the Doof Warrior
Jan 24, 2015 Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it
Doro just needed a copy of Sims, but not Sims 4 because it sucks. Then he could breed people, manipulate them all day and have himself a good time without causing suffering and misery to actual people.

But, it would have been harder for him to find a body.

Somehow he gets drawn to Anyanwu living in some African town in the time of slavery. He ensnares this powerful woman in his web of control, dominance and general assholery as he tries to breed people he can fit in with.

And control. Because that
ThatEzi  (Oh My Shelves)
Normally, I am not a science fiction fan, but the cover seemed really intriguing. I decided to read it and I was not disappointed. This book was so engaging that I just couldn’t put it down.
The story was about two immortal beings, Doro and Anyanwu, and began a journey together. Anyanwu was a healer and a matriarch, whereas Doro was a parasitic patriach obsessed with creating the perfect civilization who would worship him. Doro was fascinated by humans and descendants who exhibited supernatural g
Jun 16, 2016 Skip rated it liked it
I did not like this book as much as many of my GR friends though it would be remiss for me not to state that Octavia Butler is a great creative force. Her imagination seems unbounded to me. There are two main characters, with differing views of the sanctity of life: Doro, who kills and inhabits the dead (a thousand year old spirit of sorts) and Anyanwu, who is a healer and fierce guardian of her tribe and family (a shapeshifter, who has lived for hundreds of years.) Doro's mission is breeding gi ...more
May 27, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love to read Octavia Butler. I'm sure I'll devour this series as quickly as the Xenogenesis series. She's so readable -- distractions melt away.
Kate Sherrod
Dec 16, 2012 Kate Sherrod rated it it was amazing
It's been too long since I immersed myself in one of Octavia E. Butler's magical-biological-genealogical-alien-witchcraft-historical-futuristic-mind-blowing series. I always forget, until I'm deep into one, how much I love them, love her way with language, with imagery, with storytelling, with poetry, with imagination.

Wild Seed begins a series I've long had my eye on but had long avoided because my local public library didn't have all of it: the Patternmaster series, a late entry in which (Survi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2007 Sean rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of feminist science fiction; non-boring people
Even after her death in 2006, Octavia Butler remains one of the foremost voices in science fiction. Wild Seed is wonderful embodiment of her work: in it, she tackles such disparate themes as dominance and submission; race and culture; the morality of genetics; feminism, femininity and femalehood; mortality and immortality; family, loyalty, love, friendship and hatred; and endurance at all costs. On top of this, the book is tensely plotted and full of strong, vibrant characters. Do not let the he ...more
I honestly didn't expect to like this book much but surprisingly I did. Once I got over the shape-shifting, gender changes, breeding/constant reproduction, et. al., I discovered it to be a much more complex book that dealt with familiar themes of race, gender, loneliness, healing, nurturing, power, manipulation, get the drift. It was also fascinating to follow the journey Anywanwu & Doro had to travel to get to the point they did. This was my first Octavia Butler novel and ...more
Alan Chen
Oct 04, 2015 Alan Chen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Doro is a spirit that has been alive for millenia by taking over a person's body and killing off the host. He has a breeding program where he breeds those with special abilities because he finds more pleasure in taking over those that have also unique extraordinary talents. When he visits Africa on a reconnaissance mission for wild seed, those that have unique abilities that are not already cultivated into his breeding program, he meets Anyawu, a creature he has never dealt with before. She, lik ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Allison marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allison by: Kindle Daily Deal
I'm going to invoke my 50 page rule on this one and move onto something else. I know I've really only read 45 pages, but skimming to get to 50 isn't going to help. I'm just not into it.
Jul 19, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Sometimes you find something amazing in the most random ways. I first discovered Octavia Butler while waiting in a mall. I haven't really been a mall person since I was about 17, but it was Christmastime, and I suppose malls are unavoidable. While listening to a band play holiday tunes in the center of the mall, I noticed a small bookstore I had never noticed before. Well, the band was pretty good, but they had nothing on a store full of books. Walking in, right on the first shelf I saw, was the ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Kimm rated it it was amazing
I am in awe as I revisit such a powerful work. I LOVED the way the late Octavia Butler painted such a rich portrait of two "immortals" making their way though decades, even centuries.

Doro, a powerful entity that survives by switching bodies (though his old ones die) encounters a "wild seed", Anyanwu, a forgotten priestess who has the ability to shape-shift and heal (herself and others).

I knew not to get too attached to the characters (as I am a long time fan of Octavia Butler's work) because th
Sep 05, 2015 Mona rated it really liked it
Read this too long ago to review properly.

Octavia Butler was an amazing writer, and most of what she produced was worth reading.
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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 (5 books)
  • Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)
  • Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)
  • Survivor
  • Patternmaster (Patternmaster, #4)

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“In my years, I have seen that people must be their own gods and make their own good fortune. The bad will come or not come anyway.” 24 likes
“Civilization is the way one's own people live. Savagery is the way foreigners live.” 19 likes
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