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(Patternmaster #4)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  5,490 ratings  ·  390 reviews
The combined mind-force of a telepathic race, Patternist thoughts can destroy, heal, rule. For the strongest mind commands the entire pattern and all within. Now the son of the Patternmaster craves this ultimate power, He has murdered or enslaved every threat to his ambition--except one. In the wild, mutant-infested hills, a young apprentice must be hunted down and destroy ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by Aspect (first published 1976)
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Jess No- it's either the first, or the last in a 4-book series, depending on who you're asking. Butler wrote Patternmaster first and then added prequels (t…moreNo- it's either the first, or the last in a 4-book series, depending on who you're asking. Butler wrote Patternmaster first and then added prequels (they take place before the events of Patternmaster). Later, they were published in chronological order- with Patternmaster last.

With the caveat that I just finished P- and haven't read the others yet, I'm going to recommend reading them in the order they were written, based on some reviews here where people read them in chronological order and were disappointed. I suspect the quality increased as Butler expanded on the ideas and gained writing experience, so reading them chronologically may feel like a letdown.(less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Patternmaster: Clearly a first novel - Wild Seed is much better
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Patternmaster (1976) was written first in Octavia Butler’s 4-book PATTERNIST series, but comes last in chronology. It takes place several hundred years after Clay’s Ark (1984), back in the Forsythe, CA territory where the Patternists settled down earlier. Society remains scattered and non-industrial, and power is divided between the Patternists, a network of linked human telepaths who can kill a
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Patternmaster is the last volume of Ms. Butler’s classic* Patternist series (AKA “Patternmaster series”. I read this volume as part of the omnibus Seed to Harvest which consists of the entire series except for the one volume that Ms. Butler disowned and removed from publication**. Patternmaster is also her very first published novel, and of course, she makes it looks as if she has been doing it all her life. Having said that, it is not as polished as her later books.

I read vol 4 Clay's Ark
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Within Butler's own work it would be 3 stars, but compared to other authors that I rated this is a 4.

I started the Patternmaster series with this chronological last book, because it was published first. I had the feeling that it would be best to read the volumes as they were written, and in hindsight this was a good decision.

On its own "Patternmaster" is a good sf novel with a fascinating worldbuilding and a social development of humankind that gives food for thought.
Diana Welsch
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dawn C
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Alright, miss Butler, I’ve had my fill of this particular universe. If I never read a book about mind control, sexual coercion, violence, rape and incest again I shall be very happy.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Next to Survivor this is my least favorite Butler novel. Because this was written before Mind of My Mind it feels like a major key down but in fact it's just earlier work.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I could not get my mind off this series....the connection of the stories, but I think I understand. The suggested reading order of these novels makes since to Mi now, Wildseed and Mind of my mind gives you the story of how the patternist came to be, all because of Doro. And the people from Clay's Ark and the Patternist are rivals and these two different stories are actually happening at the sametime, in the same world. I think it's a brilliant concept, if I'm right of course.
Kevin Shoop
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Grade: B

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 exp
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Francesca Calarco
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now that I have finished this book, I have officially read every novel Octavia Butler wrote and published in her short and beautiful lifetime, and am now truly at a loss for what I should even do with my life. I mean, obviously I am going to now seek out her short stories, essays, interviews, and posthumously published work, but as a super fan I still cannot help but feel sad and empty inside.

My dramatic and nonsensical whining aside (sorry, this is a terrible way to start off a “review”), Patt
Justin Pickett
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Patternmaster is a solid conclusion to one of the best science fiction/apocalyptic series of all time. Two post-human races remain on earth after an apocalypse (see Clay's Ark), each possessing superhuman abilities, either mental or physical. They are at war with each other: “Patternists and Clayarks stared at each other across a gulf of disease and physical difference and comfortably told themselves the same lie about each other … ‘not people’” (p. 709). Patternists’ society is feudalistic, and ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Still really into this Patternmaster series. Got a little more difficult to get through toward the end (books 1 & 2 were my favorite) but I still was glad to see it through. What a story arc she wove. Will have to read more Butler. ...more
Am i missing something or is this series incomplete?
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
When considering reading the multi-book "Patternist" series by Octavia Butler, an early question you might ask is, "in what order?"

Butler wrote the books in a chronologically scattered timeline, with the last story chronologically being the first written and published. In the intervening years, publishers (and maybe Ms. Butler herself) re-released the books with numbers indicating the series should be read in a chronological order, the timeline beginning in the 16th century and ending many cent
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mount-tbr-2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Patternmaster was so disappointing. This is the weakest book in the series. I learned that Octavia e Butler wrote this story first, and the other books were to explain the origin of Patternmaster, a sci-fi dystopian.
I was expecting an all out war between the ClayArks and Patternist, but this was just politics. The plot moved fast, and I wasn't able to attach to any characters. I think that this book was mainly plot based and the character development was side lined.
The ClayArks were not really
Andy Giesler
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating, well-conceived world, and an engaging story. The prose is clear and enjoyable, and the story moves along briskly. I love Octavia Butler's work.

This would have been a five-star book for me except for the characters. I found only one, (view spoiler), to be likable—or even relatable. I found the protagonist and narrator to be (view spoiler)
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I read the Patternmaster books in in-universe chronological order, and I think it would have been better to go Clay's Ark -> Patternmaster -> Wild Seed -> Mind of My Mind, and skip Survivor. I could also see reccing Clay's Ark or Wild Seed as standalones, the former for quick-paced excitement and the latter for thoughtful character-driven worldbuilding. The series didn't really come together for me as a whole, but those two were individually excellent, and have essentially nothing to do with eac ...more
Faris Abdala
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it

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
Ellie Reynard
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it

I adore the Patternmaster series. Books 1 & 2 manage to achieve the kind of "internal" magic in a believable and captivating way. I mean internal magical battles happening inside peoples' head which I've tried to write before and are incredibly easy to make dull. Well it is for me. Let's not talk about my writing.

Even "Clay's Ark" is great. I was initially thrown off by the fact that, whilst it exists in the same universe as the rest of the series, it might as well not. Titular Cla
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A reread after I read the other books in the series.
If one says "Octavia E. Butler", the overwhelming response is "Patternmaster". So, it's about time I got to this classic. Note: I have the audible book but didn't find it on the list, but that is what I'm reviewing. Second note: even though I bought it and read the description, I completely missed that this was book 4. I normally hate coming into the middle of a series but I feel this was written so that while I am sure I missed a lot of references, I did not feel like I had huge holes in plot o ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid conclusion (sort of strange given that this is the fourth book, chronologically, but first written. I now wonder what it would have been like if I'd have started with this one?) Really cool to see all the different stories come together. Since Wildseed and Mind of my Mind were so different than Clay's Ark it was nice to see them all connected here. All in all, a very strange concept. All our main characters are have come from breeding mutated humans into, almost, another species all toge ...more
Sam Benson
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
All in all, I enjoyed the Patternmaster/Patternist series quite a lot. It explores a lot of classic Octavia Butler themes in the simultaneously brutal/shocking and familiar/humanizing way that she does so well. But I definitely wouldn't recommend this series as an entree to Butler. This particular book (like Mind of My Mind in this series, too) left me wanting more depth and breadth of exploration in the world. Of the four books in the series, I enjoyed Wild Seed the most by far, and Clay's Ark ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Typical postapo world turned into a fantasy one.
The planet is divided into two, not three species. The patternist (from Wild Seed/Mind to mind), the Clayark (book 3) and the human.

The patternists are powerful bastards who have completely enslaves humanity. Though they have rules about treating them badly, the enforcement of the rules is left to powerful people... who can abuse them as they want.
The Clayark are nothing more that animalistic tribe. They kill or eat patternist, they kill or infe
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The Blerd Book Club: Patternmaster Discussion 11/3/13 - Spoiler Alert! 1 22 Nov 04, 2013 04:58AM  
The Blerd Book Club: Patternmaser by Octavia Butler 1 20 Sep 30, 2013 05:27AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

Patternmaster (4 books)
  • Wild Seed (Patternmaster, #1)
  • Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)
  • Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)

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