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Seed to Harvest (Patternmaster, #1-4)
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Seed to Harvest (Patternmaster #1-4 )

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,326 Ratings  ·  236 Reviews
Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a my
Paperback, 767 pages
Published January 5th 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1976)
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Jim Leckband
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great artist can write subtle and original variations out of the slimmest themes. Butler wrote "Patternmaster" first and this almost modest book contained the Seeds that were Harvested so movingly by Butler in the books to follow. These books explain how the societies that inhabit the Earth of "Patternmaster" came to be. This is a wild journey and I believe the work as a whole ranks up there with (or is better than) the standards of science fiction, from Foundation to Dune.

Wild Seed has a myt
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sciencefiction
I just reread this compilation of 4 of the novels of her Patternist series, as well as the other one, Lilith's Brood, which is a compilation of her 3 novels of the Xenogenesis series. She's one of my favorite writers ever. I had to go just now and bump her up on my list. The themes she gets at are so important.

With the whole relationship between Doro and Anyanwu, I sort of saw my mother and father's connection to each other again. Doro just operates by force to get his needs met and make what he
Overall impression :
I think my biggest gripe with this series is the cohesion. Even though all four are arranged in chronological order, the actual publication order is: Patternmaster (1976), Mind Of My Mind (1977), Wild Seed (1980), Clay's Ark (1984) and this discrepancy shows. It shows in the writing, ideas and concepts. Wild Seed (Book 1) and Mind of My Mind (Book 2) are the most connected because of Doro and Anyanwu. Clay's Ark (Book 3) just seems like an afterthought and more to give conte
Zanetta Robinson
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: afrofuturism
As usual, these are my thoughts, minus a summary/retelling. I'm sure there are many of those from other readers (or, you can go to the handy-dandy Wikipedia). First, ratings, then thoughts (with spoilers).

Wild Seed -- 5 stars
Mind of My Mind - 1 star (really want to give it a zero)
Clay's Ark -- 2 stars
Patternmaster -- 3 stars

I've updated my overall rating from 2 to 3 stars. (5/5/14)

Here be the spoilers

(view spoiler)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readsoullit, audio
Patternmaster- 4 stars
The last book in the Seed to Harvest series is a whopper of a book. It takes places hundreds of years after Clay's Ark where the world is split into two dominant factions and one minor: Patternist, Clayarks, and mutes (people not connected with the pattern and are not infected with the ClayArks disease). The war between the Patternist and the Clayarks has infected the leader of the Pattern, Rayal and the story is the struggle for power between two of his sons, Teray and Co
Kate Kulig
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Octavia Butler is easily my favorite author. Sadly, she does not get nearly as much recognition as she deserves. When I discovered her (thanks to great college professors) I found myself constantly asked, "Oh are you in Afr. Amer. Lit. (Women's Lit.)?"

Butler's stories are so much more than the color of the heroine's skin. This collection of the Patternist stories is easily my favorite because of the set up, follow through, and end of the series.

The story begins with the amazingly complex Doro an
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked these. It was recommended to me to read them in the order they were written, and didn't do that and regretted it. After reading them I would have preferred to have read them as she wrote them: Pattern-master, Mind of my Mind, Wild Seed, Clay's Ark. Wild Seed definitely superior to the others stories. There is an eerie creepiness to the stories that I like. I found the series disturbing and brutal.
Themes of identity and transformation propel the stories from run of the mill science ficti
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I miss Octavia Butler. There are so few writers out there with a voice that's anything like hers, and science fiction could definitely use some. This is a collection of four books from her Patternmaster series (presented in order of events rather than order of publication), which starts with an immortal trying to breed psychic humans so he can steal their bodies and follows the story all the way through to his descendants fighting an extraterrestrial virus that mutates their children. Pretty awe ...more
Christopher Perrius
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Octavia Butler is brilliant, a national treasure. Her renderings of strange worlds and beings are masterfully believable, calmly assured - no overwriting or overdramatization, yet startlingly strange and wonderful. This series blew my mind. It's been some time since I read it, I think it's time to go back, so I won't mention any detail, but I remember deeply how she shifted my sense of what it is to be human, of relationships, of quests for knowledge, of good and evil, of possible futures and pa ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
These books aren’t to be viewed as an epic series, connected through characters and adventures. Instead, it is four different stages in the human evolution Butler has imagined.

Wild Seed 5/5 stars
Mind of my Mind: 3/5 stars
Clay's Ark: 2/5 stars
Patternmaster: 3/5 stars

Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really cool books - after the first two books it became harder to predict what would happen. Octavia’s imagination takes readers from the shores of Africa to the modern industrial city, San Francisco in modern day. Octavia did a really great job of connecting readers to the characters, to the point where I felt personally invested in the success of Anyanwu and her bloodline. The story follows Anyanwu, the black female protagonist who constantly battles the doing what she wants versus what she's ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Would give Wild Seed alone 5 stars though

Wild reading this series and realizing they were written in a totally different order over decades
Wild Seed - 3
Mind of My Mind - 4
Clay's Ark - 2
Patternmaster - 4
Susan Ash hanson
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 books in one- a long read but I really enjoyed it
Martina Dominique Aspen
I made the mistake of reading the Patternist books for the first time in this "Seed to Harvest" collection where the books (with the exception of "Survivor") were collected in chronological order rather than publication order, which has coloured my experience more negatively. I reiterate what others have said: "Patternmaster" was the first book she wrote of the series, and it shows. I wish I had read it in publication order, beginning with "Patternmaster" one and then moving on to the others. Re ...more
andrew y
I ignored Butler too long. Yes I realized that when I finished Fledgling, but guys this was >700 pages of sci-fi epic running from the seventeenth century through the near future. I was riveted for every page. And I don't use "riveted" lightly.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I always judge a really satisfying book by the way that, when I am done reading it, I put it down on the table and let out a breath I didn't realize I'd been holding.

This edition is really four books, so it's hard to review collectively.

The first book, Wild Seed, is probably the best (and longest). It tells two intertwined stories: that of Doro, a spirit thousands of years old who inhabits the bodies of humans by using their bodies as a temporary vessel as he "feeds" upon them, and Anyanwe, a
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist, race
I think this is definitely my favorite series by Butler, although I really enjoyed the Xenogenesis series too. Similar to that series, I also think that the first book is the strongest although every single book in the series is a great read and develops a key aspect of the world she's envisioned in extremely interesting ways. I think Anyanwu is just one of the best female main characters ever written and I have to admit I did feel let down by how weakened she is at the point when she finally di ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Each of these four stories is very different, and though loosely connected, they don't necessarily flow seamlessly from one to the next.
Perhaps this is because book four was actually written first, and the three prequels were extrapolated from that and written over the course of the subsequent years.
My favorite story, "Clay's Ark," was written last though it is the third book. I enjoyed this one the most because it stands apart from the first two books (which are much more closely connected by
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This is a 4-book compilation of Butler's Patternist series. I'm glad I read it. I picked it up because Butler was recommended as a strong female & PoC voice in the science fiction genre. I don't think there are enough women represented in the SciFi pantheon, and there certainly aren't enough PoC represented. Butler's books in this compilation affirmed her place among the best of them... even though the final book in the set (Patternmaster) was, frankly, terrible.

The first three books (Wild
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
seed to harvest collects octavia butler's patternist series (minus survivor, which she disowned according to wikipedia) into a single volume. i truly appreciate how ms. butler's stories are gathered and presented in this format. at a time when reality is continually painful, escaping into her storytelling became a refuge that allowed me to see the world we're in with clearer eyes and still asking more questions.

seed to harvest includes:
* wild seed - originally published in 1980
* mind of my mind
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
I really enjoyed this series. Maybe not as much as some of her other combined works but it was definitely a great read. I think part of the reason I didn't like it as much was that a few of the books (actually one in particular) had a pretty dismaying ending. The other part may have been that each book left me wanting more (which is a wonderful thing by the way). Still it was amazing to think about the evolution of new types of people and how their ways of life could pit them against each other ...more
Spent the last two weeks or so with Butler's four-book Patternist series, collected together here. The series as a whole is uneven -- they are some of Butler's earliest works, and the last one in this series was written first. But as with any Butler, the ideas and their execution unfold carefully and with meticulous attention to familiar human power relations (with strong emphasis on racial, gender, and class inequality), while jumping into wildly inventive new terrains. Here we have the origin ...more
Kate Francia
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wild Seed is one of my favorite sci-fi books of all time, and an example of what really excellent character-driven science fiction can be at its very best. It is a brilliant representation of a destructive relationship between two powerful people who need each other and terrify each other, an incredible woman struggling for autonomy and survival and love, played out across a backdrop of several hundred years of history.

Mind of my Mind is almost as good, Clay's Ark is horrifying, and Patternmaste
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed this series. Reading the books in in-universe order instead of order of writing makes for a really interesting experience, since I was constantly thinking about how much Butler knew about her universe in each book. The series really spans a wide range of style. The difference between the first chapter of Wild Seed and, say, the end of Clay's Ark is immense. I love that the world is moving on over the course of the series, so that while the events of the story happen, the backgro ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
so, as of yesterday, i have finally read all but one of her patternmaster series: survivor, which i could not find and is not included in this compilation. it was a quick read because i had previously read wild see and clay's ark before and skipped them. :-) i adore octavia butler's style and although i was disappointed with the ending (patternmaster book), i understood her underlying reasoning. i just thought there should have been more. *shrugs* still, it's hard to put down an octavia butler b ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Alone, each of the novels in Seed to Harvest has a lot to offer, and are all gripping stories in their own right. But it is the compilation as a whole that I truly devoured. I honestly can't make sense of how different the publishing order is from the chronological. I fear I would have hated them all if I'd read them in the order written. But as they stand now in this last publication, they are all part of a beautiful, terrifying, and thoroughly original imagining of the past and future of the w ...more
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've recently been eating up Octavia Butler's work. Patternmaster made me give up everything I was doing, till I'd finished it all. (Including my own writing!) Fascinating possibilities in science fiction narrative. She's built up races, their newage morals and ethics and worked her stories from there. You cannot do that if you don't understand how humanity, how humans work. Fascinating. Can't wait to read more of her.
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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)
  • Wild Seed (Patternmaster, #1)
  • Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster, #2)
  • Clay's Ark (Patternmaster, #3)
  • Survivor
  • Patternmaster (Patternmaster, #4)

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“She glanced at him. “What gods do you respect?” “None.” “And why not?” “I help myself,” he said.” 1 likes
“For myself …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.” 1 likes
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