Wild Seed Hardcover – Jul 1980
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About the Author
Octavia E. Butler was the first black woman to come to international prominence as a science fiction writer. Incorporating powerful, spare language and rich, well-developed characters, her work tackled race, gender, religion, poverty, power, politics, and science in a way that touched readers of all backgrounds. Butler was a towering figure in life and in her art and the world noticed; highly acclaimed by reviewers, she received numerous awards, including a MacArthur "genius" grant, both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the Langston Hughes Medal, as well as a PEN Lifetime Achievement award. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In that first paragraph, you've got a very mysterious event, subtle foreshadowing, wonderful description, and a pretty good sense of who your main character is. And most importantly, you want to read on.
Doro is an extremely complex character who has been alive for hundreds of years, breeding slaves endowed with special powers. They are obedient only to him. It's simple; if they won't obey, he'll kill them. Doro has the incredible ability to take over the bodies of others (thereby killing the host) even at a distance of many miles. His power is immense. But he meets in Anyanwu a formidable opponent. (Or will she become a trusted friend?) Anyanwu (who has also lived for hundreds of years) is a healer who is able to adapt her body to any living form - mammal, fish, bird, or another human. Anyanwu's main concern is the safety of her children. Doro's main concern is exploiting them as breeding stock. Doro and Anyanwu certainly have different goals, but they each learn some hard lessons throughout the course of the book. So do we.
Butler's characters and landscapes are so well drawn and so real that you really never think about the fact that you're reading science fiction. In fact the term speculative fiction is really a better term for this story; there's very little science in the book, but there is a plethora of examinations of human nature (even if those humans live for hundreds of years).Read more ›
This was the first Octavia Butler book I ever read. Now that I have read several of her other novels, I can easily say that this one is my favorite so far, but some of her others come close. If you enjoy this book, read her Lilith's Brood series; it is similarly based on genetics and biology as a background to incredible happenings.
Butler certainly rivals the likes of Orson Scott Card and others in creating believable, sympathetic, flawed characters; highly recommended.
The story reads like a version of the X-Men set in the past. Imagine Dr. X forced to marry Magneto. Doro and Anyanwu are both immortals. Anyanwu can die, but she goes on living indefinitely. Doro dies quite frequently - merely inhabiting a new body the moment he does. Therefore Doro cannot die. He finds the shape-shifting woman Anyanwu in Africa in the seventeenth century and brings her to one of his "seed villages" in America. There, he has gathered other mutants with special abilities for the purposes of breeding them in the hope that he may, one day, produce another mortal like himself.
Butler avoids many of the clichés which science fiction and fantasy are prone to. The resultant novel is a thoroughly enjoyable read with memorable characters. Things are not resolved by a tidy little shoot-out at the end.
My problem with the mass-market paperback is that, in several places, there are glaring errors: lines are repeated, etc. Wild Seed deserves a better edition.
All her books showed a rich mixture of imagination, interesting characters and conflictive situations.
*Wild Seed* is a complex story about Doro and Anyanwu, two extraordinary beings, their encounter and relationship expanding over three centuries.
I refuse to say Doro is a male, he may acquire any physical nature, so I think the character as a Self, each reader may assign he/she/it any attribution. This trait only, is enough to arouse many questions and situations, other writers may stick only to the rich action line. Octavia doesn't, she dig deep into each character, giving them soul and flesh, going into what they feel, their ethical (or unethical) considerations, their whole conception of life, their struggles for power and love.
All this blended in an inspired story full of action. A very commendable book.
Most recent customer reviews
One can not deny that Octavia Butler has a gift for writing. But she also seems to have a voyeuristic and rather prudish attitude towards sex, which turned a good premise to a... Read morePublished on May 11 2004 by lucky_kari
Good book; several layers of reference, including gender dynamics, the Old Testament, and even a touch of the conflict between vampires and werewolves. Read morePublished on April 1 2004 by Eva-Lise Carlstrom
Wild Seed was the first of her books read. After reading WS I was HOOKED. I ran out and bought the Xenogenesis series. The follow ups to WS and the only Parable book they had. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2004 by DivaMagnus
This is probably one of my favorite books of all time! I've re-read it at least 3 times now and everytime that I do, I just get lost in the world that Octavia Butler created. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2004 by smayo
Wild Seed is nothing short of outstanding. I've read it several times over the past decade, and find it more compelling each time. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2003 by Michael Thomas
This is something I don't say often...but I loved this book. Unabashedly loved it. There's nothing I didn't like about it. The writing was amazing. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2003
This is a book that I really wanted to like. The premise is interesting and the characters have real depth. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2003 by Gary Riley
This is the first Octavia Butler book I read and I loved it. Its a very different sort of sci-fi/fantasy and incredibly original. Read morePublished on July 11 2003 by Eric P. Medlock
This is a great introduction to the world of Octavia Butler. It you are a sci-fi fan, you don't want to miss this one.Published on July 8 2003 by Ms. Pam