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Wild Seed [Hardcover]

Octavia E. Butler
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1980
Back in print after five years, this is award-winning Octavia Butler's thrilling paternist novel about a reincarnate and a healer who travel together through exotic lands and centuries of time. Advertising in Locus, Science Fiction Chronicle and Amazing. Reissue.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great introduction to an amazing author... April 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a thoroughly enjoyable stand-alone novel with well-developed characters and a frightening premise: two immortals with roots in Africa go to America to build communities of people with superhuman powers. The more manipulative of the immortals is named Doro, and his immortality is based on death and destruction (he must possess and kill the bodies of others in order to sustain his deathless life). The other immortal, Anyanwu, is diametrically opposed to this kind of behavior, as her powers are based on an innate understanding of life (she is able to understand and manipulate each of her tissues and bacteria living within her body, and so she is able to halt aging and even shape change). Anyanwu is thus also able to sustain the lives of others since she is so in-tune with biological organisms that she can create cures for those without her special abilities. Thus, she bases her life in raising tribes of moral people around her, who she can help and protect, while Doro raises people as if they are livestock, to feed his hunger for the souls of others. Yet, Doro and Anyanwu do have one irresistible bond: they both know that their loved ones will inevitably die, but they will be doomed to live forever. Wild Seed is therefore essentially a character study of the relationship between these two very strange, yet strangely familiar, characters who hate and love each other at the same time for very good reasons.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy at its best... Nov. 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is always a delight, when reading science fiction, to come across a writer who can actually WRITE. As soon as you begin Wild Seed, you know that you are in the hands of someone who knows what she is doing. I was turned onto Octavia Butler by reading Orson Scott Card - who cites her in his book on Writing Science Fiction. The book is, in the best sense, literary.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Butler's Storytelling is Second to None May 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Very few African Americans write science fiction. Fewer still are African American women. Octavia Butler knows how to write great science fiction, but more importantly, she knows how to write and tell a great story. I encourage you to read just the opening paragraph from the "Look Inside" section. After reading the paragraph, I dare you to NOT keep reading!
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).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing Aug. 12 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Not so long ago I've read the first book from Ms Butler. I was immediately captivated by her amazing imagination and quality of her prose and became instantly a fan of the author.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Downright Laughable
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 more
Published on May 11 2004 by lucky_kari
4.0 out of 5 stars Different ways to be a mutant
Good book; several layers of reference, including gender dynamics, the Old Testament, and even a touch of the conflict between vampires and werewolves. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by Eva-Lise Carlstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars Now a O. Butler fan
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 more
Published on Feb. 14 2004 by DivaMagnus
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, Loved it, Loved it!!!
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 more
Published on Jan. 30 2004 by smayo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest SF Novels Ever Written
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 more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by Michael Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars ...wow.
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 more
Published on Aug. 20 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but still something lacking
This is a book that I really wanted to like. The premise is interesting and the characters have real depth. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2003 by Gary Riley
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
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 more
Published on July 11 2003 by Eric P. Medlock
5.0 out of 5 stars OB at her best!!!
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 Pamela
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, insightful
A character-driven power struggle between a shapechanging woman and an immortal man who transfers from body to body. Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by Peter Tupper
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