Wild Seed (Patternist Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview


When two immortals meet in the long-ago past, the destiny of mankind is changed forever

For a thousand years, Doro has cultivated a small African village, carefully breeding its people in search of seemingly unattainable perfection. He survives through the centuries by stealing the bodies of others, a technique he has so thoroughly mastered that nothing on Earth can kill ...
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Wild Seed (Patternist Series #1)

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Overview


When two immortals meet in the long-ago past, the destiny of mankind is changed forever

For a thousand years, Doro has cultivated a small African village, carefully breeding its people in search of seemingly unattainable perfection. He survives through the centuries by stealing the bodies of others, a technique he has so thoroughly mastered that nothing on Earth can kill him. But when a gang of New World slavers destroys his village, ruining his grand experiment, Doro is forced to go west and begin anew.
 
He meets Anyanwu, a centuries-old woman whose means of immortality are as kind as his are cruel. She is a shapeshifter, capable of healing with a kiss, and she recognizes Doro as a tyrant. Though many humans have tried to kill them, these two demi-gods have never before met a rival. Now they begin a struggle that will last centuries and permanently alter the nature of humanity.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453263631
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Series: Patternist Series , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 80,501
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. She received both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and in 1995 became the first author of science fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Her first novel, Patternmaster (1976), was praised both for its imaginative vision and for Butler’s powerful prose, and spawned four prequels, beginning with Mind of My Mind (1977) and finishing with Clay’s Ark (1984).
 Although the Patternist series established Butler among the science fiction elite, it was Kindred (1979), a story of a black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, that brought her mainstream success. In 1985, Butler won Nebula and Hugo awards for the novella “Bloodchild,” and in 1987 she published Dawn, the first novel of the Xenogenesis trilogy, about a race of aliens who visit earth to save humanity from itself. Fledgling (2005) was Butler’s final novel. She died at her home in 2006. 
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Read an Excerpt

Wild Seed


By Octavia E. Butler

Warner Aspect

Octavia Butler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-60672-3


Chapter One

Doro discovered the woman by accident when he went to see what was left of one of his seed villages. The village was a comfortable mud-walled place surrounded by grasslands and scattered trees. But Doro realized even before he reached it that its people were gone. Slavers had been to it before him. With their guns and their greed, they had undone in a few hours the work of a thousand years. Those villagers they had not herded away, they had slaughtered. Doro found human bones, hair, bits of desiccated flesh missed by scavengers. He stood over a very small skeleton-the bones of a child-and wondered where the survivors had been taken. Which country or New World colony? How far would he have to travel to find the remnants of what had been a healthy, vigorous people?

Finally, he stumbled away from the ruins bitterly angry, not knowing or caring where he went. It was a matter of pride with him that he protected his own. Not the individuals, perhaps, but the groups. They gave him their loyalty, their obedience, and he protected them.

He had failed.

He wandered southwest toward the forest, leaving as he had Arrived-alone, unarmed, without supplies, accepting the savanna and later the forest as easily as he accepted any terrain. He was killed several times-by disease, by animals, by hostile people. This was a harsh land. Yet he continued to move southwest, unthinkingly veering away from the section of the coast where his ship awaited him. After a while, he realized it was no longer his anger at the loss of his seed village that drove him. It was something new-an impulse, a feeling, a kind of mental undertow pulling at him. He could have resisted it easily, but he did not. He felt there was something for him farther on, a little farther, just ahead. He trusted such feelings.

He had not been this far west for several hundred years, thus he could be certain that whatever, whoever he found would be new to him-new and potentially valuable. He moved on eagerly.

The feeling became sharper and finer, resolving itself into a kind of signal he would normally have expected to receive only from people he knew-people like his lost villagers whom he should be tracking now before they were forced to mix their seed with foreigners and breed away all the special qualities he valued in them. But he continued on southwest, closing slowly on his quarry.

Anyanwu's ears and eyes were far sharper than those of other people. She had increased their sensitivity deliberately after the first time men came stalking her, their machetes ready, their intentions clear. She had had to kill seven times on that terrible day-seven frightened men who could have been spared-and she had nearly died herself, all because she let people come upon her unnoticed. Never again.

Now, for instance, she was very much aware of the lone intruder who prowled the bush near her. He kept himself hidden, moved toward her like smoke, but she heard him, followed him with her ears.

Giving no outward sign, she went on tending her garden. As long as she knew where the intruder was, she had no fear of him. Perhaps he would lose his courage and go away. Meanwhile, there were weeds among her coco yams and her herbs. The herbs were not the traditional ones grown or gathered by her people. Only she grew them as medicines for healing, used them when people brought their sick to her. Often she needed no medicines, but she kept that to herself. She served her people by giving them relief from pain and sickness. Also, she enriched them by allowing them to spread word of her abilities to neighboring people. She was an oracle. A woman through whom a god spoke. Strangers paid heavily for her services. They paid her people, then they paid her. That was as it should have been. Her people could see that they benefited from her presence, and that they had reason to fear her abilities. Thus was she protected from them-and they from her-most of the time. But now and then one of them overcame his fear and found reason to try to end her long life.

The intruder was moving close, still not allowing her to see him. No person of honest intentions would approach so stealthily. Who was he then? A thief? A murderer? Someone who blamed her for the death of a kinsman or some other misfortune? During her various youths, she had been blamed several times for causing misfortune. She had been fed poison in the test for witchcraft. Each time, she had taken the test willingly, knowing that she had bewitched no one-and knowing that no ordinary man with his scanty knowledge of poisons could harm her. She knew more about poisons, had ingested more poisons in her long life than any of her people could imagine. Each time she passed the test, her accusers had been ridiculed and fined for their false charges. In each of her lives as she grew older, people ceased to accuse her-though not all ceased to believe she was a witch. Some sought to take matters into their own hands and kill her regardless of the tests.

The intruder finally moved onto the narrow path to approach her openly-now that he had had enough of spying on her. She looked up as though becoming aware of him for the first time.

He was a stranger, a fine man taller than most and broader at the shoulders. His skin was as dark as her own, and his face was broad and handsome, the mouth slightly smiling. He was young-not yet thirty, she thought. Surely too young to be any threat to her. Yet something about him worried her. His sudden openness after so much stealth, perhaps. Who was he? What did he want?

When he was near enough, he spoke to her, and his words made her frown in confusion. They were foreign words, completely incomprehensible to her, but there was a strange familiarity to them-as though she should have understood. She stood up, concealing uncharacteristic nervousness. "Who are you?" she asked.

He lifted his head slightly as she spoke, seemed to listen.

"How can we speak?" she asked. "You must be from very far away if your speech is so different."

"Very far," he said in her own language. His words were clear to her now, though he had an accent that reminded her of the way people spoke long ago when she was truly young. She did not like it. Everything about him made her uneasy.

"So you can speak," she said.

"I am remembering. It has been a long time since I spoke your language." He came closer, peering at her. Finally, he smiled and shook his head. "You are something more than an old woman," he said. "Perhaps you are not an old woman at all."

She drew back in confusion. How could he know anything of what she was? How could he even guess with nothing more than her appearance and a few words as evidence? "I am old," she said, masking her fear with anger. "I could be your mother's mother!" She could have been an ancestor of his mother's mother. But she kept that to herself. "Who are you?" she demanded.

"I could be your mother's father," he said.

She took another step backward, somehow controlling her growing fear. This man was not what he seemed to be. His words should have come to her as mocking nonsense, but instead, they seemed to reveal as much and as little as her own.

"Be still," he told her. "I mean you no harm."

"Who are you?" she repeated

"Doro."

"Doro?" She said the strange word twice more. "Is that a name?"

"It is my name. Among my people, it means the east-the direction from which the sun comes."

She put one hand to her face. "This is a trick," she said. "Someone is laughing."

"You know better. When were you last frightened by a trick?"

Not for more years than she could remember; he was right. But the names ... The coincidence was like a sign. "Do you know who I am?" she asked. "Did you come here knowing, or ...?"

"I came here because of you. I knew nothing about you except that you were unusual and you were here. Awareness of you has pulled me a great distance out of my way."

"Awareness?"

"I had a feeling.... People as different as you attract me somehow, call me, even over great distances."

"I did not call you."

"You exist and you are different. That was enough to attract me. Now tell me who you are."

"You must be the only man in this country who has not heard of me. I am Anyanwu."

He repeated her name and glanced upward, understanding. Sun, her name meant. Anyanwu: the sun. He nodded. "Our peoples missed each other by many years and a great distance, Anyanwu, and yet somehow they named us well."

"As though we were intended to meet. Doro, who are your people?"

"They were called Kush in my time. Their land is far to the east of here. I was born to them, but they have not been my people for many years. I have not seen them for perhaps twelve times as long as you have been alive. When I was thirteen years old, I was separated from them. Now my people are those who give me their loyalty."

"And now you think you know my age," she said. "That is something my own people do not know."

"No doubt you have moved from town to town to help them forget." He looked around, saw a fallen tree nearby. He went to sit on it. Anyanwu followed almost against her will. As much as this man confused and frightened her, he also intrigued her. It had been so long since something had happened to her that had not happened before-many times before. He spoke again.

"I do nothing to conceal my age," he said, "yet some of my people have found it more comfortable to forget-since they can neither kill me nor become what I am."

She went closer to him and peered down at him. He was clearly proclaiming himself like her-long-lived and powerful. In all her years, she had not known even one other person like herself. She had long ago given up, accepted her solitude. But now ...

"Go on talking," she said. "You have much to tell me."

He had been watching her, looking at her eyes with a curiosity that most people tried to hide from her. People said her eyes were like babies' eyes-the whites too white, the browns too deep and clear. No adult, and certainly no old woman should have such eyes, they said. And they avoided her gaze. Doro's eyes were very ordinary, but he could stare at her as children stared. He had no fear, and probably no shame.

He startled her by taking her hand and pulling her down beside him on the tree trunk. She could have broken his grip easily, but she did not. "I've come a long way today," he told her. "This body needs rest if it is to continue to serve me."

She thought about that. This body needs rest. What a strange way he had of speaking.

"I came to this territory last about three hundred years ago," he said. "I was looking for a group of my people who had strayed, but they were killed before I found them. Your people were not here then, and you had not been born. I know that because your difference did not call me. I think you are the fruit of my people's passing by yours, though."

"Do you mean that your people may be my kinsmen?"

"Yes." He was examining her face very carefully, perhaps seeking some resemblance. He would not find it. The face she was wearing was not her true face.

"Your people have crossed the Niger"-he hesitated, frowning, then gave the river its proper name-"the Orumili. When I saw them last, they lived on the other side in Benin."

"We crossed long ago," she said. "Children born in that time have grown old and died. We were Ado and Idu, subject to Benin before the crossing. Then we fought with Benin and crossed the river to Onitsha to become free people, our own masters."

"What happened to the Oze people who were here before you?"

"Some ran away. Others became our slaves."

"So you were driven from Benin, then you drove others from here-or enslaved them."

Anyanwu looked away, spoke woodenly. "It is better to be a master than to be a slave." Her husband at the time of the migration had said that. He had seen himself becoming a great man-master of a large household with many wives, children, and slaves. Anyanwu, on the other hand, had been a slave twice in her life and had escaped only by changing her identity completely and finding a husband in a different town. She knew some people were masters and some were slaves. That was the way it had always been. But her own experience had taught her to hate slavery. She had even found it difficult to be a good wife in her most recent years because of the way a woman must bow her head and be subject to her husband. It was better to be as she was-a priestess who spoke with the voice of a god and was feared and obeyed. But what was that? She had become a kind of master herself. "Sometimes, one must become a master to avoid becoming a slave," she said softly.

"Yes," he agreed.

She deliberately turned her attention to the new things he had given her to think about. Her age, for instance. He was right. She was about three hundred years old-something none of her people would have believed. And he had said something else-something that brought alive one of her oldest memories. There had been whispers when she was a girl that her father could not beget children, that she was the daughter not only of another man, but of a visiting stranger. She had asked her mother about this, and for the first and only time in her life, her mother had struck her. From then on, she had accepted the story as true. But she had never been able to learn anything about the stranger. She would not have cared-her mother's husband claimed her as his daughter and he was a good man-but she had always wondered whether the stranger's people were more like her.

"Are they all dead?" she asked Doro. "These ... kinsmen of mine?"

"Yes."

"Then they were not like me."

"They might have been after many more generations. You are not only their child. Your Onitsha kinsmen must have been unusual in their own right."

Anyanwu nodded slowly. She could think of several unusual things about her mother. The woman had stature and influence in spite of the gossip about her. Her husband was a member of a highly respected clan, well known for its magical abilities, but in his household, it was Anyanwu's mother who made magic. She had highly accurate prophetic dreams. She made medicine to cure disease and to protect the people from evil. At market, no woman was a better trader. She seemed to know just how to bargain-as though she could read the thoughts in the other women's minds. She became very wealthy.

It was said that Anyanwu's clan, the clan of her mother's husband, had members who could change their shapes, take animal forms at will, but Anyanwu had seen no such strangeness in them. It was her mother in whom she found strangeness, closeness, empathy that went beyond what could be expected between mother and daughter.

Continues...


Excerpted from Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This was the most imaginative book I've read in a while. When I

    This was the most imaginative book I've read in a while. When I was explaining some parts to my sister, I really began to realize the depth of Ms. Butler's world. It was our world, but these character existed on a level that most people would never encounter. The main character Anyanwu is so strong and wise and yet a bit naive when it comes to Doro. Butler balances these two characters against each other so well that you can sense the chemistry between them as you read. I was very impressed with the story and the writing. I borrowed it from the library and when I finished, I went and bought myself a copy and recommend it to anyone who reads.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Haunting and lovely

    Octavia Butler is one of the most amazing authors. This book proved to be amazing as well. Captivating from the first paragraph, Wildseed was full of well developed characters, adventures, history, and wonderful writing. The story sticks in your mind long after it's finished. I'll be reading the sequel, Mind Of My Mind, soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Startling

    The author has an incredible imagination. I do not read horrors, which this isn't yet is, but could not put this down, nor could I put the sequals down. Butler's books are due to be classics if they aren't already.

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  • Posted October 6, 2009

    This is an amazing book. I had to read it for one of my college english classes.I was skeptical at first, but after the first page I could not put it down.I am so glad it was a requirement. I am going to buy another one of Butler's books!

    About a three-hundred year old African woman named Anyanwu who is found and made to leave her land by a man as powerful as herself. He convinces her by telling her that they are destined to be together and threatening her children. He takes her to a new world very different from her own and she learns his ways. Overtime, she discovers that the only way to survive and save future generations of unborn children is to escape the man who like herself, will never die.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fairly quick read....

    A good read, especially in the beginning. Towards the end it seemed a bit less enetertaining and getting through the last few pages wasnt as exciting as I had hoped. The story is somewhat peverse, with its inbreeding and gets even stranger and incestuous as the story unfolds. The book follows history well, and is good at making you think about how some of their societal norms are like/unalike from our own.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

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    Origin View

    A very interesting book, written by an Afro-American woman, using all her self to paint an world that hold hope as well as pain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    If your not a fan Of Octivia Butler....You will be!

    Octivia Butler never cease to amaze me and I've read mostly all of her books. Wild Seed is the most colorful book of then all and I must admit it me tearfully proud of her. She is the mother of Black Science-fiction!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2003

    Absolutely Captivating!!!

    Octavia Butler writes in an amazingly gripping manner. You will be pulled into this book by the end of the second page. It is because of this book that I had to read others by her. Absolutely incredible!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2002

    Amazing!!

    Octavia Butlers book,Wild Seed was utterly amazing. The characters and themes captured my interest from the start. I couldn't put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2001

    Mindblowing!

    WOW! She's done it again. Octavia Butler has written another series of incredible pageturners.I loved Anyanwu and Doro.READ THIS BOOK! I guarantee you will not be able to put it down.Palpitations!! Is there such a thing as being addicted to an author?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2001

    If you're not a sci-fi fan, that's okay. . .

    Generally, I do not enjoy science fiction; whether movies or books I usually am not into the genre. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Butler's Wild Seed. The book has something for everyone. . . African American history students, feminists, I-just-need-something-to-read-between-classes-after-school-on-weekends-at-the-beach. . . Highly recommended read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2001

    Incredible

    This book was very interesting, symbolic and at the same time funny. i thoroughly enjoyed it and as an African woman, it empowered me because it shows how in tune with nature a person can be. it also shows how powerful we as humans are. everyone should read it at least once in their lives.

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    Posted November 22, 2013

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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