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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Wild Seed

Copyright 1980 by Octavia E. Butler

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (2/5)

I first read this on the 15th November 2002.

Doro is a monster. Thousands of years ago he appeared to be as human as you or I. But he found that he could live without his body, that he could transfer spirit to another's body, killing the original owner. These possessed bodies don't last so long, but that doesn't bother Doro. Now he kills without conscience, possessing the bodies of his victims. His object is solely to breed more of the particular humans that provide him with the greatest satisfaction when their bodies are finally possessed. He'll breed fathers with daughters, brothers with sisters, any combination to encourage the telepathic talents of his subjects, for it is these talents that make their bodies sweet to his taste.

Anwanyu is the shaman of her her small community in Africa. She's outlived generations of her descendants, guarding and nurturing them down through the years.

Now she meets Doro, and their struggle in Africa and across to the new America and years, generations, more of slavery and abuse. Anwanyu has her own talents, and a very different morality. She will not submit willingly.

Octavia is a very good story-teller. One is gripped by this book and by the characters. The problem for me was that I needed some resolution of the mysterious powers. Are this talents just genetic quirks? Are they some facility primitive man had that has been lost in the modern world? is Doro an alien? Do Doro and Anyanwu share the same power? Are Doro and Anyanwu related? So it's a lovely, challenging and sometimes exciting story, but sort of misses the SF point. But of course, you have to read it anyway.

What's it got? Body-stealing monsters and shape-shifters living forever plus a varied assortment of telepathically gifted and cursed people set amidst cultures of slavery and exploitation.

Loaded on the 30th November 2002.
Cover of Wild Seed
Cover by John Jude Palencar and Don Puckey