Octavia Butler


Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006) was a multi-award winning science fiction writer, and one of the best known Black women writers in the world of sci-fi. She wrote fourteen novels and a collection of short stories. The book Wild Seed (1980) is book one in the Patternist series.

In Butler’s Wild Seed, Anyanwu is an ancient shapeshifter who is fiercely loyal to her children. Anyanwu is not as ancient as Doro, a mysterious entity who mercilessly murders and commandeers his victims’ bodies. When Anyanwu and Doro meet in Anyanwu’s African home, Doro takes her as his wife to a settlement he created in colonial America. Doro’s plan is to breed humans with special powers in order to create a superhuman race … for purposes Anyanwu does not understand, but is determined to fight against. Wild Seed is the first in a four-part series, followed by Mind of My Mind (1977), Clay’s Ark (1984), and Patternmaster (1976) which are also collected in an omnibus called Seed to Harvest (2007).

Wild Seed fits into the scope of Afrofuturism as it uses science fiction through the narrative of an African woman and her understand of slavery-era America. Through Wild Seed, the character of Anyanwu comments on black slavery while being distanced from it through her supernatural powers.