Monday, June 04, 2007

Patternmaster

Octavia E. Butler

Patternmaster is the first-published, but last-chronologically, book of Butler's Patternist series, set in the far future when Earth is ruled by a race of telepathic humans, who subjugate humans without telepathy (called "mutes") and fight against the Clayarks, humans mutated into sphinx-like creatures by an alien virus. It tells the story of a young man and his struggle for freedom in this society.

I've read, and am quite fond of, several of Butler's novels, mostly from the Xenogenesis and Parable series, but this is the first I've read of the Patternist series. Not long ago, I was in the bookstore buying some books for mom for mother's day. I saw Patternmaster on the shelf, and, since I hadn't read it and I knew that she liked other books by Butler as well, bought it for her. Amazingly, while they were on vacation, both she and my father read and enjoyed it!

I enjoyed the book as well. It has strong science fiction themes, and allows us to see ourselves from another viewpoint. It also has a slightly dystopian setting, which is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I felt the characterization was somewhat lacking (I didn't care about the characters very much), and sometimes the characters' actions didn't seem to quite match their motivations. I also felt that the ending didn't quite fit; that it was too abrupt.

Nevertheless, I recommend this book and others by Butler if you're a science fiction fan.
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