Wild Seed is the book review topic today, by Octavia Butler and published 1980.
Wild Seed is all about character. And without a doubt, the main character who needed the most development, and that we got, was Doro. To call Doro cruel is to put it lightly. I won’t call him evil, because being evil seems to be a human character trait, and Doro was nearly completely inhuman.
Wild Seed is also about what it means to be human, through the character of Doro, he explores what humanity is, and we do along with him.
One of the things that Octavia Butler is known for is her theme of what it means to be human, which she explores in most of her works. Simply having a “human” body is not necessarily what it means to be human and Butler lays this out perfectly.
Wild Seed also touches on the cost and pain of being immortal. So many people want to live forever, we have the idea of reincarnation, where you can live new lives over and over without actually dying or living forever in a place of perfect happiness and peace with no pain and no crying.
People fear death.
Yet, through this novel, the immortal characters actually want to die. It’s loneliness. Loneliness kills the “fun” of being immortal. Watching everyone you know and love grow old and die over and over again while you continually persist to live makes immortality more like Hell rather than a good time.
What’s most interesting to me or at least one of the interesting things, is that I’ve read Wild Seed before. Once, a long time ago. Yet it had stuck with me so much that I still remembered large sections of plot from one read six years ago. I won’t remember what I had for breakfast, but Wild Seed left a long-lasting mark on me.
Rereading it was more like rediscovering it. I picked out the spots I already knew, and I honestly could not put it down. I read it in two days.
Wild Seed is also about stubbornness vs. malleable. Doro is a character who was staunch and settled in his ways. In all his long years, Doro never changed his mind about anything. Another character criticized him about this, to have lived on and on but never gain any wisdom.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I don’t think books need warnings or content descriptions, I think its all spoilers. The point of a book is to find out what it contains and go on the journey while you read it. However in these days, people want to know what’s inside the book and what happens before they read it, which defeats the purpose of reading in the first place but I digress.
So then, the book does have what can be considered sensitive topics. Such as slavery. Slavery is a big, big part of this book. Another is threats, dominance and what was definitely an abusive relationship, but not in the way I think anyone would suspect.
However none of these things should ever stop someone from deciding to read Wild Seed. This is an amazing book and it makes you think, it makes you ponder. It’s a book that reminds people the worth that sci-fi and fantasy have. They are not worthless or trash. They do have “truths” to tell.
Wild Seed has five stars from me, and if you have read or do eventually read Wild Seed, let me know what you think in the comments!