Book Review: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
What a fascinating book. I read Mind of My Mind first, where I met the main characters here, but as that was not their story, they did not have much depth. Reading Wild Seed, it made me somewhat disappointed that they did not have as much to do in the sequel, but as the book progressed, I came to appreciate their diminished roles in Mind of My Mind since their story was told so completely here.
The first striking thing about this book is that it takes place during the time of slave ships where tribes were kidnapping and selling their neighbours. Doro took many of these slaves for his little breeding project, but never treated them as other slaves were treated. But they were no less slaves. Through fear and/or reverence he controlled them. More often than not, his people loved him for what remains almost inexplicable reasons.
Meanwhile, Anyanwu, semi-immortal like Doro, becomes one of his people – as much as it is possible for Doro to tame the “wild seed” that she is.
Again, there is an all-mother/father theme, but one that is far different from what Mary creates in Mind of My Mind. Again, too, the notion of good and evil is forced on you. Is Doro evil for what he does? Is Anyanwu evil for allowing it?
In the end, I came to the realization that this book was, in fact a love story. A strange and twisted romance that crosses every taboo subject regarding sexuality, humanity, loyalty, propriety, marriage…