Book Review: Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler
This was the most disturbing books by Octavia E. Butler that I have read yet, further inspiring my desire to have a conversation with her to find out just how that brain worked. Her concepts are fascinating, even when as disturbing as this one.
Perhaps it was the violence and rape of young children that has me troubled. The ending, certainly, is not for the faint of heart. However, I did not dislike this book because of this. My dislike comes, perhaps from a bias regarding its place as part of the Seed to Harvest collection.
Clay’s Ark carries the similar theme of a community of humans, mutated both physically and psychologically, who must fight against outward and inward forces to maintain their humanity — a theme that dominates just about every book I’ve read from this author. Beyond that and the name, there is very little that relates it to the Patternists created by Mary in Mind of My Mind or the superhumans created by Doro, beginning in Wild Seed. In fact, Clay Dana’s involvement is not mentioned until more than half way through the book.
I took a quick peek at the first few pages of Patternmaster and I see the results of Clay’s Ark may play a part in that story, but for now, it is an odd addition to the series that perhaps was not intended to be part of the series at all (considering it was created several years after Patternmaster.)