BOOK REVIEW: Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler

written by David Steffen

Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler was the second book published in the Patternmaster series (preceded by Patternmaster), as well as the second book in the chronological order (preceded by Wild Seed). I read the books as a collection that included the four main books in chronological order, rather than ordered in order of publishing, so depending on what order you prefer to read them, this could have spoilders for Wild Seed.

Doro, who was thousands of years old, is not immortal in body, but (among other abilities) whenever his physical form dies his consciousness hops to another individual and takes over their body. He has had some measure of success, producing bloodlines with various psychic abilities, such as mindreading, telekinesis, different kinds of healing, but also significant problems in that the more powerful psychics are naturally averse to each other, sometimes violently so.

One of the most promising new members of his bloodlines is Mary, a Black girl living near Los Angeles. She doesn’t know about Doro’s breeding experiences , only that her family has a strange relationship with this visiting man named Doro. But she is quickly approaching the age where psychic powers suddenly and traumatically manifest, so she will soon be getting a crash course in it one way or the other.

Soon her abilities begin to manifest, and they’re different than anything even Doro has seen before.

Especially after reading Wild Seed this book feels like the natural progression as Doro’s breeding programs race towards some inevitable (but long-awaited) conclusion, and this helps bridge the gap to the events in Patternmaster where that conclusion has manifested.

I like Wild Seed better, but this was good as a progression of the events in that book. Butler was a master and I look forward to catching up on more of her books.

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David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David also writes articles here and edits the fiction. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on Twitter for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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