Wild Seed begins in 1690 in Africa, when Doro discovers another immortal by the name of Anyanwu, though Anyanwu is not the monster Doro is. While his powers are tied inextricably to death, Anyanwu's are tied to life; instead of stealing new bodies, she is able to manipulate her body to heal any wound, make herself appear forever young, or even shapechange into different creatures altogether. When Doro first meets Anyanwu, she appears to be an old woman serving as shaman to the village. But when he discovers her true nature, he embarks upon a quest to find others like her — "wild seed" — and selectively breeds them in order to foster the development of these seemingly magical talents. This multigenerational genetic engineering project takes the pair from their starting place in Africa in to the American colonies and beyond.
To describe the plot as above surely doesn't do justice to Wild Seed, which is easily one of the finest science fiction novels ever written; but more than that, it is a great work of literature, period, that explores deep philosophical issues and vividly explores the extraordinary long lives of two fascinatingly-drawn characters.
For a book as brilliant as this, it would be easy for a narrator to just convey the text and get out of its way, but Dion Graham somehow manages to add yet another layer to an already rich and complex narrative by giving voice to it with such emotion and gravitas. Graham provides a variety of character voices to the extent that he seems to be a vocal chameleon; the character of Doro alone requires him to change his voice into a number of different accents, all of which Graham ably handles. But perhaps what makes this performance truly stand out is the intensity of Graham's narration in between dialogue, which really drives home the power of Butler's prose.
As both a novel and an audiobook, Wild Seed stands as a sterling example of science fiction, literature, and performance art. Utterly compelling, and completely unforgettable. —
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steven L Stringfellow on 03-09-16
The most terrible villain I've ever read about.
What did you love best about Wild Seed?
The villain is so powerful, single-minded and so apathetic, without being at all campy or forced. He only had one main superpower and it wasn't blowing stuff up or moving objects, but it made him so frightening. This was the most creative story I've read in a long time.
What other book might you compare Wild Seed to and why?
I'ts not like anything I've read before, but I have to choose . . . For the protagonist, it most reminds me of Roots because mucn of the story takes place during the time of slavery, and the protagonist is enslaved, despite being so very powerful. For the antagonist, I think of the Exorcist because the villian is so evil.
What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
This is the advantage of the audiobook. The narrator does his job so well, that each character is more than just an image in your imagination. They are a presence. In particular the antagonist of this story was a special challenge because he required different voices from time to time and there were several accents.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No. I did not laugh or cry but I felt very proud and connected. This is a sci-fi story by an African-American woman in which the main two characters are African. True, one of them is pretty messed up, but hey. He's the bad guy. It's the first book of that kind that I've come across.
Any additional comments?
I really loved this book. Octavia Butler is now one of my favorite writers.
43 of 44 people found this review helpful
By Annette on 23-12-09
Fairy Tale... even if it's not
There's a little smack of oddness to it i can't put my finger on, and i was afraid the accent would kill me - but no. it was nice. And original. which you don't get much these days. Reminded me a little bit of Niel Gaimon's Anansi boys only much darker and a different point of view. Again, not one of my all time best hits, but a good solid creative story with a little something for everyone. And that ain't bad.
54 of 56 people found this review helpful