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If All 2003: Annotated Bibliography of Novels by Octavia Butler

Annotated Bibliography of Novels by Octavia Butler

Patternmaster (Doubleday, 1976; Avon, 1979)
The first book Butler authored in the five-volume Patternist series, Patternmaster follows an elite group of mentally linked telepaths ruled by a 4,000-year-old immortal African, Doro. These telepaths are specially-bred by Doro, who mates with humans to create a superhuman race. In Patternmaster, Doro’s ruthless son has murdered everyone who stands in his way to the throne of his father’s power—everyone except his equal, his younger brother.
Mind of My Mind (Doubleday, 1977, Warner Books, 1994)
The second book Butler wrote as part of the Patternist series, but the first in narrative sequence, Mind of My Mind serves as a “pre-sequel” to Patternmaster. Mary, a young “active” with telepathic powers has been bred to be able to both pull together not only all the other “active” telepaths, but the latent ones as well—a power not even Doro, the mastermind of the race, possesses. Mary must fight the tyrannical Doro—her father, creator and master—for control of the world.
Survivor (Doubleday, 1978)
The third book of the Patternist series. Alanna, a member of a human colony established on an alien planet after fleeing from a plague on Earth, becomes enslaved by one of the planet’s warring races. Alanna must teach her captors tolerance and respect for the individual, regardless of difference.
Kindred (Doubleday, 1979; Beacon Press, 1988)
Dana, a young modern-day black woman, is mysteriously cast back to a pre-Civil War slave plantation in Maryland. Dana is repeatedly called back to the plantation to save the life of her white, slave-owning ancestor in order to assure that she will be born, but can only return to her contemporary existence when her own life is threatened.
Wild Seed (Doubleday, 1980, Warner Books, 2001)
The fourth book written in the Patternist series, and the third in the chronology, Wild Seed explores the origins of the Patternists, from seventeenth-century Africa into the future. Two immortal beings, the telepath and body-snatcher Doro and the shape-shifter, earth mother Anyanwu, meet in a battle of wills and gender, ultimately creating a race that will change the face of the world. Wild Seed won the James Tiptree Award.
Clay’s Ark (St. Martin’s Press, 1984; Ace Books, 1985).
In this, the last of the Patternist series, a human doctor and his two teenage daughters are captured by a colony of victims of the last survivor of Clay’s Ark, the first manned spaceship to reach another planet. The ship has brought back to earth a devastating disease, one which genetically mutates its victims and makes them suffer from an uncontrollable desire to pass the disease on to others.
Dawn: Xenogenesis (Warner Books, 1987, 1997)
In this, the first book of Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy, Lilith Iyapo is mourning the death of her husband and son when nuclear war destroys the Earth. Lilith’s awakens, several centuries later, as the captive of extra-solar aliens called Oankali. The Oankali have rescued the humans that survived the nuclear desolation but demand a price for freedom: the merging of the genes of the two races, creating a previously unknown being.
Adulthood Rites (Warner Books, 1988, 1997)
In this, the second book of the Xenogenesis trilogy, Lilith’s baby, Akin, is a hybrid: half-human and half-Oankali and therefore subject to kidnapping by the childless humans who want to return to earth. The hybrids are destined for ruling the stars, however, and the Oankali will not give them up so easily.
Imago (Warner Books, 1989, 1997)
In this third book of the Xenogenesis trilogy, one of Lilith’s many “construct” children, Jodahs, is a human-ooloi—the first being who is both ooloi, the third Oankali gender necessary for the mating of males and females and humans and aliens, but also human. A powerful healer, Jodahs existence is unpredictable: as he grows into adulthood, Jodahs can become either a plague or a peaceful bridge between the two cultures. The Oankali want Jodahs banished, to live out his life as a biological experiment, so Jodahs and his family flee.
Parable of the Sower (Warner Books, 1993, 1998)
This novel, the first in the Earthseed series of “cautionary tales,” as the author calls them, is a fictional autobiography of Lauren Olamina. In a dystopian near future, a culture of gang warfare, global warming and corporate greed have resulted in a nationwide devastation. Olamina leads a group of survivors north out of the ravaged city, in search of a haven and a place to begin her new religion, Earthseed—one that will take humans to the stars. Parable of the Sower won a Nebula Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Bloodchild and Other Stories (Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1995; Seven Stories Press, 1996)
A diverse collection of stories and novellas that comprises much of Butler’s short fiction and non-fiction work to the date of publication. Included is the novelette Bloodchild, the story of male human slaves who are valued only for their reproductive capacities and who, in exchange for their survival, must offer up some of their sons to give birth to the children of an insect-like alien race. Bloodchild won a Nebula Award in 1984, a Hugo Award in 1985 and a Locus Award. Also included is the short story Speech Sounds, which explores the results of a disease that has caused the population of Los Angeles of the future to lose one aspect of their ability to communicate, which won a Hugo Award in 1984.
Parable of the Talents (Warner Books, 1998, 2000)
Parable of the Talents is the second installment of the Earthseed series. The story is told through the mechanism of Lauren’s journals and her daughter Larkin’s reactions to them. When Christian fundamentalists kidnap Earthseed’s children and threaten the existence of her community, Lauren must choose between her family and the religion she believes can change human destiny. Parable of the Talents won a Nebula Award in 1999.
Lilith’s Brood (Warner Books, 2000)
The Xenogenesis trilogy of Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago are collected in this volume.
Amnesty (SciFi.com, 2003)
(Short Story) A woman abducted by aliens as a child attempts to bridge the huge gap between her former abductors and her fellow humans. Read it online.