Read Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler Free Online
Book Title: Mind of My Mind|
The author of the book: Octavia E. Butler
ISBN 13: 9780385126007
Edition: Doubleday Books
Date of issue: January 1st 1995
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.74 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.6
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“Doro wanted an empire. He didn’t call it that, but that was what he meant. Maybe I was just one more tool he was using to get it. He needed tools, because an empire of ordinary people wasn’t quite what he had in mind. That, to him, would be like an ordinary person making himself emperor over a lot of cattle.”
I am reading the omnibus edition of Octavia Butler’s Patternist series, published as Seed to Harvest (Patternist #1-4 ). Mind of My Mind is volume 2 of the series but actually written and published before volume 1, the excellent Wild Seed. This is another excellent Butler book but I wish I had read it before Wild Seed because, to my mind, reading in publication order is always better§, I would have read it as a prequel to Mind of My Mind and appreciate both books more (even though I already appreciate both very much).
Mind of My Mind begins with body hopping super-mutant Doro* visiting Anyanwu—who now calls herself Emma—the protagonist of the previous volume. He persuades and coerces Emma to take charge of Mary, a latent telepath who will soon transition† into a functional telepath, able to wield psionic powers. Doro has a life mission to build a race of powerful telepaths by breeding and crossbreeding people with psi abilities like cattle. Mary is expected to transition into a powerful telepath with unusual powers. This turns out to be the case, but the result is more spectacular than anybody expected. It turns out that post-transition Mary has the ability to permanently link herself to other telepaths and form an almost hive mind-like psionic group called “the pattern” of seemingly unlimited size. This seems like the ultimate goal of at Doro’s life mission, but things are happening too fast for his liking and a power struggle becomes unavoidable.
Mind of My Mind belongs to the “psychic power” sub-genre of sci-fi, the best known examples of this that I can think of is Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, Theodore Sturgeon’s classic More Than Human, and the lesser known but excellent Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. Now I can add this book to my list of favorite psi sci-fi. Interestingly Wild Seed does not belong in this subgenre because it focuses more on shape changing. The idea of “the pattern” is similar to Sturgeon’s “homo gestalt” where separate individuals can act in tandem as if they are parts of one body.
This book is relentlessly entertaining and very fast-paced, I was gripped from beginning to end. It does, however, lack the nuances and elegance of Wild Seed, written later in Butler’s career. I am also mildly disappointed that the wonderful Anyanwu from Wild Seed is barely featured in this book and does not keep her beautifully exotic name. There is a vague theme of slavery and resistance to tyranny through a united effort, but I think this book is mostly a sci-fi thriller, and as such, it works very well. If you like the other psi books I mentioned above, or if you are a fan of movies like Cronenberg’s head exploding Scanners and Brian De Palma's The Fury you are likely to have a great time with this book. I think it is tremendous, and short too! (224 pages).
* Doro is the main antagonist in Wild Seed. He is able transfer his personality (or soul) from one body to another, a sort of hostile takeover that also leaves the previous body dead. He also needs to make these transfers from time to time as he feeds off the soul of the original owner of the body that he is evicting.
† Transition is a sudden development process like caterpillar to pupa to butterfly, which a latent needs to go through and survive, in order to usefully manifest their powers.
§ If you are undecided about the reading order of this series, read the discussion here, it should help.
• Yes, the series is more science fantasy than science fiction.
“She’s part of my latest attempt to bring my active telepaths together. I’m going to try to mate her with another telepath without killing either of them myself. And I’m hoping that she and the boy I have in mind are stable enough to stay together without killing each other. That will be a beginning.”
“Breed didn’t sound like the kind of word that should be applied to people. The minute he said it, though, I realized it was the right word for what he was doing.”
“Before the Pattern, active telepaths had not been able to survive together in groups. They could not tolerate each other, could not accept the mental blending that occurred automatically without the control of the Pattern.”
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Read information about the authorOctavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
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