Wild Seed by Octavia Butler is gripping on so many levels. To be sure, it’s not an easy book to read. Octavia Butler may be one of the first African American speculative fiction writers, but her books are from an African perspective, which is difficult to digest depending on your knowledge of African history.
I’ll admit I had never read Butler’s work, which as a poc and an avid reader felt like a failure on my part. But after speaking with friend Carol Binta, author of Civilized Blacks, I made a mental not to get a book of Butler’s read.
It may have taken me a year to read it, but I did it! I listened to it on audio and I think for this type of book, audio really works: you don’t have to struggle with the pronunciation of unfamiliar words and your imagination can still see images in your mind’s eye.
What is so AMAZING about Wild Seed isn’t the African bits. The amazing bit is that if you like spec fic or sci fi or dystopian reads or anything like that then this book is for you. There are two main characters: Doro, who is a spirit who can inhabit anyone’s body and live in it. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter! Is there anymore I need to say about that? Imagine a book that is so forward thinking that in the 80s Butler was writing about shapeshifters which is now a commonly used trope.
For the shapeshifting alone you should read Wild Seed. Once you get used to it you will love it! Older teens and adults only, please. This title qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.