patternmaster, while being the last in the patternists series, was the first one octavia butler released. i accidentally read them in the order, first; wild seed, and second; mind of my mind. there are two other books in the series, survivor (which ms. butler ending up not liking, so she never let it be republished) and clay’s ark (which rachelle hasn’t lent me yet). the order doesn’t matter anyway, the books all stand on their own, you would just miss some of the back story.
patternmaster takes is set on a future primitive earth hundreds of years in the future where the psychic superiors, or patternists, ruled. the people without the psychic gift are called mutes, and they are mainly used as servants, laborers, on call lovers and any number of subordinate roles. i thought that she was going to make this a statement on class politics, which she did, just not in the way that i thought she would. instead she focused on the heirarchy of the patternists and all the rules and social morays of the ruling class and how that effects the lives of people who want to go the other way. again she handles the story telling in a beautiful and masterful way.
this is only the fourth octavia butler book i’ve read, i can really see how she earned the reputation that she has and why her fan base expands way beyond the world of sci-fi. also i am starting to understand why rachelle is so interested in the future primitive, and how she can extrapolate it from almost any situation or theme.