Saturday, November 15, 2008

Read-o-rama updates

According to the books I've been tracking in my "read-o-rama" widget, I've read 15 books over the past month (wow - 1 every 2 days!). That's a lot of books, but I've really been on a roll, and have some days where I really don't want to do anything other than read.

I'm flying through the Patternmaster series, with just the last book to read today. I read all the books in this series before (including "Survivor," which was never re-released and is not included in the compilation that I own and required a crazy effort to locate - and thus I'm not reading again this time), but out of order - or rather, I think I read them in publication order (except "Survivor," which I read last).

Reading them all in story chronology this time, my first reaction (aside from thinking how many of the same ideas Butler used again in "Fledgling," my recent reading of which inspired me to reread this series) was that I wondered how difficult it was to understand the books out of story chronology.

They were published in this order, with story chron after the pub date:
  • "Patternmaster" (1976 - book 5) - set in the distant future; introduces The Pattern and the Clayarks
  • "Mind of My Mind" (1977 - book 2) - traces the origins of The Pattern; introduces Doro and Emma/Anyanwu
  • "Survivor" (1978 - book 4) - same universe but not dealing with the main story; the story of a human who left Earth due to Clayark plague, traveling on a Patternist starship
  • "Wild Seed" (1980 - book 1) - traces the origins of Doro and Anyanwu
  • "Clay's Ark" (1984 - book 3) - traces the origins of the Clayark plague
The biggest questions I have are between books 1 and 2 - Emma/Anyanwu is a very minor character in "Mind of My Mind," and if you don't read "Wild Seed" first, it's hard to see her purpose at all; I have to assume that that origin story was already being developed. Anyanwu is the main character in "Wild Seed," and a largely likable one; it's difficult to see her not only relegated to minor player in "Mind of My Mind," but to see how the main protagonist of that book, Mary, is incredibly dismissive of her.

I'll read "Patternmaster" is weekend; it's been a few years, and I'm curious to see how many of the threads of books written later I can tease out of this first novel.

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