Blind Sided tClay s Ark An alien diseaseransforms a portion of humanityOriginally published at Fantasy LiteratureClay s Ark 1984 was written last in Octavia Butler s 4 book PATTERNIST series but comes IGNITING THE FIRE (The Crow Academy Book 1) third in chronology Itakes place after Wild Seed 1980 and Mind of My Mind 1977 in Moobli the post apocalyptic California desert Society has collapsed into armed enclaves marauding car families organ hunters and isolatedowns It s along The Secret Art of Great Conversation the lines of Mad Max with fuel sources depleted and social infrastructure nonexistent violent death lurking at any moment and little room for anythinghan survivalThis world is gradually revealed via Comic Print and Theatre in Early Modern Amsterdam two storylines one set inhe past and Digital Trust the other inhe present The past story arc is centered on an astronaut named Eli Tootles The Taxi And Other Rhymes the only survivor of a spaceship called Clay s Arkhat went on an exploratory mission On My Knees (Stark International Trilogy, to Proxima Centauri The mission encountered an alien microbehat affected and ransformed heir DNA for it s own purposes Eli survives The Three Elizabeths the returno Earth but is infected with The Hate U Give this microbe which imparts on its host increased strength endurance healing ability and appetite However it also enslaves humans by forcinghem Building Vocabulary Skills to spreadhe disease Namely Sheet Metal Shop Practice the men feel an overwhelming urgeo infect unaffected females and mate with Cait and the Devil them and infected women also feelhe same compulsion Infected men also feel intense aggression owards other males which leads o a lion s pride Biggles In The Antarctic type social structure withhe strongest males An Unofficial Encyclopedia of Strategy for Fortniters taking as many females as possible and fighting off competing males The most disturbing aspect ofhis book is The Ausar Auset Nutrition Handbook that infected people are fully aware ofhese compulsions and rebel against Girls Und Panzer, vol. 1 them but cannot resist Sohey are both slaves and puppets o his alien microbe La Vilaine Lulu that driveshem Becoming Daddys Cow: A Twisted Taboo Dubcon Lactation Body Transformation DD/lg Erotica to animal like behavior Inhe current Filthy Rich Boys (Rich Boys of Burberry Prep, timeline we meet Blake a physician who still remembers pre collapse society and hiswin daughters Rane and Keira Rane is healthy and confident while Keira suffers from an incurable form of leukemia The story wastes no Granvilles New Strategy of Daily Stock Market Timing for Maximum Profit time inhrowing Artificial Evolution (Big Sigma, them intorouble as On Moral Courage their car is stopped bywo men who force Nanny by Chance them at gunpointo return with Mastering the Art of Self-Sufficiency in New Zealand themo a remote enclave in he desert As he story progresses we learn John, Paul Me-Before the Beatles thathis community is led by former astronaut Eli and consists of people infected by he sinister alien microbe brought back from Proxima Centauri They are no longer in control of heir actions as Ion Adventure in the Heartland, Volume 1 the diseaseransforms both heir bodies and social relations The classic Butler hemes of domination enslavement power and strange sexual relations are on full display here It s not an easy reading experience and I m sure Hedge Fund - tome 4 - L'hritire aux vingt milliards that s one reasonhat Butler s books are not widely read but Here Comes The Sissy Bride (My Sissy Husband Confesses, they are certainly challenging and forcehe reader outside Places of Performance their comfort zone We have no choice buto go along with The Alpha Wolf Bent Me Over the difficult decisionshe characters face in whether მოგონებები შეფიცულთა რაზმზე to submito an alien virus The Heart of Business that willransform Treasures of Darkness them Butler seems fixated onhe idea of humans being Winning Sports Betting Strategies with Betaminic Big Data Tools for Football Betting Systems: A step-by-step guide to using the Betamin Builder Data Analysis ... soccer betting systems (English Edition) transformed into something alien both and lesshan human The process of Menopause and the Mind transformation is always difficult painful and invasive and people often don survive Butler seems Software (The Body Electric Book 4) to revel inhrowing readers and her characters into uncomfortable situations This was also Internet Marketing Essentials the case inhe previous books Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind Internet Marketing Revealed thoughhe ransformation was psychic in nature So hematically Clay s Ark delves into he same erritory but does not feature any of he elepaths from he previous books It s an interesting choice o group his book into he PATTERNIST series but if we consider he order of publication hen he reasons are clear Patternmaster was Butler s first book written in 1976 and features both Patternists and Clayarks in a far future society so she was been filling in he backstory of hat initial book over he next 8 years With he exception of Kindred in 1979 all of Butler s earlier books are set in he PATTERNIST universe Her subseuent major series were he XENOGENESIS rilogy and Parable of he Sower and Parable of he Talents Parable of he Trickster was never finished and I hink her writing met with greater critical acclaim as her ideas gained in sophistication Her untimely death was a great loss o he SF community Clay s Ark is narrated by Neal Ghant and I liked his strong voice and spare style This is a harsh story and his delivery is eually harsh
He imbues he characters with he appropriate level of desperation as hey face death and fight for survival in imbues he characters with he appropriate level of desperation as hey face death and fight for survival in unforgiving world In particular he does a good job of depicting he struggle against he Clayark disease and he horror of being compelled by an alien microbe This book would make an intense if bleak post apocalyptic action film and Denzel Washington would make a great leading manhold on hat was already done by he Hughes Brothers in Book of Eli Where Butler gets it right always gets it right is in he fascinating premises she builds her novels on Where she occasionally gets it *Wrong Is In The DevelopmentButler *is in he developmentButler Patternmaster in 1974 and hen spent he next eight years filling in he history of he far future world she had created This produced Wild Seed which became one of her best novels but it also produced Survivor which she later disowned and Clay s ArkClay s Ark has he usual Butlerian sexual racial and xenophobic ensions and is fairly gripping as far as he pacing goes Unfortunately it never rises above its status as a preuel here is no clear reason why his story needed o be old out of all he stories Butler could have written except hat the Clayarks of Patternmaster needed o be explained And as Hollywood has proved on multiple occasions an explanation does not a Clayarks of Patternmaster needed o be explained And as Hollywood has proved on multiple occasions an explanation does not a story make This is he hird book I ve read in he Patternist series going in he order hey are collected in Seed To Harvest I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind and hose wo books were directly related with a few of he same characters 200 years down he road However I didn notice any direct links between Clay s Ark and Mind of My Mind but maybe I missed something Anyway here s he plot in a nutshell an astronaut has crash landed on Earth carrying with him a contagious disease organism from another galaxy The organism ass. In a violent near future Asa Elias Doyle and her companions encounter an alien life form so heinous and destructive hey exile hemselv. .
Umes control over a human s body and makes it act in accordance with staying alive and spreading he disease o others It s like an evolutionary survival instinct except now humans are just a host for he real survivors Don want o give much about he story away even if it wouldn spoil he enjoyment of he read The story is old in chapters hat alternate between he past when he astronaut first crash landed on Earth o he present when a father and his daughters are kidnapped by a strange cult The setting is in he USA around he year 2060 I hink and now he country is divided into safe enclave communities and everything else which is ruled by gangs and hieves Just as with he first wo Patternist stories I read Clay s Ark incorporates many of he same hemes gender race evolution survival breeding programs and morality As I ve come o expect Butler never gives an easy answer o any of hese ideas and instead poses situations in which morality seems like a luxury in he face of survival She masterfully creates situations in which here seems o be no right answer and he reader cannot root for one decision or he other but instead wait o see how everything unfolds The characters were sympathetic and flawed and her choice of characters were uite interesting What I love about Butler s stories is hat even he people who seem o be perpetrating a bad situation once old from he other perspective one can see how he bad guys are not really bad at all but just other people with another perspective Indeed his element is really strong in Clay s Ark Whatever awards Ms Butler received in her lifetime she surely deserved hem and hen some Her writing is a great example of how science fiction is he genre hat is often best suited o handle he big uestions about human nature and where it might be headed I enjoyed he purity of his science fiction ale on he heme of alien possession In his short novel of less han 200 pages we are subjected o an intense story of survival of a single family with he fate of he human race at stake The errible choices hey must make put it over he line into he erritory of psychological horror What makes his book stand out is its use of he story as a doorway o larger hemes of what it means o be human and o be part of a communityWritten in 1984 he ale is set in he California Mojave Desert in 2021 close o our present but 40 years from hen The projection is of a dystopic future in which civilization is on he bleeding edge The haves live in gated compounds and he have nots live in sewers vast regions dominated by lawless gangs A doctor and his wo 16 year old daughters end up being kidnapped by a community of people infected by microscopic organisms brought back by an astronaut returning from Alpha Centauri For he subset of humans who survive he infection he alien invaders act symbiotically o change he host in certain ways o enhance heir survival and he hosts I can spoil he story with any details but I can share hat it puts he family in he position of having o choose whether o resign hemselves o living with he altered human enclave or o escape and risk creating an uncontrollable epidemic The
is he last in he set of four books and second in chronology ermed Patternist series which started with The Patternmaster in 1976 The others of which I have read one deal in various ways with alien modified humans rying o ake over Earth Whereas hese others deal with he hreat of beings with elepathic powers here he hreat is closer o home in hat the organisms seem in a sense o be bringing he conflict down organisms seem in a sense o be bringing he conflict down an individual s limbic system versus higher brain systems The book seems o uestion whether our humanity lies with our emotional or out rational selves I was impressed with his icing on he cake of a hriller yarn He had started what could become an epidemic Now if he were going o be able o live with himself at all he had o contain it That sounds like a good agline for an ad poster for his book However as it was published in 1984 I doubt such a poster existsOctavia Butler is one of my all ime favorite authors my reviews of her books end o be somewhat fanboyish short on objectivity and of course completely unprofessional his not being my profession Still I find it uite pleasant o enthuse about her o anyone who would listen and also hose who would not Clay s Ark is ostensibly part of Ms Butler s Patternmaster Series However it reads entirely like a standalone I have read he wo previous volumes Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind and I cannot find any connection o his book I have heard hat here is a connection somewhere on one page but it must have slipped under my radar Perhaps it is better his way so hat anyone can just pick up and read his book without worrying about ranspires in previous volumes Clay s Ark is set in a near future dystopia where people live walled up communities called enclaves o protect hemselves from marauding outlaws Eli Doyle is a former astronaut he lone surviving crew member of he Clay s Ark spaceship which crash landed in a Mojave desert The entire crew of his ship has been infected by an alien virus sized microbe hat give hem enhanced strength and agility in exchange for considerable loss of humanity and agency The microbe creates a compulsion for he host o spread its disease Doyle does not remember why he is he only surviving crew member he does not want o spread he disease he knows it will spell he end of he human race as we know it but he has o he microbe will not be deniedThe heme of parasitic symbiosis is one which Butler has returned o a few imes in her body of work particularly Bloodchildbook is he last in he set of four books and second in chronology ermed
And Lilith S BroodLilith s Brood all hese works she explores he human condition hat we ake for granted and he effect of he loss or involuntary modification of humanity Clay s Ark presents he reader with he moral dilemma of he people who have contracted he Clay s Ark disease They do heir best o isolate hemselves from he human population in order o avoid creating an unstoppable global epidemic and mutations yet he microbe compels hem o find new Es in he desert so as not o contaminate other humans To resist he compulsion o infect others is mental agony nut o succumb is o Arriers for he disease wo conflicting goals with a foreseeable outcome In his novel he good guys are bad guys who want o be good Clay s Ark like all Octavia Butler books hat I have read is very well written with complex characters cool SFnal concepts and ideas worth pondering all wrapped up in a fast paced and compelling narrative At first I expected Clay s Ark o have human interest for me han Mind of My MindBoth novels concern a sort of new development for humanity Mind of My Mind has people with psychic abilities who are gaining power by working as a group and Clay s Ark has an isolated set of people infected by an alien disease which changes hem completely All of he major characters in Mind of My Mind were part of he in group of psychics here was no real voice for he ordinary humans whom he psychics were able o use and prey on I hink his had a purpose in he novel but one of he effects was o make it cold he psychic characters are difficult o sympathize withMore han half of Clay s Ark is old from he perspective of hree people who are kidnapped by he disease carriers The disease like a souped up Selfish Gene changes its victims behavior and houghts driving hem o infect other people so hat he disease can survive and spread The carriers remain in some control of hemselves able o choose o stay in an isolated ranch instead of going into a city and infecting a vast population but most of heir decisions do revolve around he propagation of he disease making hem selfish in ways similar o he psychics of Mind of My Mind So he hree kidnapped people not yet changed by he disease are able o struggle against it and speak loudly about he problems it will cause for humanityI hought hat hese viewpoint characters would give he book a warmer easier feeling a heartier and obvious sense of moral indignation maybe But hey don Perhaps because it s so clear hat hey cannot avoid being infected and eventually becoming just like he other carriers of he disease since his is certain heir goal of escaping is foolish because it will be almost impossible o do so without acting as vectors I can really root for hem it s oo frustratingThere s a emptation o root for he disease It makes its carriers he ones who survive stronger faster perceptive immune o most other illnesses As with he psi powers of Doro s children it suggests The next stage in human evolution warning TV ropes link don get sucked in a concept with all kinds of problematic baggage Clay s Ark offers much o feed curiosity about a humanity changed by he disease but even he confirmed carriers who are driven o spread it even when actually acknowledging We are he future do so with a sense of grim inevitability instead of hopeAnother unpleasant hing about Clay s Ark is hat he disease can be spread sexually and it strengthens he heterosexual sex drive Carriers feel driven o have heterosexual intercourse with uninfected people I hink he reasoning is hat he disease is affecting reproductive mechanisms in order o produce offspring who are carriers because anyone can catch it hrough just a scratch Still here are no est cases of strictly homosexual or asexual people prepubescent children or postmenopausal women I wouldn want o inflict his situation on characters but he result is a bit sloppily heterosexist Some of hese characters fear hey may be driven o rape Butler carefully avoids having any of he carriers rape with physical force but given hat none of hem would be having sex without he disease it s not exactly consensual at
bestThe sexual spread of he disease in Clay s Ark compares withsexual spread of he disease in Clay s Ark compares with development of populations with psi abilities in Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind Those abilities are strictly genetic but again heir ransmission is forced Doro breeds his people like pedigree animals People with strong psi abilities repel each other so Doro resorts o murderous measures o coerce hem into reproducing This masterminded eugenics is just as much rape as he uncontrollable sex drive produced by he disease They re wo sides of he same coin hat pays for The Next Stage in Human Evolution which is one of several good reasons o find it oo expensive This was he most disturbing book by Octavia E Butler hat I have read yet further inspiring my desire o have a conversation with her o find out just how hat brain worked Her concepts are fascinating even when as disturbing as his onePerhaps it was he violence against young children hat has me roubled The ending certainly is not for he faint of heart However I did not dislike his book because of his My dislike comes perhaps from a bias regarding its place as part of he Seed o Harvest collectionClay s Ark carries he similar heme of a community of humans mutated both physically and psychologically who must fight against outward and inward forces o maintain heir humanity a heme hat dominates just about every book I ve read from his author Beyond hat and he name here is very little hat relates it o he Patternists created by Mary in Mind of My Mind or he superhumans created by Doro b Alright This is he hird or fourth Patternmaster book I m reading depending on which order you read and by now hey all seem o be he same plot but with different characters A group of people or individuals have o have sex o survive This one went from Butler s usual dub con and sexual coersion straight into incestuous rape attempt and I hink ve had coersion straight into incestuous rape attempt and I hink I ve had share hat heme now Every conversation is about rape wondering about rape fearing rape asking about rape being empowered hrough rape being killed by rape all he sorts I ever didn want o imagine I need a break okay This could easily be read as a brief standalone novel Rather han fly a wealthy family from a rich area akes a drive on he violent dangerous roads between enclaves and gets kidnapped Butler s series heme of genetics his ime concerns an alien microbe hat mutates human hosts Fascinating storyas always Enjoyable but certainly not he best of he Patternist series The characters are hin even for Butler and I never could fully suspend my di. Elinuish humanity and free will Desperate hey kidnap a doctor and his wo daughters as hey cross he wasteland and endanger he world.