Wizard’s World

Andre Norton


I’m not a huge fan of short stories. I like a good, long novel to relax into. But Andre Norton is such a good writer, I am willing to accept her short stories. This varied collection has a little something for everyone.


Clay’s Ark (Patternmaster #3)

Olivia Butler


This last written, though third in chronology, is the weakest in the four-book series. It tell the story of a family caught up in the drama of an alien virus brought back to earth and unleashed upon upon an unsuspecting population. It was written to bridge the other three books, yet does little to connect them.

The Year of the Jackpot

Robert A. Heinlein


I much prefer Heinlein’s novels, but this novella is a good read. I had read it before but forgotten it over the years. Potiphar is a statistician who tracks cycles of ‘funny business’, noting they all peak together, which he call the ‘Year of the Jackpot.”

Statistics aside, his interest in Meade, a woman who stripped down to her skin at a bus stop, makes their relationship a bittersweet one.

Potiphar knows where things are trending, and it isn’t pretty.

Imago (Xenogenis #3)

Octavia Butler


In biology, imago is the final and fully adult stage after metamorphosis. Jodahs is the final stage of the process that began with Dawn and continued with Adulthood Rites. The offspring of a mating between human and oonkali, he is something else entirely. Both the humans and the oonkali don’t know quite what to do with him. He is either the savior of the world, or the damnation.

In this brilliant and to her trilogy, Octavia Butler offers an unexpected end to her masterful account of what happens after humans do their best to destroy earth, and the oonkali, an alien race from space, do their best to save it.


The Humans

Matt Haig


An alien from an advanced society comes to earth to  prevent a scientist from publicizing his discovery. At first he thinks humans are stupid and disgusting, but along the way he learns to love them.

This premise allows Haig to examine humanity as if from an outsider’s perspective and is occasionally funny. I think he meant the book to be funnier, but it mostly falls flat.

Mind of My Mind

Octavia Butler


This is the second of four books in the Patternmaster series, although it was written first. For  4,000 years Doro has implemented his breeding program. Until now, no one has opposed him. His ‘wife’ Emma has struggled with him, attempting to wake some humanity in him. Now she has produced a daughter that has powers that challenge him, leading to the ultimate struggle for domination.

Although Emma is not as fully realized as she is in the first book (written after this one), she is still a dynamic character. It is Butler’s gift as a writer to make her people seem real and engaging. I look forward to the next two books to see where she will take me.


Adulthood Rites

Octavia E. Butler


This is book two of the Xenogenesis trilogy. A few humans have been rescued from a nuclear holocaust, and now have an opportunity to thrive—if they are willing to merge their DNA with their rescuers. The main character is Akin, a ‘human’ boy, who is much more than he appears. Kidnapped in infancy, he is taken by ‘pure’ human resisters who refuse to believe their rescuers. Rendered sterile by the Oankali, they are barely surviving and can have no children of their own.

The Oankali choose to leave Akin with the humans, even though they have the power to return him to his parents. They have decided to leave the choice of whether to return fertility to the resisters, or let them die out. If they regain their fertility, they will destroy themselves again.

How Akin deals with the burden of the decision forms the bulk of this story.

Wild Seed

Olivia Butler


I used to read science fiction by the ton, then I drifted away. I had heard about Olivia Butler, and when her Patternist tetralogy turned up on one of my subscription lists for  $1.70, I decided to take a chance. I mean 4 books for $1.70 is quiet a bargain. Well, not only was it a smokin’ deal, the books are mind-boggling.

This is the first book in the series and introduces Doro and Anwanyu. He is a being thousands of years old, who extends his life by taking over another’s body. She is a 300-year-old healer and shapeshifter.  He is trying to breed individuals with psychic powers, and she is attempting to prevent him. This book is their initial struggle for mastery.

I am deep into the second book now, and it just keeps getting better. I’m glad I took a chance on an author new to me.


Olivia Butler


I don’t read much science fiction nowadays, unless it’s a reread from my younger days. I’ve been hearing so much about Olivia Butler, I decided to give her a try when her books became available for a discounted price. Wow, is she good. The book, the first of a trilogy, tells the tale of a human woman, Lilith, who is awakened aboard an alien ship. Earth has experienced an apocalyptic event, and a handful of humans have been preserved by the Oankali. Now it is time for them to prepare to return to earth.

Lilith’s struggle to accept the aliens, to help her fellow humans to prepare for return to earth, and to be willing to bear children who may not be quite human, is the bulk of the story of this, the first of a trilogy. I am eagerly reading the second book, Adulthood Rites to find out what happens next.

Stand on Zanzibar

John Brunner


I read this book for the first time many moons ago, and I bought a Kindle version to see how well it stood up to time. For the most part it did. I grew a little impatient with the length, but for the most part Brunner was fairly prescient about the way society was heading. We still aren’t there yet, thank God, but he’s pretty dead-on about where we are headed.

The book was more exciting when I was an impressionable 21-year old college student, but it still held my interest.