I read somewhere that this was not as good as some of her others and that it was too depressing. I actually really like this one as it took off with another of Butler's very original ideas, while still being tied to the other earlier Patternist series books. I think most if not all of her books are rather depressing, but interesting anyway. I think the depressing aspect springs from her work being largely social commentary. I love her writing.
Her writings (date published):
Wild Seed (1980)
Mind of My Mind (1977)
Clay's Ark (1984)
Parable of the Sower (1994)
"Speech Sounds" -- appeared in Asminov's Dec. 1983 and Blood Child and Other Stories (1995)
"Blood Child" -- appeared in Asminov's Jun 1984 and Blood Child and Other Stories (1995)
Blood Child and Other Stories (1995)
---Blood Child (1984)
---Evening and the Morning and the Night (1987)
---Near of Kin (1971)
---Speech Sounds (1983)
---Positive Obsession (1989)
---Furor Scibendi (1993)
Pretty cool story about folks infected with a disease attempting to separate themselves and contain the infection.
Clay's Ark begins in the past with the crash of a returning space ship. The lone survivor is infected with a plague he has picked up on a distant planet. The infected crew mamber was supposed to die with the other three survivors, but the organism he is infected with will not let him kill himself.
After escaping from the crash site he makes his way to an isolated farm. There he infects all of the others at the residence. Only the women survive. The organizm requires several things, food, water, and replication/reproduction in new victims.
Move to the present,the USA is a barren, dangerous place divided into sewers, and onclaves where people are safe from the human predators. Dr. Blake Maslin and daughters Rane and Keria are traveling across the barren desert in Arizona. The are driving to the girls grandparents as Keria is dying of leukemia and wants to see them one last time. During the drive they are stopped by a sand storm where they become new unsullied hosts for the virus.
The book describes the protagionists struggle to control his diease's demands with his own struggle to remain somewhat human and to keep the organism from spreading to the general population of the earth. It also describes Dr. Blake's struggle to protect his family and remain true to his profession and find a cure for the virus. The story moves back and forth between past and present giving the reader small glimpses into the story line and the lives of the characters both before and after they have the virus.
An interesting read, but sometimes the story is hard to follow and seems redundant in places. If you like plague and apocalyptic fiction this is a good read.
Octavia Butler always writes wonderful books, especially about post-apocalyptic America. Highly recommended.