Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler

Mind of My Mind is chronologically the second novel in the Patternist series. Like Wild Seed, it is a story that tells the origins of a group of people. Mary is the daughter of Doro (the creator of powerful telepaths, who we met in Wild Seed). Mary is the daughter that Doro has always wanted and she is just transitioning into her mental powers as the novel opens and it is obvious from the beginning that Mary will be extremely powerful, possibly powerful enough to challenge Doro. As Mary transitions into her mental powers she creates a Pattern that draws other telepaths to her. She is able to control these telepaths often forcefully and against their will. She can feed off of their energy and use the Pattern to call other telepaths, heal physical ails, and enhance the telepathic powers of others.

Butler’s stories are sure to be full of social and ethical questions. I think she writes these dilemmas and topics for thought into her stories well. There are issues of modern slavery (telepaths can control the thoughts and feelings of mutes or non telepaths and use them to do their bidding), genetic selection, and using gifts and powers for evil purposes. The only thing that I thought the book lacked was full development of the characters. I never really got to know Mary and her “First Family” and I didn’t feel very close to any of them. Each had their own set of powers, a life before Mary, and their own story of transitioning into their power and the pattern but the reader is given only a glimpse of this. This is exactly opposite of how I felt when reading Wild Seed. Hopefully Mind of My Mind is setting up the other books in the series; the idea of the Pattern is intriguing.

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