This book combines most of Butler’s Patternist novels:
- Wild Seed
- Mind of My Mind
- Clay’s Ark
Since I recently read Wild Seed, I got to skip that one directly to Mind of My Mind. Its story picks up not too long after the end of Wild Seed and by the end you know why the series is called Patternist.
Clay’s Ark came outta left field and didn’t feel like it was really connected to the first two books at. all. It feels like there was supposed to be a book in between this one and Mind, bridging the two together. Without that, the story in Clay’s Ark was interesting enough but I kept getting distracted by wondering when Butler was going to add some continuity with the rest of the series.
Patternmaster ties Mind and Ark together. The story has evolved so far from Wild Seed that it’s hard to see how they’re related at all. That story also feels rushed, with an abrupt and (IMO) unsurprising and unsatisfying ending.
Mind, being the one that most closely resembles Wild Seed, is the one I enjoyed the most. The other two were so different that I felt they breached the expectations and trust established by the first two. Wikipedia informs me that these books weren’t published in story-chronological order, which may explain somewhat why they don’t flow together very well.
Wikipedia also tells me that there’s a short story—A Necessary Being—that wasn’t included in this collection (because it was posthumously published seven years after this compilation came out) that may act as a bit of a bridge between Mind and Ark. I could seek it out, but at this point I feel I’ve ended my journey with this series, enjoying the first half but not the final.