This was a good book. I have my gripes with it, but the headline is that this is a good book which I enjoyed more than I expected to enjoy it.
It takes a certain arrogance to be an author, an arrogance to believe that you have stories worth telling, stories that other people should want to read and enjoy, and, perhaps more importantly, an arrogance to keep believing that through what is inevitably a lengthy process of submission and rejection before publication.
This book reminded me of Ursula K Le Guin's writing. Something about the descriptions, the pacing, the plotting, the characters, echoed that author's mode and style. Not that I think Wild Seed is derivative in any way - it is one of the most unique stories I've come across recently - merely that the author happened to have similar style and preferences to Le Guin. Also like Le Guin, Butler takes a fairly common concept - that of immortals interacting with mortals - and follows through on it in a way that makes it compelling and original. This is, in many ways, what I've always wanted to see in a book that tackles that concept.