Dawn - Xenogenesis, Bk 1 Author:Octavia E. Butler In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is "awakened," she finds that she has been chosen to revive h... more »er fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever. Bonded to the aliens in ways no human has ever known, Lilith tries to fight them even as her own species comes to fear and loathe her. A stunning story of invasion and alien contact by one of science fiction's finest writers.« less
This first book in Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy takes place entirely aboard an alien race's massive living spaceship. Confining events to a few rooms is not good if you're looking for lots of fast paced action. The story rather focuses on thoughtful development of main character Lilith. This is what you should expect from 1995 MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant" recipient Octavia E. Butler.
In short, Lilith is one of a few survivors of man's nuclear war on earth. She was "rescued" by an alien race which wishes to reestablish the nearly extinct human species. This help requires a trade-off. Humans must accept extensive genetic modification that will not only improve their chances for re-settling post-apocalypse earth, but will require accepting something more.
What is it that makes us "human?" What can we surrender and still be human? A thoughtful read. Recommended. Look for "Imago" and "Adulthood Rites" to continue story. Note, "Lilith's Brood" contains all three in one 700+ page book.
Humans came very close to wiping themselves out in a nuclear war, but the survivors were saved by the Oankali, for a price. The Oankali are determined to interbreed, and in a single generation there will be no more humans. Through the eyes of aliens, and by comparison, Butler gives a deeply insightful look at what it means to be human.
Superb. Stunning. Wonderful. Brilliant. I can't say anything bad about this book. Usually, in novels, I can easily pick a "side" and stick with it. In this one ... the issues were presented SO well that I could see both sides, and had no real idea what I would choose in such a situation. The conflict, drama was so well presented. I found myself cheering for both sides, angry with both sides, conflicted ... the book really made me think. Just brilliant.
On top of all of that, the writing is fantastic. I could not put this book down. I stayed up until 3AM reading it!
Very well crafted story with great characterization, many layered, complex social understanding, realistic portrayal of human interaction, intellectual, scientifically well-done. One of the few I rate 5 stars.
I really enjoyed this novel. It raises a lot of questions about identity, both individual and as a species. It was interesting how Butler predicted how different types of people would react to this extreme situation and what her characters reveal that she thought about human nature. I will definitely read the rest of the Xenogenesis series.