I Can t Even Pure brilliance Check out my fangirly review this is the first science fiction book i have read since i was a teenager, and it was so good, i fell in love with octavia butler, and my interest in science fiction was rekindled when i started to develop a critical consciousness in college i found that i couldn t read my formerly favorite science fiction books, i.e stranger in a strange land by robert heinlein, because while they could imagine amazing technological and magical futures where the human mind could overcome previous boundaries, they couldn t reconfigure race, class, gender or sexuality women were actually objects, poor people were dispensable, people of color were invisible, and heterosexuality as we know it still ruled octavia butler is the answer in her novels, and in this series in particular, she re imagines race, gender and sexuality as society is destroyed by war, and a new one is created by aliens, it is not possible to maintain a semblance of normalcy a new reality is constructed besides all this, it is a terrific story i envied akin s abilities to detect edible wild plants and read people thoroughly through touch and taste i will certainly go back and read these stories over and over. Lilith Iyapo Is In The Andes, Mourning The Death Of Her Family, When War Destroys Earth Centuries Later, She Is Resurrected By Miraculously Powerful Unearthly Beings, The Oankali Driven By An Irresistible Need To Heal Others, The Oankali Are Rescuing Our Dying Planet By Merging Genetically With Mankind But Lilith And All Humanity Must Now Share The World With Uncanny, Unimaginably Alien Creatures Their Own Children This Is Their Story I wouldn t normally define myself as a straight up science fiction fan in fact, I m normally put off by techno fairy tales and scary alien stories But I finally picked upLilith s Broodafter my father who is something of a purist bothered me enough I was instantly intrigued.It isn t just a post apocalyptic novel or an exploration of other worlds or other races of beings, for that matter No, Butler decided to use the aliens that have taken control of the dying human race in order to raise questions regarding what it means to be human After the last nuclear war, most of Earth is left in ruin, with only a few survivors The Oankali are nonviolent aliens with an unsettling appearance and they re planning a genetic trade with the humans after they use their strange technology to bring the world back to its former luster That means mating and intermingling an idea that, naturally, does not initially sit well with the first group the Oankali want to sent down to the surface Throughout the first book, Dawn , I found myself delightfully torn in my take on what was going on What would I do if my only chance for survival if future generations depended on giving up pieces of my humanity What if what defines us as humans is our most dangerous aspect Would you willingly give yourself up to be fixed, or watch your children grow tentacles so that they didn t crave war Read this You will like it. Octavia Butler has a way of holding up a mirror to humanity and showing us everything that is ugly and perhaps shameful I have read every book Ms Butler has written and this was not my favorite of her books in my first read, but it is the one that has stuck with me the longest This is the closest to straight up sci fi that her books get, but it still remains human The Xenogenesis series is so fascinating on both a cultural and an anthropological level, in the destruction of one world and the creation of a new one But most importantly it is a completely and utterly disturbing look at the transformation of the human race and free will I suppose all her books deal with this on some level, but throw earth s survivors onto a new planet to endure forced alien breeding and the issue gets forced pretty quickly in these novels Overall, I would say if you are struggling with this series then read some of her other books Fledgling is perhaps the easiest to read and then come back to this series. My personal favorite sci fi trilogy I have reviewed the individual volumes separately Dawn Adulthood Rites ImagoMind blowing, thought provoking, thrilling stuff Plenty hyperbole in the above mentioned reviews One thing I particularly want to mention about the author is I love how she embraced the science fiction author label Unlike some literary talented authors who prefer to avoid the sci fi label she took pride in it Certainly I agree that it is an author s prerogative how they want their works or themselves to be classified, which makes Octavia Butler s choice that much meaningful, the photo below beautifully illustrates this point I wish she was still with us. OK here is my review for Dawn Read it or not I discovered as I jumped strait into Adulthood Rites and finished it a day later that I was unable to write a review I simply kept reading and into Imago I went It was seamless I am not sure why we have 3 different books For me it read as a grand story What an amazing beginning.Profound It sets the whole tone The middle I still don t know what to say I felt myself changing, becoming like the ooloi, taking everything in, letting it fill me, then my human part reared it s head and I was scared, confused Then the finale The end The reason for it all Oh the conundrum We have hope We have change Which choice is correct Some of it feels so wrong.I am human But then I find my inner ooloi and think, this is it This is the correct path And we have Lilith Steadfast throughout Resigned Happy Content Yes I think so Without Lilith we have nothing It is said that Heaven lies at your mother s feet I hope Lilith is revered Remembered Oh right This is a Novel Actually 3 novels I don t know why I never read these But I do know as soon As I return this to the library, I will be making a purchase and putting this on my shelf It deserves to be read over and over I can see it Like an ooloi. This is one of my new favorite worlds I adored the Oankali and learning about them throughout the trilogy I love how this book is saturated in ethical ambiguity You need to decide if you think the Oankali have the concept of consent in their culture If you think they do, then this is a very disturbing series If you think they don t, then this encourages you to look at the situation from a fascinating new perspective This sci fi family saga constantly questions what it means to be human I absolutely loved it This is one of the scariest books I have read in a long time Good science fiction, good posthuman fiction, challenges the idea of what it means to be human Octavia E Butler goes beyond that, way beyond, challenging not just what human means but how open minded I am to such challenges This book blew my mind.As a huge fan of science fiction, and as a relatively erudite person, I like to think that I have an open mind I like to think that I m receptive to the idea of drastically alternate human futures I believe the Singularity, if we survive long enough, is inevitable and I welcome it After reading Lilith s Brood, especially the first book, Dawn, I m no longer so sure of my open mindedness As I read the book, I found Butler s ideas running up against walls of prejudice and bias I didn t even know I have.The Oankali rescue humanity from the brink of total annihilation by global warfare They offer humanity the chance to survive, but at the price of human independence humans and Oankali would hybridize, their mating supervised and controlled by the third gendered Oankali ooloi, who can manipulate DNA of individual cells Some humans don t like this idea, so they resist This surprises the Oankali, who are continually frustrated by the human contradiction of intelligence and hierarchical society It takes a human, at first, Lilith, to help the Oankali succeed in their plan to save humanity Later, two of Lilith s human Oankali construct children, Akin and Jodahs, make valuable contributions toward ensuring the future of both humans and the human Oankali species being born on Earth Of course, the question remains is it enough Can we ever triumph over the human contradiction and survive, whether independently or in a merger with the Oankali Butler doesn t seek answers to these questions She addresses their existence, which may or may not have been obvious to the reader, and then explores the idea of merging with an alien species This isn t a trashy SF novel with tentacle sex and mind blowing orgasms It s a deeply seductive, profound, and repulsive SF novel with tentacle sex and mind blowing orgasms The Oankali are terrifying because they are truly alien, and it s impossible for humans to negotiate with them on human terms Probably the most potent example occurs at the end of Dawn, when Lilith tells her ooloi mate, Nikanj, that she is not ready to have children with it Yet ooloi are perceptive to the cellular level, and Nikanj knows that even if Lilith claims that she does not want children, her body wants children So he makes her pregnant This abrogation of Lilith s free will and control over her body recurs throughout the series, and is explicitly codified in Imago by Jodahs It is undergoing its first metamorphosis, changing from child to subadult ooloi an unexpected change, and one that may mean exile to the orbiting ship Nikanj again makes a promise, this time to Jodahs, to let Jodahs stay with it for as long as you want to stay Jodahs interprets It meant as long as I was not miserable alone with the family than it believed I would be if I were cut off from the family and sent to the ship Humans tended to misunderstand ooloi when ooloi said things like that Humans thought the ooloi were promising that they would do nothing until the Humans said they had changed their minds told the ooloi with their mouths, in words But the ooloi perceived all that a living being said all words, all gestures, and a vast array of other internal and external bodily responses Ooloi absorbed everything and acted according to whatever consensus they discovered Thus ooloi treated individuals as they treated groups of beings They sought a consensus If there was none, it meant the being was confused, ignorant, frightened, or in some way not yet able to see its own best interests The ooloi gave information and perhaps calmness until they could perceive a consensus Then they acted.Through the ooloi model of decision making and action, Butler challenges our individuality by removing our prerogative for self deception Suddenly, our wants and needs are determined biologically, regardless of what we say we want Is there a difference Should there be a difference I don t know, but the idea of some third party disregarding my wishes, whether those wishes are right or wrong, certainly scares me.This emphasis of the biological over the social is a major theme of Lilith s Brood and also the source of my only real disappointment with the series I dislike how strongly Butler emphasizes the biological construction of gender and ignores pretty much anything except the traditional heterosexual masculine male and feminine female Yes, the mating of humans and Oankali challenges our ideas of sex, but not really gender aside from the act being performed, men are still masculine and females are still feminine There are no gay men or lesbian women I don t think the Oankali would have an equivalent relation, because they would not understand the idea of sexual orientation To them, sex is purely physical Love, as humans define it, does not exist Mating is based on attraction, maintained by permanent neurochemical attraction, and for the purpose of procreation The gender roles of the Oankali are even strictly partitioned than human genders have ever been, to the point of being indistinguishable from biological sex I m not certain how much of this omission is deliberate on Butler s part or to what purpose, but I think it s an avenue of exploration that shouldn t have been left fallow.Aside from this disappointment, this book s brilliance compensates for its other faults Adulthood Rites and Imago are somewhat less compelling than Dawn, partly because of the changes in perspective although it s interesting how Butler begins the series with a human protagonist, then switches to a male human Oankali construct, and concludes with an ooloi human Oankali These increasing degrees of Otherness are an effective narrative strategy, but sometimes the later two books failed to hold my interest Sometimes the Resister characters felt too thin not that I disbelieved that humans could act so harshly and shortsightedly, but that everyone seemed to act that way Butler explores the psyche of the very alien Oankali and human Oankali constructs, but she seldom delves into the minds of regular humans, save for Lilith in Dawn Lilith s Brood made me look at my own psyche, however, and question how well I knew myself that is, to what extent I was deceiving myself when it came to my tolerance for change I still like to think I m eager for the posthuman future, but Butler has helped show me that it could be far frightening, on both a visceral and conceptual level, and far seductive, than I previously thought This series is a masterwork combination of thought experiment and character conflict, and it has accomplished what all books set out to do but few books can achieve it has changed me A thought compelling exploration of possibilities, Butler creates verisimilitude even as she pulls us away from any sense of normal, removes any sense of safety, and refuses to reassure us that the questions we ask ourselves will have nice, comforting answers.Read this book. Okay, so, how dare I give anything Octavia Butler wrote four stars instead of five I think that if I read some of her later stuff first, I would have understood this narrative to be part of her growing process as a theorist novelist Being that it was my first book of hers to read, after hearing so much about her gay genius and feminist protagonists, I was really disappointed with her tendency to fall back on tired notions of femininity masculinity, imperative to breed, and the alien third gender I mean, thank you so much for the chemical biological dis utopia, the symbiosis, the incredible view of new kinds of love that revise our relationships, but where are all the people I know and love in this post apocalypse Are the only humans to survive really these archetypal strong weak woman and confused rapist men, all joined in the innate and violent drive to make babies There is some character variations, like Lilith herself, but I just don t think that the legion of i pod addled, youth obsessed, individualistic perverts I know would be bitching and whining that much about living for hundreds of years and have polyamorous relationships involving aliens that plug directly into your nervous system I mean, if that is our future, let s hurry this shit up maybe that was of a digression than a review Basically, I didn t like the glum view of humanity as being straight, violent, baby obsessed fascists, but if it gotta be that way, she did it really well.