“This book was simultaneously fascinating, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Through the lens of a science fiction story about an alien race preparing humans to return to a post-apocalyptic Earth, Octavia Butler is able to reveal harsh and defining truths about humanity.
Lilith Iyapo suffered the loss of her family before a nuclear war destroyed the majority of life on Earth, and she "awakens" many years later to find herself in a stark and alien environment--onboard a living spaceship inhabited by nomadic beings called the Oankali. What we slowly discover about the Oankali is conflicting; they study Lilith and her reactions to different scenarios, then reveal that they plan to teach her to guide other humans back to live on Earth--with some modifications. The Oankali possess the ability to manipulate genetic material, and the changes that they impose on Lilith--and plan to impose on humankind--challenge perceptions of humanity.
This book is unlike any other science fiction story I've read, and I was awed by the depth of emotion that Butler is able to create. I love that she weaves aspects of sociology into her books, and that the interactions between people feel as interesting and genuine as the world she creates. This is the first book in her Lilith's Brood trilogy, and I'm interested to see where this powerful story will go from here.”
“"Dawn (The Xenogenesis Series: Book I)" by Octavia Butler is an extraordinary achievement in the epic sci/fi adventure genre. As a Hugo and Nebula Award winner she has spun a tale so stunning and unexpected that it borders on genius. The mellifluous pacing, stunning backdrops, elegant wordsmithery, and startling originality, positions Butler IMHO as a master storyteller extraordinaire. This is a must read by all aficionados of this genre, but be warned there are intense communal sexual couplings that some readers may find offensive although to my mind they are essential to the storyline. 5 stars!!!!!”Dave H wrote this review Friday, October 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“You can see why Octavia Butler is so well know in Science Fiction writing. The POV is of a surviver and you can see the parallels with the Russian regiem after WWII - where the only way to survive is to conform. The Aliens are neither the brutal killers of Predator or Alien nor the misunderstood from ET or Enemy Mine - in some way they are more honet than fanciful. The story draws you in with compassion and the question - what would I do?”Piper M wrote this review Wednesday, May 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When humanity destroys itself with nuclear bombs, a very alien species steps forward to save the human race. But help comes with a price.
I generally don't re-read books; however, this science fiction novel by my favorite sci-fi author has been on my mind lately. I was happy to find that I love the book just as much now as I did twenty years ago.
Unlike some sci-fi authors, Butler connects with the readers emotionally and not just intellectually. Her alien civilization is fascinating, but so are her human characters. Lilith, the main character in the story, struggles with her loyalties. Should she fight against the alien 'captors' and align herself with aggressive humans, or should she turn her back on humankind and accept the aliens' proposed deal? It was one of those books that I find myself asking over and over again, what would I do in the same situation.
One thing that bothered me, though (and bothered me the first time I read the book as well) was that Lilith's character was too hard and assertive. She did have a softer side, but she was so wrapped up in her dilemma that she had no sense of humor. Also, I would have thought that at least one of the remaining humans would have accepted the aliens. From time to time, I got a little annoyed with Lilith and the other humans. Also, the book ended very abruptly (although, I understand it is the first book of a trilogy.)
For readers who are interested in Star Trek type alien civilizations, this is an outstanding read. I'm very glad that I returned to it after so many years. Butler is an amazingly creative and talented writer.”
“Very interesting premise. This 70s book of fiction still resonates with all that is going wrong in the world today,”Mark K wrote this review Monday, February 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very intriguing, painstakingly detailed. Slow paced, but necessary as a basis for relations building of two separate species becoming cohabitors of one space.”kimberlee wrote this review Sunday, December 30, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The first novel in the trilogy explores the human xenophobia and our unwillingness and rigidness to evolve, move on, and embrace inevitable changes. The novel itself is a metaphor and a bleak description of the humanity after the nuclear war. There are numerous references and allusions to the speculative nuclear conflict between the USA and the former USSR, and it is not accidental because the book was written during the final detrimental moments of the Cold War when the antagonistic feelings were quite rampant.
The author’s style is spuriously simple. This deceptive simplicity is there to state plain facts about our human nature. And these facts are bleak and hard to face: as species we are hierarchical and brutal with the desire to domineer, challenge each other, and win. The meek and the independent are just disposable by-products in this cutthroat human environment.
The biggest credit of this post-apocalyptic novel is the true ‘alienness’ of aliens: their bizarre and repulsively different appearance, their uncharted psyche, their biology, their ingrained life philosophy to revere any form of life, their eco-friendly habitats, and, last but not least, their perception of gender and sexual behavior.
It is truly a thought-provoking novel, an exploration of our own brutal selves with the bizarre and well-developed aliens as a foil. The book is definitely out-of-the-comfort zone and challenges a potential reader with new ideas and tests your ability to accept unpleasant and ugly facts.”
“Butler's work questions the relationship between victim and savior / captor. ”Christine B wrote this review Sunday, July 24, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a fabulous introduction to sci-fi! Great premise (Earth destroyed by a nuclear war) and story line (survivors are rescued by unearthly beings named the Oankali, to repopulate the earth by genetically combining the 2 races). Easy read that explores many thought provoking themes such as race, gender, sexuality, man's inhumanity to man.”night owl wrote this review Wednesday, June 22, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No