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 her 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.
©1987 Octavia E. Butler (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Dawn ranks up into my top 5 books of all time. I read a lot of books, sci-fi, fantasy and horror. I have been through so many different authors that it's mind boggling. Not one can I say I am what you'd call a "fan." I would buy two maybe three books by a single author and lose interest. They eventually become unrelatable and repetitive to me. I am a very hard to please book fan... extremely hard to please. I have just discovered Octavia E. Butler last week. I have already read /listened to four of her books. For me, the way she writes is a way I can relate to. I see myself in her characters. I listen to her "Forwards" and "Afterwards" and I am right there with her. I've never had that with an author before. She is a real literary gem and more than deserving of every award she won. At least, in my opinion.
I can't really compare the story to another book. It's more like a very interesting "Twilight Zone" episode.
This is my first listen to Aldrich Barrett. She is Amazing. Her voice is soothing yet to the point and quietly intense when it needs to be. Her character voices are easily distinguishable. She has no overly cartoony voices. She doesn't try to have a "male" voice, yet it comes across clearly that she's speaking as a male character. No obnoxious lisp, gross popping saliva like sound some other readers have. I would Love to hear a book read by her coupled with Tim Curry.
The main characters revulsion and acceptance at the same time.
Give one of Octavia's books a try. I rarely rave about authors, you can see this from my other reviews. If you like stories that reply more on the actual story to be interesting, psychologically complex, then Octavia's writing is for you. If you Only need 6 hours of someone bashing in skulls to entertain you and scare you (Not that I am opposed to such books, they just aren't very.... scary, kind of boring and most try too hard to be shocking that they fail horribly), you will not have the intellect to understand the real horror she writes about.
I'LL OPEN THE WALL FOR YOU
Written in 1987, I don't understand how it is considered a Classic. This is not even one of Butler's most well known novels, nor has it won any awards.
SHE WONDERED WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE WITH IT'S SECOND PAIR OF ARMS
The concept is interesting and worth exploring. Earth has done themselves in with a major global war. An alien race decides to save the human race. The alien race terraforms the earth. The rub here, is that they terraform it differently than it had been. They are masters at gene manipulation. In saving humans they take some of our genes and gives us some of their genes. The end human product will not be the same humans as was before Armageddon. This could have been an exciting story, appealing to many fans. The book is intellectual and leads to stimulating conversation. The problem, is the book is mostly conversations. Very little really happens, it is mostly talking and asking questions. Reads like a thesis.
"Strange, interesting, uncomfortable"
This is an unusual story of a post-apocalyptic alien invasion. "Invasion" is not even really the right word, considering that mankind had all but destroyed itself already, and the alien Oankali merely rescued the survivors. "Rescued" them and put them in a sort of suspended hibernation aboard their giant world-like ship.
When Lilith Iyapo awakens, she is slowly made aware of her new situation. Not only is she one of the last survivors of the human race, but it's actually been hundreds of years since she "died" and she is now the unwilling "guest" of an alien race that has definite but unspoken plans for humanity.
Lilith behaves like a human being - imperfectly, sometimes irrationally. Slowly, the Oankali establish a relationship of sorts with her, characterized by mistrust on Lilith's part and inscrutable affection mixed with frustration and condescending from the Oankali. Lilith wants to meet other humans, but it never seems to go well. The Oankali are frustratingly vague, and while despite all of Lilith's paranoid imaginings, they never mistreat her or do anything to her at all, they also refuse most of her simplest requests, like paper to write on.
As she learns more about the Oankali and what they plan for her, she realizes that humans and Oankali are now inextricably bound together whether either race likes it or not.
Octavia Butler, the late, lamented genius of SF, wrote stories that were very much statements about race, sex, and power, and in plain sight, but like her prose, it was straightforward and unelaborate. A lot is left for the reader to infer, though none of it is very hidden. Butler writes the Oankali as very interesting aliens who are themselves imperfect - vastly more advanced and in most ways wiser than humans, but still prone to errors of judgment, as well as letting their feelings overcome their common sense. They are also weird and, as Lilith's reactions make clear, creepy, even moreso when it turns out that Oankali actually need humans for some sort of interspecies bonding future, which does in fact involve sexual contact, which is also described plainly if not graphically.
There is a lot in this first book of the Xenogenesis trilogy to find disturbing. Butler usually includes sex and power relationships in her books and they're always uncomfortable. There's also a lot to like, as the human-alien conflict rarely involves violence and never escalates to a military confrontation (humans don't even have a military any more), so you might think of it as a story akin to "The Body Snatchers" if the alien pod people were... well, individuals and not really malevolent and also not really trying to replace humanity, per se. So not much like the Body Snatchers at all, except that they elicit the same fears from humans and not completely without reason, because whatever their intentions and however sympathetic they may be, they are going to do what they're going to do regardless of how humans feel about it.
A very interesting novel, and while I found some parts a little predictable (like almost all the other humans inevitably proving violent and untrustworthy), and I might have enjoyed just a little more literary embellishment, I will probably continue the trilogy.
"Brilliant writer: originality extreme!"
It's purely original. Alien contact at its most intimate and somehow believable.
I don't notice the narrator unless they are bad.
This series is an old favorite of mine, glad it's finally on audible.
"Amazing, a wonderful Sci-Fi! Super recomended"
Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books
Intelligence does aloud you to ignore the fact you dislike
When this was selected for the Sword and Laser I learned that my library only had the second book in the series. The premise seemed so unique and I really wanted to read a book by Octavia E. Buttler so I decided to get myself a copy through Audible. Now I am very happy I did since I want to be able to give it to people to listen too; I will be getting the rest of the trilogy too.
The book works with the premise that human race has been almost annihilated from Earth, due to war. A few survivors have been "rescued" by an extraterrestrial species, called Oankali, who are described as being covered by tiny tentacles (I imagined their skin like an inside out version of the small intestine, but that's just me) with slight human appearance when approaching Lilith, the main character, at first. Lilith is a black woman who has been awaken several times before (she ignores how many) and she has been selected as the person who will train a new group of humans to be taken back to Earth.
This book was absolutely amazing. I was afraid I was going to have a problem with the voice given to the Oankali since a lot of people were wondering about this on the Internet, but Aldrich Barrett made a great job, at least for me. Independent of the format that you are reading this book will touch a very big question: What exactly makes us human? Is it our bodies? Is it our culture? Can one be separated of the other?
Such a unique book. It has a great main character, that not only questions her own humanity but puts into discussion how human relationships are built and their outcomes. The way she is treated by this alien race and then the way the other humans treated her for me was a questioning of the society we've grown accustomed to. It was interesting to see secondary characters that represented greed or fear to an extreme point and how this type of behaviours affected the construction of a whole new dynamic between individuals.
I liked that, for a sci-fi, it wasn't "plagued" with terminology. Sure, we have the names of the different Oankali, but doors aren't call intramural passages for example, or worst, made up words without context. All is being explained to Lilith and through her to ours and yet it all feels so alien.
Someone said that for him this book was racist and homophobic, which I feel obliged to counter here. Yes there are comments against Lilith being the leader, as she is a woman, but this comment came from another human and from my point of view, this was pout there precisely to point out how society still reacts like that with a woman on a position of power. The fact that the book has a sexist or an homophobic character, does not make the book sexist nor homophobic. The book deals with several "hard" subjects, such as race, sexism, rape just to name a few. But I think the author's intention was to start a discussion about them, show how this can appear and the consequences. I believe this book pushes a lot of buttons, but in a very good way. I have already recommended the book all over the place and can't wait to continue with the story, learn more about the Oankali and Lilith's outcome.
"Not very good."
Better character development would have made the book more enjoyable. All of the human characters have the same abrasive tastes in the words they use. The author explains outright exactly which niche each character is meant to fill, this one is the best friend, this one is the lover, that one is the aggressive brute, instead of showing the reader by action and speech who they are. Except for the main character, they are in the story to fulfill a function. In the end, they are neither memorable or identifiable. The story could have been a lot shorter and had exactly the same content. The same phrases are used over and over again by the characters in speech as they are just repeating themselves.
The way the author described the setting and the alien race involved were colorful and interesting. The exposition was nicely done and exciting. I enjoyed the first half of the book.
The story has kind of rape-y tones and scenes, anyone who isn't comfortable with that should skip this book.
I was hooked after the second chapter. I felt like I could see and feel everything Lilith was going through. I couldn't stop listening. I can't wait to download the rest of the series.
"Slow Description of Another World"
Dawn was more of an outsider's look at humanity than anything else. There was also a lot of descriptions about the alien's world. Overall, I just thought it was boring and didn't really lead to anything I wanted to continue, event though the series does continue. I don't care much for the main character - I felt no emotional attachment.
I'm not usually a fan of alien-related stories, so this is not helping me get into the genre at all.
Aliens talk very softly and slowly. Humans speak normally with different tones for gender and personality. Aldrich did a great job!
The science and technology of the alien race was very interesting. I think the theories on how humans live and interact vs. how the alien race lives and interacts within their own species and between species is an incredible exploration.
"Shallow Characters, Plot Gaps, Contrived Conflicts"
The author seems to have no real understanding of the complexities of human character. She assumes all humans (except, perhaps, her two chosen protagonists) will revert to primitive, atavistic barbarism if held in confinement.Characters were introduced badly, then behaved in rather unrealistic ways.Some significant plot developments were mentioned only casually and retrospectively. (e.g., first and ongoing, and apparently quite satisfying, sexual contact with the "neuter" alien is mentioned as a sort of afterthought during later wild alien sex). Other bits and pieces seem significant, but are never explained (WHY can't Lilith have paper and pen at first, about which a great fuss is made? NEVER explained. Suddenly she gets paper and pens. Huh?)Even the greatest mystery of all (the aliens are "compelled" to interbreed with humans) is never really explained, although hints are dropped.
Will never, ever read another Octavia E. Butler book.
Good "neuter" voice -- although it is confusing, as several characters refer to the neuter alien as being more male than female, and Barrett's voicing clearly sounds like the "neuter" is a small, female child.
Leah--what purpose does she serve? Also the woman who supposedly goes berserk because she wants a cheeseburger. She has survived nuclear war and suspended animation, and now she is back with humans at last, and she attacks another human because she suspects she is being purposely, and for nefarious reasons, denied meat. Puh-leaze!
It is completely unrealistic to think that these humans require weeks or more, and drugs, to get used to creepy aliens. Okay, the aliens are wormy/tentacle-y. So? Show the humans a few pictures of the aliens to habituate them tom the idea. Not much different than the reptile house at the zoo, ultimately. Some humans LOVE creepy-crawlies. Weeks to be able to touch a nightcrawler hand? No way.And these humans supposedly see green pod plants that hold their fellow humans in suspended animation, see walls growing out of the floor at the touch of a hand, wear clothes made of an unknown material, and a few other creepy things, yet we are supposed to think that the majority of them refuse to even consider the possibility that this is extra-terrestrial. Hmmmm... How many suspended-animation pod plants have you seen for sale at your local plant nursery lately?
This was aweful. She managed to write aliens better than humans. People don't act that way...
"Great Sci fi. Very intriguing. Body horror galore!"
I am required to write 20 words so that I can get past this screen.
For years I read Octavia E. Butlers books and then I stopped and now Audible is giving me a chance to re-read (or better: listen to) books I had already read decades ago but also to listen to books I did not know.
Xenogenesis is a group of 3 books that I had not read before and it's great.
This one in particular, the first one, it definitely the best because it introduces the Oankali and their culture.
All of them
Learn about others and you'll learn about yourself
thanks for producing these audiobooks!!
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