Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Pages: 248
Genre: Science Fictions
Series: Xenogenesis Series
Publication Date: 1987

Synopsis (From Back of Book):
Lilith Iyapo is in the remote Andes, mourning the death of her husband and son, when nuclear war destroys the world. Centuries later, she revives, held captive aboard a starship.

Miraculously powerful and hideously grotesque galactic beings, the Oankali have rescued the planet and the war's victims out of an irresistible need to heal and a greater need to change all they touch. For the Oankali survive by merging genetically with primitive people - without their permission.

Lilith's children will inherit the Earth and stars. But they will be more - and other -than human.

Dawn is a rather simple book. At least the writing is but the simplicity in the writing magnifies the talent of Butler. As someone who normally would never normally read a book catogorized as science fiction, the fact that Butler was able to trap my attention and make the story more than about space aliens and a destroyed earth, shows her talent.

Dawn is more than a story about the Oankali preparing humans to return to other in order to procreate a new species it's about what it means to be human and the vastness of human experience and personality. When the story first opens the reader learn that the Oankali have chosen Lilith to train other humans and prepare for the return to Earth. The illusion of the given that Lilith is chosen because of her strength. But as the story progress one thinks that maybe Lilith is chosen because she is easily manipulated and take things at face value.

The beauty about the characters in Dawn is that readers do not become connected with them but see them as players in a movie. As a detached the reader is able to pick out bits and pieces of themselves from each character and question how would they act in the same situation.

Butler not only questions human nature but she also question how we function in society. Earth was destroyed by a nuclear war, when the story was written in the 1980's the US's major advisory was the Russia. The conflict transcends the eighties and is prevalent for issues the world face today (replace Russia with North Korea or Iran or both).

Human beings are more alike than different-dame sure more alike than we like to admit. I wonder if the same thing wouldn't have happened eventually, no matter which two cultures gained the ability to wipe one another out along with the rest of the world. pg. 133

There is no real conclusion in this book but Butler ends the first book and prepares the reader for the next one.

Pros: Writing, Character, Question
Cons: None

Overall Recommendation:

This is a great story to read for both science fictions readers and those that normally do not read the the genre.


Series Challenge (10 out of 15 Books)
TBR Challenge (11 out of 12 Books)

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