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Lilith's Brood Paperback – June 1, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 218 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews



From the Back Cover

The acclaimed trilogy that comprises LILITH'S BROOD is multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best. Presented for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by Joan Slonczewski, Ph.D., LILITH'S BROOD is a profoundly evocative, sensual -- and disturbing -- epic of human transformation.

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...


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Updated edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446676101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446676106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the "grand dame of science fiction," was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter's Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.

Butler's first story, "Crossover," was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology. Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977. Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay's Ark (1984).

With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, "Speech Sounds," and in 1985, Butler's novelette "Bloodchild" won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.

Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995). Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The book's sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.

In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.


1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA
1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds
1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
1995, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant
1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents
2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing
2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame
2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Review by C. Douglas Baker

This is a collection of three novels that make up the Xenogensis Trilogy. Readers interested in the trilogy should read the series in order: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago.

DAWN introduces the reader to a fascinating alien race that intends to save a post-nuclear holocaust earth by repopulating it with half-human, half-alien beings. The concept of crossbreeding through genetic engineering with an alien race to create a new species is a truly innovative storyline. The Oankali intend to take a number of humans they saved from a nucleated earth, cross-breed with them, and reintroduce them and their alien offspring to the earth. The highly negative reaction of the humans to this idea is very realistic and their interactions with the aliens are conceivable. The main character, Lilith Iyapo, is a strong willed African-American woman who learns to accept the aliens for what they are but never fully comes to accept their plans for the human race.

The Oankali are an imaginative race with three genders, the third being a necessary intermediary between the male and female Oankali during intercourse and for procreation. Therefore it is not surprising that the "third" gender (it is not really neuter) is the dominant gender of the race. They travel in an interstellar ship that is entirely made of living tissue and the Oankali physically interact with the ship to produce food, dispose of waste, and reproduce other needs. The Oankali travel about the universe and cross breed with other sapient beings out of necessity. Humans are just another of their "victims" or "beneficiaries", depending on one's point of view. The new species is ostensibly better than its parent species.
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Format: Paperback
Lilith's Brood, a trilogy set in Earth's distant future, concerns the few remaining humans and their extraterrestial conquerors. Faced with the unpleasant alternatives of extinction or interspecies breeding, the human characters struggle to preserve their cultural and biological heritage against the seemingly insurmountable obstacles set by their keepers. The parallels between their fight to maintain cultural identity and the growing pains facing America's multicultural population in the 21st century are striking. This is the "melting pot" gone one better. Perhaps this is Butler's most biting social satire; surely it is her most thoughtful work since Kindred. As in most of her fiction, Butler is fascinated by the ways society evolves and survives despite our self-destructive impulses. Although this "new" offering from Butler is a collection of three previously published novels, the omnibus format will draw new readers and remind old friends of her substantial powers.
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By A Customer on February 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am not a fan of Science Fiction - but "Lilith's Brood" (the collection of 3 novels known as the Xegenosis series consisting of "Dawn", "Adulthood Rites" and "Imago") is among the best I have read in ANY genre. Butler brings a species that is totally beyond anything imagined before and makes them real to the reader. She sttracts you to them, repels you from them - and in the end, makes you love them even though you may not want to. I actually felt like I missed the alien species, known as the Oankali when I finished reading the books. Basic premise for those considering the book: An alien species, the Oankali, finds an Earth shaken by major war. Most everything is wiped out and the Earth is practically unsalvagable. They save almost all the humans they find and make a plan to restore parts of the Earth and make them hospitable for human life again - for a price. The novels are wonderfully believable and complex, using challenging vocabulary and fully engrossing the reader in rich imagery and postulations of "What if... ?". No words other than those Bulter uses can do this collection justice - I would recommend it to anyone with a love for literature or anyone that just loves an EXCELLENT story that makes you feel like, and even possibly wish you were there.
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Format: Paperback
Now HERE's the kind of book (I bought it in this trilogy omnibus binding as well) you sit down to read a couple chapters, maybe because a friend has recommended Butler, maybe because of a book review or because her tragic death got her written up in your local paper-- it got recommended to me by a brilliant professor whose class I foolishly didn't get around to taking -- and find yourself feverishly turning pages at 5 a.m., desperately hoping the sun stays down long enough for you to get to the end of the second, or in my case third, book.

And now that we're past that tortured sentence, some ground rules. No, if you've never read science fiction before, it's not like what you THINK science fiction is like: check out Ursula LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, Samuel R. Delany, Harlan Ellison, James Tiptree Jr., Marge Piercy, or the many other SF writers who use the genre as a literature for deep exploration into what it is to be human and what it is NOT to be human. If you're trapped in the genre ghetto and fear (as I once did, shamefully, long after I had a million reasons to know better) that there's something cheesy or wishy-washy about Butler, what with her other books about new religions and African myths and whatnot, all I have to say is GET OVER IT, because her speculative thinking cuts you like a knife and leaves you shivering, and because unlike most SF authors and most mainstream authors, she has an overwhelming sense of the realities of everyday people building relationships (and breaking them) in adversity. The conflicts between people are very real, no one is motivated just by a single issue, and a lot of things come down to slightly unpleasant compromise.

Now, to Butler's work, and to the novels at hand.
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