- File Size: 5772 KB
- Print Length: 310 pages
- Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (July 24, 2012)
- Publication Date: July 24, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008HALOEQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,191 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Dawn (The Xenogenesis Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
From the Illustrated Biography
Octavia E. Butler at age thirteen
Butler began writing the year before when a science fiction film—the cult favorite Devil Girl from Mars—inspired her to create something of her own.
Parable of the Sower book tour
Butler on a book tour for Parable of the Sower in New York City in 1993.
Octavia E. Butler's legacy
When Butler passed away in 2006, the New York Times eulogized her as a world-renowned author whose science fiction explored 'far-reaching issues of race, sex, power and, ultimately, what it means to be human.'
“Clear-headed and brutally unsentimental. . . . If you haven’t read Butler, you don’t yet understand how rich the possibilities of science fiction can be.” —Fantasy & Science Fiction
About the Author
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The Oankali finally awaken one, Lilith, who must first accustom herself to these apparently repulsive creatures. Once this is accomplished they enable her to awaken others of the suspended humans. At first all goes well, but as more and more are awakened they become suspicious of Lilith' s association with the Oankali. Because the spaceship can replicate earth-like environments, they doubt that they are in space. Suspicion and antipathy emerge between groups. Rivalry and deadly conflict develop. A few of the most intransigent are put back to sleep. The rest are sent to Earth, but poor Lilith, who has deeply yearned for human contact, is kept behind
to continue living with the Oankali.
Butler's conception of alien life forms and alien "technology" is very creative. Also she skillfully plumbs the inherent emotions and conflicts within the human psyche and between and among human groups. The story may not be the best narrated, but it gives the reader a great deal to think about.
Lilith never slides into self pity. Due to war, her husband and son are dead. She finds herself under the control of strange slimy creatures likened to slugs. After a deep sleep, she wakes up. She acquiesces to their learning process. Her old way of life must be forgotten. If Lilith is obedient to the wishes of the aliens, she will become the first leader on the new earth. Leadership on this future earth will give Lilith the ability to teach and train other captured earthlings.
However, change is never easy. Lilith will become the enemy of her own kind. Every day a choice must be made. Should she succumb to the thoughts of the rebellious earthlings or remain on course believing there is a chance to make something close to the planet where she once lived with family. If she kowtows to the rebellious earthlings, she will never see a revitalized Planet earth. Her decisions are difficult. I really felt sorry for Lilith when she had to fight off an overly sexed earthling. Starved for sexual intimacy, He falls upon Lilith like a giant rig out of control. He injures her body and mind. Still, Lilith does not give up.
Lilith is a Hebrew name. In Jewish Folklore, Lilith is thought of as the first wife of Adam. Octavia Butler's Lilith is a symbol of the Jewish Lilith. Butler's Lilith is the first human to experience the new order on earth. Like Adam/Eve, she is the first to experience a type of the Garden of Eden. This new earth, like the Garden of Eden, is a forest. A forest that needs to be tamed for the growth of food and also, for the growth of future families.
Science Fiction is entertaining and also meaningful literature. Science Fiction gives the reader the chance to think outside of the box about a new normal. Like Poetry, it jerks the mind. I am looking forward to traveling into another Science Fiction novel.
I should start off by saying that in my opinion, Butler's writing is somewhat sparse and to the point - not full of flowery descriptions or long, flowing narratives. I actually really appreciated that about this book - mainly because when Butler decides to use those descriptive techniques, she uses them with power. Those scenes will whack you over the head. My impression is that this was intentional on her part - she used her narrative prowess to pull you into scenes that were significant and meaningful. She's not self-indulgent in her writing.
I was immediately impressed with Lilith, the protagonist, from the start of the book. She certainly wasn't perfect, but she was real - human. As the story progressed, she struggled to find where she fit - did she fit anywhere? Ultimately, she was neither seen nor accepted as human, but she also wasn't alien. She was alone, and constantly faced the challenge of adjusting her expectations based on ever-changed situations. Her pessimism and optimism often worked against each other - it was difficult for her to find balance.
The biggest part of what made this book so powerful for me were the question it raised - none of which had clear answers:
- What is the line between coercion and consent?
- Is a "trade" really a trade is there's no choice involved?
- Does any character in the book ultimately have the freedom of choice in any regard, or is every interaction about manipulation?
- What does it mean to be human?
- Are humans really doomed to ultimately self-destruction without outside intervention?
- Are the aliens offering a type of facilitated evolution? Or is the change so drastic that it can't even be seen as facilitated evolution? (i.e. will humans still be human? Is Lilith still human?)
- Are the aliens good or bad? Does "good" or "bad" even exist?
Honestly, it was these question that made me most appreciate this book and Octavia Butler as a writer. She's not forcing her opinions on anyone. She leaves it up to the reader to decide what they thing the right answers are. It was these questions that kept my book club discussing this book and it's themes for over two hours. I honestly think that if some of us hadn't had to leave, we would have kept talking about it. If you're someone who likes a clear resolution or stories where there is a clear line between good versus evil, then this book isn't for you. This one clearly lives in the grey space - where it's more about questions than answers. Ms. Butler will definitely have a permanent space on my bookshelf, and I'm looking forward to reading the other two in this series (Lilith's Brood Trilogy).
Top international reviews
Not surprisingly, some of the humans are hostile to this idea. The book goes on to explore the conflict between the benefits of sharing and fear of the unknown, via a group of humans who are equally able to see alien danger amongst their own kind as they are in creatures from outer space.
Dawn is a wonderful book. I was going to call it humane, though I felt humanity was an embarrassment by the end of it. Admittedly I did have some plot quibbles. Humans after all are not the only creatures afflicted by cancer on earth, and if this is what interested the aliens, you do wonder why they didn't choose a far less troublesome and unpleasant species to deal with. They could have chosen dogs for example. This is not, however, is going to stop me from giving this book a five star rating. It's a parable for modern times.
This is up there with them. it's a book of it's time, I.e. If you were an adult at the time of the Cold War, you will recognise not just the premise, but also the social influences of that time.
Reading it now, I was frustrated and disappointed with humanity, but I also recall that it's an accurate portrayal of the mindset that existed at the time (remember the insanity of nuclear M.A.D. ?)
The book is well written, and the aliens are fascinatingly conceived. I kept trying work out if they were the good guys or the bad guys, and at the end of this, the closest I could come was "both", and I loved that they defied pigeon-holing.
I really liked Lillith's character. Strong, resilient, enough intelligence and ego to lead, but also enough humility and insecurity to really not want to! Unwanted responsibility for the entire (remaining) human race; I can't imagine how how I would have felt in her shoes.
I wonder what would have happened if these aliens had come upon us now in these "enlightened" times; yes, a bit of irony there, but . . .
Read on and enjoy1
What a stunning yet alien concept, such a great read and sits nicely alongside Ender's Game for me. Must read more!
And I got it! In spades! You won't be disappointed.