Friday, 19 April 2013

Dawn (Xenogenesis#1) (Lilith's Brood #1), Octavia E. Butler - The Review

Home? she thought bitterly. When had she last had a true home? When could she hope to have one. “Let me stay here,” she said. It would refuse. She knew it would. “This is as close to Earth as it seems you’ll let me come.”
Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)
A thoughtfully crafted and beautifully told tale of post nuclear war humans,
rescued from a destroyed earth by revoltingly ugly, but benevolent aliens
who insist on improving humans by mainly genotypic, but also phenotypic
alterations before sending them back to recolonize a restored earth.

The Concept
Have two of man's worst fears come to pass,  destruction of the earth by
nuclear war and rescue/abduction of survivors by stronger smarter aliens.
Have the aliens restore the earth and the survivors, organize a big brother
type competition for some of the survivors, to prove they're ready to return home.
Have an incredibly talented writer paint as clear a picture as you can paint
with words, of how these survivors relate with themselves, the aliens, and
their reluctantly alien-fortified, human leader.

The Writing
The writing is rich - crafted to titillate the mind and its eye, it is full - enough to
ensure nothing important is left out, and it is precise -  pruned to make sure not
one unnecessary word encumbers the telling of the tale.

The language and vocabulary is simple enough, but short detours into  the
biology and logic underpinning the book may confuse and/or bore some.

The Story
The story is told from the perspective of Lilith Iyapo, a human female,
carefully selected by the aliens, fortified with some superhuman abilities and
tasked with Awakening other humans out of over two hundred year 'sleeps',
introducing them to the facts of their current circumstance and helping them
prepare to be re-introduced to something like a stone age earth.

It chronicles her thoughts, feelings and actions from when she is first awakened,
until the end of Big Brother Earth. We have opportunity to applaud or censure
her choices, admire or judge her strength and presence of mind, approve or be
repulsed by her adaptability, accept or question her relationship with the aliens
and other humans, but mostly just sympathize with her plight as she tries to navigate
her way out of what may be an impossible position.

The Resolution
The end is beautiful, unexpected, heart-wrenching , and a relief.

The Verdict
In an honest world, this book should need no publicity, just put it on a stand,
mark it with a sticker labelled;


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