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Fantasy Friday: Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

An alien race calls on one woman to revive mankind after Earth’s apocalypse in this science fiction classic from the award-winning author of Parable of the Sower.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali—who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before. The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations—whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet’s untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

Amazon Link: Dawn (Xenogenesis #1)

Author: Octavia E. Butler

Genre: Alien Invasion Sci-fi

Rating: 4/5 stars

This was a thought-provoking story with many unexpected changes and twists as it went along. It challenges the ideas of gender, sexuality, and even what makes us human. I thought about this book for a long time after I finished reading it, and I’m still not sure how I should feel about it.

Lilith is awoken on a spaceship by an alien race after the end of the world: nuclear war. Earth has been healed, but the few human survivors aren’t ready to return there yet. The aliens need Lilith’s help to communicate with other survivors and prepare them to go back. It’s more challenging than any of them anticipated.

Lilith is a strong leader even though she doesn’t want the job. Her ability to understand the Oankali and accept their three-sexed biology, and their unique culture, makes her easier for the aliens to work with. But it also makes the humans distrust her. She is caught in a difficult position between them and it’s never clear if she is making the right choices. She saves some people, but loses others. I felt a lot of sympathy for her. It will be interesting to see what happens next in the series.

LGBT content: third sex aliens

Here is the book in my reading journal:


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.