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Lilith's Brood (Xenogenesis #1-3)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  6,581 ratings  ·  497 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 746 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO, Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit

one thing became clear to me as I read this trilogy: Octavia Butler is not partial to the human kind. oh, humanity: violent, vengeful, and vicious; petty, pitiful, perpetually proud. avaricious and all too willing to prey on their own. as a fellow visitor to this planet, I can only view Butler's perspective as one that is in line with my own. and so this was quite an invigorating experience given the overab
Ben Babcock
This is one of the scariest books I have read in a long time. Good science fiction, good posthuman fiction, challenges the idea of what it means to be human. Octavia E. Butler goes beyond that, way beyond, challenging not just what human means but how open-minded I am to such challenges. This book blew my mind.

As a huge fan of science fiction, and as a relatively erudite person, I like to think that I have an open mind. I like to think that I'm receptive to the idea of drastically alternate huma
Okay, so, how dare I give anything Octavia Butler wrote four stars instead of five? I think that if I read some of her later stuff first, I would have understood this narrative to be part of her growing process as a theorist/novelist. Being that it was my first book of hers to read, after hearing so much about her gay genius and feminist protagonists, I was really disappointed with her tendency to fall back on tired notions of femininity/masculinity, imperative to breed, and the alien third gend ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Eleven rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scifi fans, anyone interested in human behavior, fans of a good story
I wouldn't normally define myself as a straight-up science fiction fan - in fact, I'm normally put off by techno fairy tales and scary alien stories. But I finally picked up Lilith's Brood after my father (who is something of a purist) bothered me enough. I was instantly intrigued.

It isn't just a post-apocalyptic novel... or an exploration of other worlds... or other races of beings, for that matter. No, Butler decided to use the aliens that have taken control of the dying human race in order
Bree Cheese
Octavia Butler has a way of holding up a mirror to humanity and showing us everything that is ugly and perhaps shameful. I have read every book Ms. Butler has written and this was not my favorite of her books in my first read, but it is the one that has stuck with me the longest. This is the closest to straight up sci-fi that her books get, but it still remains human. The Xenogenesis series is so fascinating on both a cultural and an anthropological level, in the destruction of one world and the ...more
Octavia Butler is playing with fire here - these books probe the deepest topics that fiction can explore, and drive straight to the heart of many of the most important issues humans deal with. Fortunately, she's up to the task, and indeed the entire first third of this series is an extravagant setup; while Dawn is somewhat frustrating to read, it is completely necessary. Were Butler to have plunged straight into the kind of things she writes about in Imago, it would have felt cheap and crass, bu ...more
Sep 22, 2007 Owen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
this is the first science fiction book i have read since i was a teenager, and it was so good, i fell in love with octavia butler, and my interest in science fiction was rekindled.

when i started to develop a critical consciousness in college i found that i couldn't read my formerly favorite science fiction books, i.e. stranger in a strange land by robert heinlein, because while they could imagine amazing technological and magical futures where the human mind could overcome previous boundaries,
Lilith's Brood is actually three novels: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago, which have since been published in one volume. The basic story is this: humanity has virtually destroyed itself and the earth in a nuclear conflagration. Just after we've done so, a strange and powerful alien race called the Oankali arrive to save us. Sort of.

The Oankali are strange in a number of ways. They have horrifying snake-like sensory tentacles all over their bodies, they have three genders, and one of those ge
Oct 25, 2007 Jess rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: best-evers
I read Dawn a few months ago, and while I liked it, I wasn't blown away. After I read Fledgling and was newly impressed with Butler's creativity and way with language, I decided to finish the series. It absorbed me for two days, and I ended up absolutely loving it. This series reminded me of Vonnegut without the humor--where he uses absurdity to make a point, Butler lets that same point seep into you a little at a time. These books are about perception, violence, independence, and most of all, w ...more
My personal favorite sci-fi trilogy. I have reviewed the individual volumes separately:

- Dawn
- Adulthood Rites
- Imago

Mind blowing, thought provoking, thrilling stuff. (Plenty more hyperbole in the above mentioned reviews!)

One thing I particularly want to mention about the author is I love how she embraced the "science fiction author" label. Unlike some "literary" talented authors who prefer to avoid the sci-fi label she took pride in it. Certainly I agree that it is an author's prerogative how
Octavia Butler uses this book to explore what makes us human by taking humanity completely out of its known context and giving it a whole new one with fundamental restrictions and specifically chosen opportunities. This allows her to put humanity in high-relief, and I have to say a lot of what she says strikes a chord -- her definition of the Human Contradiction, for example, is spot-on. I think she does get a little bit heavy-handed -- I feel there's a little more gray scale to human behavior t ...more
It's been a few months since I read this, but I realized I'd not reviewed it and wanted to put in a few words.

I can't express to you how refreshing it was to read an African American female protagonist who didn't speak with urban slang, who wasn't worried about finding a man and, in general, didn't fit the tired stereotypes that a lot of modern authors (both White and Non-White) tend to force Black characters into.

Dawn starts off in an intentionally confusing and intense way. Lilith wakes up in
Sterling; Butler died too soon.

This is thoughtful, intelligent science fiction, with interstellar travel, but nary a blaster in sight. I think I'd still consider this hard sci-fi. Butler must have done a great deal of research into genetics, biochemistry, and neurochemistry. She clearly knew a lot about human psychology too.

Her writing is spare, and tight, with few extraneous words/ descriptions. Nevertheless, the world and the experiences she describes are immediate and highly sensual. On this
This book is actually a trilogy: Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago. Ordinarily, I avoid trilogies because if I don't read them all at once I lose the thread and if I do read them all at once I'm bored by the end. I only give 5 stars to books that I think are something really out of the ordinary, and this is; not just for its genre (sci-fi), but for any fiction. I love being able to lose myself in a richly imagined world, and this book allowed me to do that. Ms. Butler's vision is expansive and at ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.A. Parham
This series covers an Earth destroyed by mankind but salvaged by the Oankali, a space travelling species who specialize in genetic engineering. Dawn features the story of Lilith, one of the few humans saved by the Oankali, and her slow and reluctant conversion to their goals. Lilith's an interesting character, who never quite relinquishes her strong individuality despite her deep attachment to her Oankali mates. Adulthood Rites changes POV to Lilith's son Akim, who is a cross-breed of human-Oank ...more
Mar 05, 2008 Melanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melanie by: Angela
i just finished the first book of the trilogy: so far, i'm loving it. it combines some of the elements i find most fascinating about science fiction: strange, new worlds, strong characters who have to make complex choices, interpersonal relationships and the development of new societies, psychological warfare, morality, questions of what makes us human, space travel... chock full of good stuff.

book 2 was also a good story, interesting, a compelling story about lileth's firstborn son, who's stole
Dave Creek
It's often been said that "the" question much science fiction seeks to answer is, "What does it mean to be human?" It's a question often examined through beings who are other than human, whether STAR TREK's Mr. Spock or Commander Data, or R. Daneel Olivaw of Isaac Asimov's Robot novels.

LILITH'S BROOD is an omnibus edition containing Octavia E. Butler's novels DAWN, ADULTHOOD RITES, and IMAGO. All three books take an unflinching look at how to define humanity and the decisions that follow from a
Doug Hagler
Butler does not let up. She presents you with the alien, and then doesn't let you flinch or look away. She is quietly relentless, and the tension in her stories builds and builds...and doesn't explode, like the cliche, but subsides. Along the way, you get an excellent story presented through the kind of excellent and innovative ideas that mark superb SciFi.
Cleo Wilson
I love Octavia Butler and this trilogy is the best. I was totally engaged with the characters and the story line. I actually feel disappointed that Imago, one of the trilogy, was her last.
I thought this was a really intriguing series that really delved into what it means to be human. Each book was distinctly different in both style and perspective. Somehow, in each book, the author excels at making the reader identify with the new narrator. In the first book, I was completely for Lillith and her rebellious attitude toward this seemingly presumptuous alien race. In the second book, I was persuaded to see things from the eyes of her spawn, the first so-called construct male. And th ...more
Quin Rich
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I couldn't put this book down at first. The Oankali are so fascinating, and what they do to humans--and humankind--is so morally cloudy that I was immediately drawn right in. This book is also an excellent escape from the 'mainstream' science fiction, which is often centered on Western civilizations, white characters, and heterosexual romances. Here we have a thought-experiment composed by a black woman writer, using an abundance of people of colour from civilizations south of the equator, in a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tyler Anderson
The same co-worker who introduced me to China Mieville gave me Octavia Butler's trilogy for Christmas another year; and again she shared these with me because it's kind of screwed up and she knew that was just right for me.

Octavia Butler formulates a much more realistic science fiction universe vis a vis human experience and reaction when genuinely confronted with something Other and Superior. Probably taking some cues from the characters in Lovecraft's stories, Butler reminds us that, in the e
Nov 10, 2011 Kati rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
Diese Trilogie hat mich echt positiv überrascht.
Lilith, eine Menschenfrau, erwacht in einer isolierten grauen Kammer und dann nimmt die ganze Geschichte ihren Lauf. Sie wurde nun endgültig wiederbelebt, um Außerirdische kennenzulernen, mit ihnen zu arbeiten, von ihnen zu lernen.

Die Erde mit einer Zivilisation gibt es nach einem großen Krieg nicht mehr. Alles Leben dort ist ausgelöscht. Lilith wird "Anführerin" einer Gruppe Menschen und geht mit ihnen in Richtung Zukunft.
Völlig neue Denkansätze,
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
Sep 24, 2009 Synesthesia (SPIDERS!) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: folks who like cool aliens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Neigh
Three great books in one. The stories of various individuals in one family -- Lilith and some of her descendants -- are used to explore what happens when a humanity almost destroyed by nuclear war is saved by an alien species that travels the universe and seeks to 'trade' with other species by interbreeding with them. Butler's greatest strength, I think, is her use of stories of compelling personal journeys as basic building blocks for exploring fascinating worlds. Lots of authors try to do this ...more
Radu Stanculescu
I postponed reviewing this because I had some contradictory feelings about the characters in each story, and wanted to think some more before writing about it. In the end I'll stick with my 4 star rating. While the style is simple and very effective (à la Orson Scott Card's Ender's Saga), I still have a few problems with the different characters' portrayal. Sure, some of them are (more or less) alien, but I felt that Butler went too far into the "we're too different, we don't understand you" dir ...more
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Women in Science ...: Octavia Butler 1 6 Aug 15, 2013 09:46AM  
What if the Oankali captured you? 6 52 Jul 18, 2013 08:01AM  
Best science fiction I have read in years 17 62 May 15, 2013 06:05AM  
Book Bin Science ...: Dear Octavia Butler 1 15 Dec 28, 2012 04:12PM  
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
More about Octavia E. Butler...

Other Books in the Series

Xenogenesis (3 books)
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)
  • Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2)
  • Imago (Xenogenesis, #3)
Kindred Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) Fledgling Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2)

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“Sometimes they need to prove to themselves that they still own themselves, that they can still care for themselves, that they still have things—customs—that are their own.”
“Sounds like an expression of the Human conflict,” Aaor said.
“It is,” I agreed. “They’re proving their independence at a time when they’re no longer independent...”
“This would be so goddamn much easier if I weren’t human,” she said. “Think about it. If I weren’t human, why the hell would I care whether you got raped?” 0 likes
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