Steve's Reviews > Dawn

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
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's review
Aug 28, 11

Read in August, 2011

Good read! Lilith Iyapo, the main character "Awakens" on an alien ship, 250 years after being rescued by these same aliens, the Oankali, from a nuclear war ravaged Earth. The Oankali are incredibly alien and scary to Awakened humans. They are "genetic traders," who mate in threes with a female, male and an "it," an ooloi who is the guiding force in the sexual-reproductive experience. The Oankali are seeming contradictions - beings who will not eat anything that was sentient life, who abhor violence and avoid killing except in extreme self-defense, are sensorially extremely sensitive, are very analytic, and yet they hold their human guests-captives against their will, paternalistically controlling their preparation to return to earth, genetically altering the humans as they feel best, and making the humans participants in their "gene trade" without ever really asking for the human's agreement. I was left conflicted between the benevolence of their intent and the paternalistic, dictatorial, slave-master handling of their actions.

Themes of genetic control/manipulation/alteration, slavery v freedom and self-determination, authoritarianism, sexuality, what it means to be human.

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