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Imago (Xenogenesis, #3)
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Imago

(Xenogenesis #3)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  9,481 ratings  ·  626 reviews
The futures of both humans and Oankali rest in one young being's successful metamorphosis into adulthood.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Aspect (first published 1989)
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Dichotomy Girl The closest that I can think of is, "Nothing Human" by Nancy Kress, because it also deals with what it meals to be human.

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4.19  · 
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 ·  9,481 ratings  ·  626 reviews


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Beverly
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow! A stunning ending to a magnificent science fiction trilogy, Imago is brilliant. Octavia Butler creates an earth now almost completely made up of the aliens, their human mates, their children and now a new type of offspring. The aliens have 3 sexes, male, female and it. They have deliberately not allowed humans to reproduce by themselves any more, because of their historic violence and hierarchy. They have also only allowed males and female constructs to be created from their matings with hu ...more
Apatt
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The last volume of the mind blowing, thought provoking Lilith’s Brood series (I prefer the original name Xenogenesis myself, it has a nice sci-fi ring to it).

Jodahs the protagonist of this book is another offspring of Lilith Iyapo. The least human of the series' central characters, especially after its first metamorphosis. As Jodahs is neither male or female, and certainly not a hermaphrodite, the pronoun it is the only appropriate one for referring to characters of the “ooloi” gender; he third
...more
Gergana
WOW! What a perfect end to this great series! Definitely the strongest book in my opinion.

Will I recommend the series? Only to a certain extant. It's a heavy read, not because of the style or the descriptions, but because of the existential questions you are constantly being bombarded with. It's a world where you can't even decide what's truly wrong or what's truly right, it can be quite infuriating if you try to pick sides.
Basically, if you like dystopian books with "peaceful, well-meaning" a
...more
Stuart
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Imago: Finally, we see the Ooloi perspective
Originally published at Fantasy Literature
Imago (1988) is the third book in Octavia Butler’s XENOGENESIS trilogy. It concludes the story begun with the human woman Lilith in Dawn (1987) and continued with her Oankali-human ‘construct’ son Akin in Adulthood Rites (1988). Imago takes the bold but logical next step by shifting the perspective to Jodahs, an Ooloi-human construct. The Ooloi are the third, gender-less sex of the Oankali, the alien race of ‘g
...more
Wanda
In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective. It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit. Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms. And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamo
...more
Claudia
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, deep-thoughts
If the first two volumes are written in third person, this last part is told in first one, which makes it even more harder for the reader not to be involved in the story.

However, despite the never-ending feeling of discomfort, it is mainly an ode to life and love.

“[…] I think I became all the things he liked, even though he never told me what they were.” “His body told you. His every look, his reaction, his touch, his scent. He never stopped telling you what he wanted. And since he was the sole
...more
Mimi
The oankali have three sexes: female, male, and ooloi. The ooloi is a crucial part of the reproduction process as it controls and manipulates genes and is responsible for the gene trade. Up until now in the story, there have only been male and female construct children. The creation of a construct ooloi has only been discussed, but not yet attempted until now.

Imago tells the story of Jodahs, the first ooloi construct. This book ties the previous two together seamlessly by showing what Jodahs is
...more
David
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Michael
Shelves: science-fiction
In an nuclear apocalypse, humans have virtually wiped out life on Earth. From the aliens' point of view, their rescue of humans and repopulation of Earth is for their own good. Without cross-breeding with humans, and blending their DNA with that of humans, the human race is on a direct course for extinction. Human predilection for forming hierarchical societies is the basis for human self-destruction.

But the aliens have their own survival in mind, also. Their motivation is not entirely altruisti
...more
Maggie K
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
hmmmm....somehow, I am suspicious of being manipulated into liking this book.

This last installment of Butler's trilogy has us seeing the inside view of the ooloi, the 'third sex' of the aliens that have taken over Earth. Ooloi operate by using their pheromones and sensory arms to calm and pleasure humans. Once this happens to you, you decide you like them and literally cannot live with out them.

What we don't know is how bad they NEED humans. If they don't have human contact, they literally go in
...more
Obsidian
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is the last in the Xenogenesis or Lilth's Brood series written by Octavia E. Butler.

I liked this one a lot. We once again focus on just one POV throughout the entire novel. We have Lilth's son Jodahs who is born an Oankali construct (humans and Oankali breed with the help of an Oankali called ooloi) and every child born has 5 parents. The ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA and without them no one would be able to have children. Jodahs starts to metamorphosis and real
...more
Ben Winch
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, sci-fi
I’ve never read, seen or heard of anything like this before, and short of a post-Octavia Butler movement I don’t expect to. Alien invasion without violence, “kill ’em with kindness” tale, inter-species family drama. Along the way it manages – playfully, but with requisite seriousness – to upturn myriad taboos, from the gender-bending of its first-person, part-alien protagonist to various configurations of sexual intercourse, all of them tempered and enlightened by their part-alien context. Other ...more
Donna
In this final book of the Xenogenesis trilogy, the focus shifts again, this time to another of Lilith's sons, Jodahs, who turns out to be the first human-born ooloi (the third Oankali gender). He is considered a mistake by the Oankali and must struggle to find mates and carve a place for himself in the world.

This is the only book told in first person which makes it more intimate but I never connected with Jodahs as I did with Akin in Adulthood Rites. I was also disappointed that we see nothing o
...more
Valerie
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
In "Dawn," Lilith wants a choice, and it is denied to her at every opportunity. She has to live with that, and we as readers have to decide if her captivity is morally acceptable. We are as human as she, and we share her conflict.

In "Adulthood Rites," Akin wants a chance and has to fight to allow that Human part of him its expression, its freedom. Akin is a construct, and while we obviously side with him, we are given a deeper understanding of the Oankali morality.

In "Imago," Jodahs wants a chal
...more
Dan
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Spoiler Alert. The following is a metaphorical plot summary of Octavia Butler’s Imago.

The scene is a meet-up night club. A and B are strangers to one another. A sneaks up behind B and whispers.

A: If I don’t have sex with you, I’ll die.

B whirls around and faces him angrily.

B: You are disgusting! Get away from me!
A: Oh, don’t be like that. Here, let me just touch you like this.

B screams.

B: Get your limbs off me! I told you you disgust me! Go away!
A: If you would just be still and let me finish
...more
Res
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
The one where Jodahs, the first ooloi born of both human and oankali genes, achieves adulthood and finds a family.

This is the most optimistic of the three books, though pointed references to the effects of ooloi scent on human reason make it clear that the author doesn't want us to be able to rest comfortably with the idea that these relationships are entirely consensual.

It would have been interesting to read books that revolved around breaking taboos that had more visceral meaning to me; sibli
...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-love-this-book
Reading this book again because it is my favourite in the series. This sounds crazy but an ooloi human construct is one fictional thing I'd like to be! It would be so awesome to be a third sex that can heal and learn so much about organisms!!!!

August 2015

This book is still good but I notice some of the ableism more. Still, I want to be an ooloi human construct. It's really the best book in the series, to look at the perspective of such a fascinating and alien being who can shapeshift and seduces
...more
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
Octavia Butler is a genius. She is a master of story telling and a master world builder. I admire her style, the simplicity of her writing and the various intricately woven meanings in her stories.
This last book though. I think that I'd had my fill of the issue of cross species mating in the first two books such that in this last book... well it sort of spilled over but not in a nice enjoyable way.
The overwhelming message/concern/point/question in the Xenogenesis trilogy is: are you really helpi
...more
Kim Mallady
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Octavia E. Butler is an amazing writer. It doesn't matter whether or not I like the story she has written, when I'm reading it I'm not reading a book, I'm there in her world, totally transported. Imago is no exception. This is the third and final book in the Xenogenesis series (a.k.a. Lilith's Brood). There are a lot of very complicated relationships in this which are explained fully in previous books. I have to admit that I got a bit bogged down in them as they were re-explained at the beginnin ...more
Megan Baxter
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part of the issue is how complex and disturbing these books are. So much of my reaction is a vague uneasiness, and trying to sit down and pull that out and see why is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Of the three in the trilogy, I think Adulthood Rites was my favourite - but is that because it's the most familiar, the most, shall we say, human?

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision
...more
Danielle
I loved this series! I'm going to miss these characters.
Zanna
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As irresistible as a construct ooloi. I want more!
Melissa
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2017
Yet another surprising and unexpected twist in this continually insightful, but creepy, alien story. Definitely another angle in the results of this 'trade' that I wasn't expecting to see appear, I was again expecting a continuation from book two and more about those constructs, but instead I got something different and unexpected....something that, even in this world, was completely new and unique, and even scared our too smart aliens a bit.
Lois
Jodahs is my favorite of the construct characters. I love that they are so kind and seductive.
Also their pronoun 'they' has aged well.
mlady_rebecca
One of the disadvantges of an eBook, sometimes you turn the page and suddenly see "The End". No visceral warning that there are only a few pages left. Yeah, I know there is the percentage thing across the bottom, but with a good book you're really into, you don't pay attention to that.

And so I cuddled into the blankets, turned the page ready to see what was next, and nothing. The end. I'm dissappointed, not in an unfinished story, but that it's time to leave such a well crafted universe. I want
...more
Bibliophile
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
The aliens in this series remind me of those people who always stand too close, invading your personal space, or hug you although you've just met. You try to discreetly back away, and offer a handshake instead, but they won't take no for an answer cause they're so damn friendly and that's what matters.

The protagonist of this final book in the series, an ooloi, is like that, except worse. Like a needy boyfriend who insists on spooning when you just want to sleep without being suffocated, Jodahs
...more
Andrew
What happens when you awake to find that most of humanity has been destroyed by a nuclear war that it caused. Not only that, but you and the remaining humans owe their existence to an alien race called the Oankali. How would you feel if the price of your salvation is for you and the remaining humans to be breed with these very aliens to establish a new species in what they call the 'Trade'.

This is the dilemma that Lilith (one of the surviving humans) finds herself in. As we follow Lilith's new
...more
Amanda
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This was a solid 4 star trilogy that I really enjoyed.
Shira
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
spoiler alert :

Wow, what a hell of an ending. Although it feels happy it's also very bittersweet because of the impending destruction of Earth in about 300 years. What a hell of a contradiction in terms of the destruction , after having been saved after the big war, of Earth! Let alone that human genetic contradiction of hierarchy and intelligence.
Dominic
This was a satisfying end to Butler's wildly imaginative and deeply human Xenogenesis series. I feel like there is a ton more I could learn from Butler, and we are living in an age that needs this sort of vision of humanity—one that is adaptable, humble, and inherently compassionate. Lucky for me there are still so many of her books left to read.
Pants
I’m surprised an alien race with three genders can have such heteronormative families. Even with the presence of the ooloi – who are neither man nor woman – the Oankali’s family system is geared towards reproduction. The family consists of one Oankali man, one Oankali woman, and one Oankali ooloi to mediate between the two. When humans are included into the system, they must come in a pair: male and female. I understand the reasoning: two same-sex humans can’t produce offspring on their own, eve ...more
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Tome Infinity And...: Imago By Octavia E. Butler 1 1 Dec 11, 2018 09:45AM  
Science Fiction A...: Xenogenesis 3 - Imago 9 46 Dec 21, 2014 09:05AM  
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6,545 followers
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.

Other books in the series

Xenogenesis (3 books)
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)
  • Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2)
“Humans said one thing with their bodies and another with their mouths and everyone had to spend time and energy figuring out what they really meant.” 7 likes
“Listen, no part of me is more definitive of who I am than my brain.” 5 likes
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