Gergana's Reviews > Imago

Imago by Octavia E. Butler
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bookshelves: unusual-creatures-or-aliens, science-fiction

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" aliens in it, there's a chance you would enjoy it.
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Reading Progress

July 20, 2016 – Shelved
July 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
July 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read-later
July 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
July 28, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read-later
August 9, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 11, 2016 – Shelved as: unusual-creatures-or-aliens
August 11, 2016 – Shelved as: science-fiction
August 15, 2016 – Started Reading
August 16, 2016 –
70.0% "Arghhhhh! I'm so conflicted on what's right and what's wrong in this world!"
August 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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Lindsay Are they well-meaning though? From one point of view they're coercive planet-destroying locusts that give you as much choice in your assimilation as the Borg do in Star Trek. Particularly in this book where the full power of their pheromone manipulation is revealed.


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Well, that specific issue is covered in the second book. They let humans have Mars and the humans had already destroyed the Earth when they stepped onto the stage. It was destroyed. They had to rebuild the Earth and they chose to rebuild it as a new ship. /shrug

They specifically refuse to merge with other beings that have destructive tendencies like this. It's never really forced. They made the exception for humans because of certain human qualities (physical qualities.)


Lindsay So if you save somebody from themselves, do you then get the right to take all their other choices away from then on?

I don't really think it's that black and white, though. I think Butler delighted in making people think about the moral issues raised in this series, particularly around coercion and biological imperatives.


message 4: by Valyssia (new)

Valyssia Leigh Great. I've been putting off picking up the final part of this trilogy, and now the credit's burning a hole in my pocket. Thanks a lot!

( ≖.≖)

*pretends to grumble*


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Lindsay wrote: "So if you save somebody from themselves, do you then get the right to take all their other choices away from then on?"

They had a choice. The second book was fully dedicated to this issue. They weren't forced to merge. They had a planet to keep all their own, which would have no alien interference (they were leaving, after all.) They didn't even have to interact with the aliens on Earth.

Perhaps I'm not understanding what you mean by choice?


message 6: by Gergana (new) - added it

Gergana Valyssia wrote: "Great. I've been putting off picking up the final part of this trilogy, and now the credit's burning a hole in my pocket. Thanks a lot!

( ≖.≖)

*pretends to grumble*"


Hihi! It's much better than the second book :D At least for me.


message 7: by Gergana (last edited Aug 18, 2016 01:29AM) (new) - added it

Gergana @Alisi and @Lindsay
Maybe the way they view humanity is similar to the way we would view an animal with a horrible genetic disease who would probably manage to live for a few more years, but would suffer the whole time. Even worse, if it manages to procreate, its children will suffer the same disease too. Putting an animal out of its misery is seen as the most humane thing to do.

I guess humanity in the end is doomed, so the uankoli are trying their best to salvage whatever's left from our biological history and they can't do that on Mars. Hence, they have to send the Resistance humans there.

But why would they want to destroy the Earth when they leave? Somethig's fishy. And like Lindsay said, the power of their pheromones really makes you question their morality and the sanity of the humans who stayed with them.


Lindsay They're destroying the Earth because they're using it as raw materials for their new world-ships. They're literally taking it with them.

That's what I meant by the locusts comment. They'll just keep on spreading through the universe absorbing more races and using more planets as raw materials for the next wave.


message 9: by Valyssia (new)

Valyssia Leigh Gergana wrote: "Hihi! It's much better than the second book :D At least for me."

Yeah, I saw that. I've been enjoying your discussion with Lindsay. I'm glad you caught my sarcasm. I cringed a little after I posted and crossed my fingers. That's gotten me into trouble before.

Anyway, thank you for the review, and the comments. You've really made me want to finish the series.


message 10: by Valyssia (new)

Valyssia Leigh Lindsay wrote: "I think Butler delighted in making people think about the moral issues raised in this series, particularly around coercion and biological imperatives."

Forgive me for butting in, but I just need to express how right I believe you are in the above statement. Any author sufficiently intelligent and gifted to poke at the monsters Butler did during her career is bound to be delighted by that.


message 11: by Gergana (new) - added it

Gergana @ Valyssia: ^.^V I highly recommend it! The third book is slightly shorter than the other two, but more action-packed and less disturbing in some ways. I am really curious to hear your opinion of it (and the previous two).


message 12: by Gergana (new) - added it

Gergana Lindsay wrote: "They're destroying the Earth because they're using it as raw materials for their new world-ships. They're literally taking it with them.
That's what I meant by the locusts comment. They'll just ke..."


HOLY C$%P! Now THAT piece of info raises even more questions in my mind! Maybe you're right, maybe humanity never had a choice to begin with.

@Alisi: Hmmm, true, Mars IS a choice... or is it an ultimatum - you either procreate with oankoli OR
1. spend a long miserable life on Earth until it's time for them to go.
2. you go to a new dangerous planet where you'll spend the remainder of your life underground and you'll never know whether your children we'll be able to survive the hostile environment.


message 13: by Valyssia (new)

Valyssia Leigh Gergana wrote: "I am really curious to hear your opinion of it (and the previous two)."

Okay, I'm behind right now like you wouldn't believe. I reviewed a book this week (The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler) and the GR interface, Chrome (my browser) or Logitech (my mouse) ate a thousand-plus words before I could click 'post,' so I'm in 'never again' mode at the moment, working on my own stuff and listening to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (as non-fantasy as it gets), but when I get back to Octavia E., I'll link you in. I'll need to lick my wounds and talk about Mr. Wexler before then. Oh, and I need to pick up the book and actually read it. *snickers*

On another note: I've been looking at ArtTales the Tumblr page. There's a lot I could say, but I'm sure you've heard it all before, so just keep doing what you're doing. It's good. Fun! *hugs*


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Lindsay wrote: "They're destroying the Earth because they're using it as raw materials for their new world-ships. They're literally taking it with them."

But humans destroyed it already. They are literally taking it with them, yes. But it's not stealing it. Not any more than anyone appropriating discarded garbage. They had to make it fit for habitation again. If you burn down your house on purpose, the government isn't going to give you a free house to replace it. You are not entitled to that. It a lot of circumstances, you wouldn't even be entitled the land where it used to be (for lawyer fees, etc.)

I think this is the hitch I'm at with this idea. I'd agree if it was, say, today and they came. Yes, the Earth is in bad shape but it isn't dead *yet*. Seeing as it was dead and everything on Earth was as good as dead, I don't think the choices presented were unjust imo. Sorry about my confusion there. xD


Lindsay I broadly agree and have argued from your point of view on this as well. However, my stumbling point is that they brought humanity back. Once they've done that they're dealing with intelligent creatures and individuals, none of which would have been directly involved in the decisions that destroyed the Earth.

The Oankali are treating the human individuals as a collective group and acting in a high-handed paternalistic fashion towards them. It's only in the second book with Akin as an Oankali/Human hybrid and him arguing for the humans to have the Mars choice that this even becomes an option. The Oankali simply won't listen to human voices in this matter.

And if Jodahs as a Oankali/Human ooloi had been around then there wouldn't even have been that as it imposed it's will on everyone around it.


message 16: by Gergana (last edited Aug 19, 2016 05:47AM) (new) - added it

Gergana Lindsay wrote: " It's only in the second book with Akin as an Oankali/Human hybrid and him arguing for the humans to have the Mars choice that this even becomes an option. The Oankali simply won't listen to human voices in this matter."

It's not that they didn't listen, it's just that humans couldn't present a reasonable argument for the oankoli to understand. It's different species, it's normal for humans to sound illogical (especially since they spent far too much time hating the oankoli and wishing them gone). It took a hybrid to successfully translate one species's logic to another.

Aaaargggh! I agree with both you and Alisi XD I can't make up my mind!

I see why the oankoli should be considered the good guys, but also, it wasn't fair for them revive humans who had nothing to do with the war that destroyed the Earth and giving them a life without a real future.


message 17: by Gergana (new) - added it

Gergana Valyssia wrote: "On another note: I've been looking at ArtTales the Tumblr page. There's a lot I could say, but I'm sure you've heard it all before, so just keep doing what you're doing. It's good. Fun! *hugs*"

*hugssssss* Thank you so much ^.^!


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Lindsay wrote: "I broadly agree and have argued from your point of view on this as well. However, my stumbling point is that they brought humanity back. Once they've done that they're dealing with intelligent crea..."

Humans were brought back from the brink. The Oankali don't owe them anything. Human's aren't entitled to more than that. It's just my opinion though. Agree to disagree?


Lindsay Sure.


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