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Summary

In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is "awakened", she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever.

Bonded to the aliens in ways no human has ever known, Lilith tries to fight them even as her own species comes to fear and loathe her. A stunning story of invasion and alien contact by one of science fiction's finest writers.

©1987 Octavia E. Butler (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but grating on the ears at times

The plot is good but all the human characters are angry and annoying which likely they would be in their situation but not one of them appears to accept it, even the main character who’s attitude is wholly aggressive and negative. I will likely progress with the 2nd book but I just hope that it steers the characters toward a more positive demeanour.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

great

although slow and tiring, it is very personal and quite emotional, as it attempts to paint a great picture of life with extraterrestials, that differs from the conventional 'bogeyish' depictions of such a life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

masterpiece

If you could sum up Dawn in three words, what would they be?

For years I read Octavia E. Butlers books and then I stopped and now Audible is giving me a chance to re-read (or better: listen to) books I had already read decades ago but also to listen to books I did not know.
Xenogenesis is a group of 3 books that I had not read before and it's great.
This one in particular, the first one, it definitely the best because it introduces the Oankali and their culture.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything

Which character – as performed by Aldrich Barrett – was your favourite?

All of them

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Learn about others and you'll learn about yourself

Any additional comments?

thanks for producing these audiobooks!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great, different Sci from excellent story teller

Octavia Butler is an excellent modern sci fi writer. A female writer with skill & perseverance in the craft to match Ursula la Quinne. This series from a perspective of a human being part of a fusing with an alien race. Narrator very good. Looking forward to the next part of the story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Sci fi. Very intriguing. Body horror galore!

I am required to write 20 words so that I can get past this screen.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay
  • 31-01-16

I couldn't tell if I loved it or hated it.

It was interesting. It is 'true' science fiction, not action in space, romance in space, drama in space, etc. ad nauseam.

The sci-fi components center primarily on biology and what it means to be human. But it also touches on human behavior, the limits of the mind, and physical limitations.

Additionally, the aliens seem truly alien, and their ship is even more imaginative, which I definitely appreciated. The other thing I really enjoyed was the constant edge that Butler keeps you on about the ethics of the Oankali. Are they good aliens or bad aliens? I still haven't decided. This is not an ugly invader alien shoot 'em up story. The conflict is very deep. I don't know if I want the humans to win, or if Earth would be better with the Oankali. At this point, it's interfering with my sleep.

74 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • 26-11-14

Wow...

Where does Dawn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Dawn ranks up into my top 5 books of all time. I read a lot of books, sci-fi, fantasy and horror. I have been through so many different authors that it's mind boggling. Not one can I say I am what you'd call a "fan." I would buy two maybe three books by a single author and lose interest. They eventually become unrelatable and repetitive to me. I am a very hard to please book fan... extremely hard to please. I have just discovered Octavia E. Butler last week. I have already read /listened to four of her books. For me, the way she writes is a way I can relate to. I see myself in her characters. I listen to her "Forwards" and "Afterwards" and I am right there with her. I've never had that with an author before. She is a real literary gem and more than deserving of every award she won. At least, in my opinion.

What other book might you compare Dawn to and why?

I can't really compare the story to another book. It's more like a very interesting "Twilight Zone" episode.

Have you listened to any of Aldrich Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first listen to Aldrich Barrett. She is Amazing. Her voice is soothing yet to the point and quietly intense when it needs to be. Her character voices are easily distinguishable. She has no overly cartoony voices. She doesn't try to have a "male" voice, yet it comes across clearly that she's speaking as a male character. No obnoxious lisp, gross popping saliva like sound some other readers have. I would Love to hear a book read by her coupled with Tim Curry.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The main characters revulsion and acceptance at the same time.

Any additional comments?

Give one of Octavia's books a try. I rarely rave about authors, you can see this from my other reviews. If you like stories that reply more on the actual story to be interesting, psychologically complex, then Octavia's writing is for you. If you Only need 6 hours of someone bashing in skulls to entertain you and scare you (Not that I am opposed to such books, they just aren't very.... scary, kind of boring and most try too hard to be shocking that they fail horribly), you will not have the intellect to understand the real horror she writes about.

103 of 116 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dealosaurus Rex
  • 29-03-16

High solid! My first Butler book.

This was a great story. It reminded me of another recent read: The Book of Strange New Things. Hard to believe it predates it by nearly 30 years! I'll definitely finish the trilogy.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 02-05-16

Strange, interesting, uncomfortable

This is an unusual story of a post-apocalyptic alien invasion. "Invasion" is not even really the right word, considering that mankind had all but destroyed itself already, and the alien Oankali merely rescued the survivors. "Rescued" them and put them in a sort of suspended hibernation aboard their giant world-like ship.

When Lilith Iyapo awakens, she is slowly made aware of her new situation. Not only is she one of the last survivors of the human race, but it's actually been hundreds of years since she "died" and she is now the unwilling "guest" of an alien race that has definite but unspoken plans for humanity.

Lilith behaves like a human being - imperfectly, sometimes irrationally. Slowly, the Oankali establish a relationship of sorts with her, characterized by mistrust on Lilith's part and inscrutable affection mixed with frustration and condescending from the Oankali. Lilith wants to meet other humans, but it never seems to go well. The Oankali are frustratingly vague, and while despite all of Lilith's paranoid imaginings, they never mistreat her or do anything to her at all, they also refuse most of her simplest requests, like paper to write on.

As she learns more about the Oankali and what they plan for her, she realizes that humans and Oankali are now inextricably bound together whether either race likes it or not.

Octavia Butler, the late, lamented genius of SF, wrote stories that were very much statements about race, sex, and power, and in plain sight, but like her prose, it was straightforward and unelaborate. A lot is left for the reader to infer, though none of it is very hidden. Butler writes the Oankali as very interesting aliens who are themselves imperfect - vastly more advanced and in most ways wiser than humans, but still prone to errors of judgment, as well as letting their feelings overcome their common sense. They are also weird and, as Lilith's reactions make clear, creepy, even moreso when it turns out that Oankali actually need humans for some sort of interspecies bonding future, which does in fact involve sexual contact, which is also described plainly if not graphically.

There is a lot in this first book of the Xenogenesis trilogy to find disturbing. Butler usually includes sex and power relationships in her books and they're always uncomfortable. There's also a lot to like, as the human-alien conflict rarely involves violence and never escalates to a military confrontation (humans don't even have a military any more), so you might think of it as a story akin to "The Body Snatchers" if the alien pod people were... well, individuals and not really malevolent and also not really trying to replace humanity, per se. So not much like the Body Snatchers at all, except that they elicit the same fears from humans and not completely without reason, because whatever their intentions and however sympathetic they may be, they are going to do what they're going to do regardless of how humans feel about it.

A very interesting novel, and while I found some parts a little predictable (like almost all the other humans inevitably proving violent and untrustworthy), and I might have enjoyed just a little more literary embellishment, I will probably continue the trilogy.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James R. Wharton
  • 29-02-16

An excellent consideration of bi-racial children

Any additional comments?

The Oankali are a space faring race of extremely advanced geneticists. They use modified life forms for everything that we would use machinery. Any time they modify another species they also modify themselves; thus, they consider themselves to be traders.

The Oankali arrive at Earth shortly after a devastating war that will destroy all life on the planet. They rescue the remaining life forms with the intention of re-seeding the planet after clearing it from contamination.

The story follows one of the survivors who is unwilling to accept the cost imposed by the aliens. Her story is fascinating and the decisions made by her and the other survivors are very believable.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carolina
  • 26-07-14

Amazing, a wonderful Sci-Fi! Super recomended

Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

Intelligence does aloud you to ignore the fact you dislike


First impression

When this was selected for the Sword and Laser I learned that my library only had the second book in the series. The premise seemed so unique and I really wanted to read a book by Octavia E. Buttler so I decided to get myself a copy through Audible. Now I am very happy I did since I want to be able to give it to people to listen too; I will be getting the rest of the trilogy too.

Final thoughts

The book works with the premise that human race has been almost annihilated from Earth, due to war. A few survivors have been "rescued" by an extraterrestrial species, called Oankali, who are described as being covered by tiny tentacles (I imagined their skin like an inside out version of the small intestine, but that's just me) with slight human appearance when approaching Lilith, the main character, at first. Lilith is a black woman who has been awaken several times before (she ignores how many) and she has been selected as the person who will train a new group of humans to be taken back to Earth.

This book was absolutely amazing. I was afraid I was going to have a problem with the voice given to the Oankali since a lot of people were wondering about this on the Internet, but Aldrich Barrett made a great job, at least for me. Independent of the format that you are reading this book will touch a very big question: What exactly makes us human? Is it our bodies? Is it our culture? Can one be separated of the other?

Such a unique book. It has a great main character, that not only questions her own humanity but puts into discussion how human relationships are built and their outcomes. The way she is treated by this alien race and then the way the other humans treated her for me was a questioning of the society we've grown accustomed to. It was interesting to see secondary characters that represented greed or fear to an extreme point and how this type of behaviours affected the construction of a whole new dynamic between individuals.

I liked that, for a sci-fi, it wasn't "plagued" with terminology. Sure, we have the names of the different Oankali, but doors aren't call intramural passages for example, or worst, made up words without context. All is being explained to Lilith and through her to ours and yet it all feels so alien.

Someone said that for him this book was racist and homophobic, which I feel obliged to counter here. Yes there are comments against Lilith being the leader, as she is a woman, but this comment came from another human and from my point of view, this was pout there precisely to point out how society still reacts like that with a woman on a position of power. The fact that the book has a sexist or an homophobic character, does not make the book sexist nor homophobic. The book deals with several "hard" subjects, such as race, sexism, rape just to name a few. But I think the author's intention was to start a discussion about them, show how this can appear and the consequences. I believe this book pushes a lot of buttons, but in a very good way. I have already recommended the book all over the place and can't wait to continue with the story, learn more about the Oankali and Lilith's outcome.

46 of 61 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Terijo
  • 20-05-14

Brilliant writer: originality extreme!

What did you love best about Dawn?

It's purely original. Alien contact at its most intimate and somehow believable.

What about Aldrich Barrett’s performance did you like?

I don't notice the narrator unless they are bad.

Any additional comments?

This series is an old favorite of mine, glad it's finally on audible.

19 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 27-04-16

Conversations

I'LL OPEN THE WALL FOR YOU
Written in 1987, I don't understand how it is considered a Classic. This is not even one of Butler's most well known novels, nor has it won any awards.

SHE WONDERED WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE WITH IT'S SECOND PAIR OF ARMS
The concept is interesting and worth exploring. Earth has done themselves in with a major global war. An alien race decides to save the human race. The alien race terraforms the earth. The rub here, is that they terraform it differently than it had been. They are masters at gene manipulation. In saving humans they take some of our genes and gives us some of their genes. The end human product will not be the same humans as was before Armageddon. This could have been an exciting story, appealing to many fans. The book is intellectual and leads to stimulating conversation. The problem, is the book is mostly conversations. Very little really happens, it is mostly talking and asking questions. Reads like a thesis.

41 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-10-14

Not very good.

What could Octavia E. Butler have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Better character development would have made the book more enjoyable. All of the human characters have the same abrasive tastes in the words they use. The author explains outright exactly which niche each character is meant to fill, this one is the best friend, this one is the lover, that one is the aggressive brute, instead of showing the reader by action and speech who they are. Except for the main character, they are in the story to fulfill a function. In the end, they are neither memorable or identifiable. The story could have been a lot shorter and had exactly the same content. The same phrases are used over and over again by the characters in speech as they are just repeating themselves.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The way the author described the setting and the alien race involved were colorful and interesting. The exposition was nicely done and exciting. I enjoyed the first half of the book.

Any additional comments?

The story has kind of rape-y tones and scenes, anyone who isn't comfortable with that should skip this book.

35 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 27-01-14

Intense

What did you love best about Dawn?

I was hooked after the second chapter. I felt like I could see and feel everything Lilith was going through. I couldn't stop listening. I can't wait to download the rest of the series.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful