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 no..Show More »vels, 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.
Adulthood Rites is the second book in a trilogy. After a devastating world war, an alien race has come to earth. The aliens completely dominated the w..Show More »orld. The aliens are genetic masters that use genetic manipulation as their main technology. The aliens have come to absorb all the resources of the earth, including the genetic information before moving on to their next conquest. As part of their conquest all humans have been sterilized and only those humans that are willing to breed with the aliens are allowed to have children.
The main character in this story is Akin, the first human/alien male construct. As an infant he is stolen by rogue humans who want children. After he is recovered, he continues to explore the rogue human’s world. Over time he develops an understanding of his human and alien sides and finds his calling.
I think this is a much better book than the first in the trilogy. Butler is always concerned with concepts of oppression and community and independence. Part of what she is exploring here is the human propensity toward violence. There is oddly a very paternalistic (not quite utopian, but in that direction) bent to this series. The aliens have real limits, but their intent is to change humans for their own good in a way that the humans do not necessarily want.
Akin has the ability to reach between the alien and human societies to understand both. His alienation from being not fully a part of either society is what drives his understanding. It is hard not to psychoanalyze Butler as I read her. As a female, black, maybe gay (or bisexual) science fiction author, I have to work to let the words speak for themselves without reducing everything to parallels with modern sexual, racial, political or social issues. At the same time, she is writing about those issues and I do not want to ignore that either.
This trilogy frames two major issues. The first is the self destructive nature of human life, and the second is our evolving relationship with our own..Show More » bodies, especially issues surrounding gender. Butler gives us an earth already destroyed by humans in a final great war that leaves only a few survivors tottering on the brink of extinction. How are they to survive when the seeds of self-destruction are encoded in their own DNA? Their salvation comes from above in the form of aliens who collect and preserve humanity's remnants much as we preserve endangered species. Like us, they reintroduce humans into their former habitat, but in s doing so they intermix their own DNA with ours and create a new species with three different genders which all must come together nine order to reproduce. The story is really one of the seduction of human beings onto an evolutionary path that has a very different kind of future than we usually imagine for ourselves. Butler was a great writer, and the first book bowled me over. The second book challenged me to re-imagine he human condition, and the third swept me away into a very different vision of what we might become. Listeners who are looking for science fiction at its best, imaginative, challenging, and complex will love this trilogy and look for more of Octavia Butler's superb stories of about who we are and what we might become.
Aldrich Barrett was outstanding with the delivery of the story