#WhatImReading – The Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia E. Butler

It sometimes takes me weeks to finish reading a fiction book when I’m in a massive writing cycle like I am right now. I’m just too dang busy. So it takes me time to work my way through a series.

I finally finished the Xenogenesis Trilogy by the grand dame of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler.

Three words:

O.

M.

G.

How’s that for a tease? Because, dayamn.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like book one (Dawn) at first, but it sucked me in, and when I finished it, I went to the next, then the third.

The tl;dr is that in the wake of an apocalyptic nuclear war that’s literally destroyed Earth and killed most of the humans and larger animals, aliens have arrived, rescued as many humans as they could, put them in suspended animation, and are now waking them up since the aliens have cleaned up Earth as best as possible. They want to resettle the humans there.

There is, however (of course, isn’t there always) a catch. The aliens “trade” genetic makeup to help improve their DNA, and it’s a little on the awkward side for the humans. The aliens are literally alien, and it’s difficult for humans, at first, to get used to their appearance. In fact, many do not and rebel against being part of the “trade.”

The aliens have a setup where they pair into male, female, and then an “it”–a non-gendered third that joins them. (Yes, a triad, but these books are not erotic by any stretch of the imagination.) They pair-bond with the humans in a similar way. The aliens can be seen as saviors of a race, using the best to improve themselves and others (they can use human cancer to metamorph their bodies in a way they never could before, give humans long and pain-free lives) or a scavenging race trying to destroy and consume humans (their ships are literally living and will eventually eat the Earth’s surface as they work their way through the universe, they can change human biology to prevent them from giving birth).

The trilogy follows one main human character and her offspring. Yes, this is a highly simplified summary, but I don’t want to give away plot points. There are a lot of different viewpoints that can be taken when dissecting these books with a critical eye, corollaries to white colonization of indigenous peoples, genetic modification/eugenics, slavery, and more. Or you can enjoy them as damn good world-building. Or both. (Critical survey of fiction and enjoyment of same are not mutually exclusive states.)

If you love sci-fi, speculative fiction, or post-apocalyptic fiction, you’ll likely enjoy this series. I highly recommend it.

So what are you reading? Have you read this trilogy? What were your thoughts on it? Sound off in the comments! 🙂


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One thought on “#WhatImReading – The Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia E. Butler

  1. Oi! Yes! This is one of my all time favorite series. I just finished reading Tanya Huff’s Confederation/Peace Keeper Series. I inhaled all 7 books back-to-back. Highly recommended.

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