The Xenogenesis Series

I just finished reading the final book of The Xenogenesis Series by Octavia Butler, also known as Lilith’s Brood. It is amazing. So much about how she talks about humans and their innate tendencies is appropriate for what is happening in the world right now, it was so helpful to read at this moment in time.

The first book, Dawn begins with Lilith awakening in a strange place with a strange being. And the story moves on with Adulthood Rites and finishes in Imago. All three stories focus on different portions of the story of reinhabiting Earth after a horrible war with the help of an alien species.

But what I was drawn to was the fear of the “other” that Butler captures so well. The aliens see humans has having an conflict inside themselves between intelligence and hierarchy and I’ve been thinking about that now for weeks as I’ve read the books. Butler sees so much good in humanity but also so much bad and she shows the ways in which humans can go either direction.

I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but it is fascinating to see how humans react to the aliens and how they attempt to recreate the Earth they knew, the Earth in which they destroyed themselves in war. And Lilith is the main character through which we see all of this. She makes choices, she helps the aliens, but then also feels horrible doing it. And humanity itself changes, it will never be the same, but it’s fascinating and complex to see how that is worked out.

Butler has written a story that will have me thinking for a long time. And it was the perfect story to read during the tumult that continues to roil throughout this year.