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Imago (Book Three of the Xenogenesis Series)…

Imago (Book Three of the Xenogenesis Series) (original 1989; edition 1997)

by Octavia E. Butler

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8541410,501 (4.11)29
Title:Imago (Book Three of the Xenogenesis Series)
Authors:Octavia E. Butler
Info:Aspect (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Read 2013
Tags:Library Book

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Imago by Octavia E. Butler (1989)



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I really liked this series. The books were fast reads and they held my interest from beginning to end. Although the books were only around 250 pages each, the stories had plenty of meat. I like books that compel me to think about them even when I’m doing other things, and these books were like that. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this series. Human nature is also depicted in a pessimistic way. I often felt uncomfortable rooting for the success of the main characters because I didn’t think all their actions were very ethical even though, within the context of the story, their choices were understandable and perhaps even inevitable. The second book was less problematic for me in this regard, but the dilemma was back in full force in this final book.

Even though these books will probably make you think, they’re also fun to read. I don’t think there was a single section anywhere in the books that felt dry or dull. It’s a very character-driven story. Each book is told from the perspective of a single character and is easy to follow. I definitely plan to come back to Octavia Butler at some point in the future and try some of her other books.

I don’t have anything else to say that I haven’t already said in my recent reviews of the previous books. I don’t often recommend books because I don’t feel comfortable about my judgment of what other people will enjoy. My own enjoyment of something definitely isn’t a guarantee that other people will like it. However, if you like science fiction at all, and if you haven’t read anything by Octavia Butler, I recommend giving the first book in this series a try. If you’re not a big fan of science fiction but you want to add a little bit of it into your reading mix, this series might not be a bad choice for you either. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Mar 5, 2016 |
The last volume of the mind blowing, thought provoking Lilith’s Brood series (I prefer the original name Xenogenesis myself, it has a nice sci-fi ring to it).

Jodahs the protagonist of this book is another offspring of Lilith Iyapo. The least human of the series' central characters, especially after its first metamorphosis. As Jodahs is neither male or female, and certainly not a hermaphrodite, the pronoun it is the only appropriate one for referring to characters of the “ooloi” gender; he third sex of the alien Oankali race.

The story of Imago is basically a Bildungsroman, centered around the adventures of Jodahs. As if being an ooloi is not alien enough he (I'm slipping back into using he instead of it again, old habits) is even more alien than the average ooloi, being the first of this third gender to have human gene as well as Oankali. This necessitates that he goes into exile until he can control his genetic manipulation abilities; as the other aliens are concerned that he will inadvertently contaminate them, their biotech habitat, food sources etc. Fortunately he has his family going along with him to back him up. After straying in the woods with his family for a whole he soon wanders off on his own and soon encounters a couple of humans who he seduces to become his mates.

That is probably the longest synopsis I have ever written, I normally avoid writing these like the plague but sometime I find a synopsis to be an unavoidable component of the review. Perhaps because there are so many bizarre concepts which need to be mentioned in order to proceed with the review. As with the other books in this series weird biotechnology is the main sci-fi aspect. While amazing the sci-fi fans with her wild inventions Ms. Butler is subtly making us ponder what it means to be human and whether it is worth preserving our humanity at all cost. The problem with being human, according to the Oankali’s observation, is that “the human biological contradiction” dictates that we will eventually self destruct because we can not refrain from hierarchical behavior. Basically being human is not what it is cracked up to be.

The theme of xenophobia is also more prominent in this volume, how an open mind is required to achieve racial harmony. While conveying her ideas and themes Butler never forget that she is telling a story, more importantly a science fiction story. The novel is rich in subtext which can be inferred from reading between the lines, but reading the lines themselves is always entertaining, thrilling and involving. As with all her works the characters are very well developed and believable, and the writing is powerful. The book is also weirdly erotic in places without ever becoming sexually explicit or titillating.

As my friend Michael kindly pointed out to me there is also an element of alien invasion in this trilogy. However, from the Oankali’s point of view the invasion is for our own good. They believe they are saving us from self destruction (“the human biological contradiction”), even if it means taking away our freedom to choose. The story so far, from their initial rescue of the few remaining humans in [b:Dawn|60929|Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)|Octavia E. Butler|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388290339s/60929.jpg|1008111], would indicate that they may be right. However, mating with the Oankali would lead to hybrid offsprings and eventual end of the original human race.

After reviewing the two previous volumes of this series I am almost out of hyperbole. One bold statement I can make is that Lilith’s Brood series (or Xenoegenesis) is my all time favorite sf series, and I have read all the greats, Dune, Foundation, Hyperion etc. Thank you Ms. Butler. ( )
1 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Another great if disturbing book by Octavia Butler. I love her writing style, understated and matter-of-fact. Her worlds are amazing, her aliens life-like. Their different way of thinking is disturbing, but also what makes the book so good. ( )
  zjakkelien | Mar 4, 2015 |
The conclusion of the Xenogenesis series focuses on Jodahs, the child of humans, Oankali, and the sexless Ooloi. Many Resisters still do not believe that there are fertile humans on a new colony on Mars. On Earth the aliens and the humans with the Ooloi will merge to form a new race. However, despite the feelings of many Oankali, humans have been given the chance to reproduce on Mars and are trying to find all of the remaining humans and give them the choice: Mars or stay on Earth and become a part of a new race. ( )
  creighley | Aug 12, 2013 |
Imago is the third novel in the Lilith’s Brood trilogy (or Xenogenesis Series) by Octavia E. Butler.

Plot [with slight SPOILERS for Dawn]:
Jodahs is Lilith’s youngest child and as it hasn’t gone through transformation yet, it’s not clear yet what sex it’s going to be. But it turns out that despite precautions taken that it wouldn’t happen yet, Jodahs is going to be the first Human/Oankali ooloi – the third sex the Oankali have. Jodahs is deeply confused by the situation, and entirely overwhelmed by a craving for human mates. But will the Oankali accept it as it is or will it turn out to be flawed?

The problems I had with Adulthood Rites started to annoy me in this book, so I didn’t like Imago quite as much as I liked Adulthood Rites. But it’s still a very interesting read.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/imago-octavia-e-butler/ ( )
  kalafudra | Jul 26, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Octavia E. Butlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barlowe, WayneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Underwood, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446603635, Mass Market Paperback)

This conclusion to the Xenogenesis series (Dawn and Adulthood Rights) focuses on Jodahs, the child of a union between humans, alien Oankali, and the sexless ooloi. The Oankali and ooloi are part of an extraterrestrial species that saved humanity from nuclear oblivion, but many humans feel the price for their help is too high: the Oankali and ooloi intend to genetically merge with humanity, creating a new species at the expense of the old. Even though the Oankali have--against their better judgment--created a human colony on Mars so that humanity as a species can continue unaltered, many human "resisters" either have not heard of the Mars colony or don't believe the Oankali will allow them to live there. Jodahs, who was thought to be a male but who is actually maturing into the first ooloi from a human/Oankali union, finds a pair of resisters who prove that some pure humans are still fertile. These humans may be his only hope to find successful mates, but they have been raised to revile and despise his species above all else.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race. Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi—the first ever born to a human mother. As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what’s left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate.… (more)

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