Friday, July 13, 2007

Reviewed: "Imago" by Octavia Butler

The third and final book in Ms. Butler's series.

This one focuses on another child of Lilith's. This time, the child is neither male or female, but a genderless ooloi. An ooloi can manipulate genetic material and is necessary for the Oankali and humans to have construct children. Each child has four parents - human and Oankali mother and fathers.

Lilith's child becomes ooloi somewhat accidentally and it sends the Oankali into much debate. The consensus was to not allow construct ooloi for many generations as the aliens wanted the new species to stabilize. Any accidental ooloi would be required to return to the ship to be watched carefully and mated with ship Oankali and humans who opted to stay on the ship.

But the construct ooloi doesn't want to go to the ship as the Earth is it's home. The ooloi runs away from the family in order to spend it's last days on Earth before being taken to the ship. As luck would have it, the ooloi stumbles on two people - a male and a female - who are horribly disfigured. They are also both fertile.

Turns out one person, named The Mother, survived on Earth while the Oankali were saving the humans species. She was raped and became pregnant from it. A group of resistors took her in and then used the opportunity to try to re-populate the earth with fertile people. The only problem is The Mother had some type of latent genetic disorder that ended up being passed down to generations of her children. The couple the ooloi stumbles upon are brother and sister, who are also running away and seeing as much of the Earth, prior to having to return home to essentially become baby making factories.

Good book. I enjoyed reading all three in the trilogy. Butler does a good job of setting up apocalyptic worlds and showing how humans survive the unsurvivable.

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