When America & Russia both push the "red button", the world is utterly destroyed. Luckily, many humans are rescued by extraterrestrials (Oankali) that just happen to be passing their way. Kept asleep for 250 years while the Oankali restore the earth, the humans are finally beginning to be Awakened by the Oankali. This is the story of Lilith, one of the humans chosen to lead the newly Awakened humans to rebuild the earth.
I enjoyed the beginning of this novel immensely. I found myself dreaming at night of the place and people that Lilith had awakened to. The Oankali have 3 genders instead of 2 and they are talented at genetic modifications. In fact, they make it a point to take some of the best qualities from every alien lifeform they encounter and offer an equal exchange of genetics to the aliens that they take from. Of course, this doesn't seem entirely desirable to humans who have just lost everything and everyone they knew. They don't want to lose their "humanity" on top of all their other losses.
I rolled my eyes during a portion of the last part of the novel when at least a chapter was devoted to some sort of spiritual orgy scene. And then there was a conception involving 5 parents. Lovely. I think I could have done without the book going that direction. I think I would have expected such a scene in a book from the 60s or 70s rather than the late 80s.
One thing I found interesting about the cover to the book is that the protagonist of the book is clearly an African-American woman (as is the author). However, the early edition version of the book shows the protagonist as a very white girl. I wonder what Octavia thought about that.
This is the first book in the Xenogenesis trilogy. And I think I do want to read the other 2 books. Unfortunately, most places sell all 3 books together as a book called Lilith's Brood
. But since I started with an individual book, I don't want to go a step back and buy the whole bound set.