Adulthood Rites : Xenogenesis

  • by Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by Aldrich Barrett
  • Series: Xenogenesis
  • 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear war, but the price they exact is a high one the aliens are compelled to genetically merge their species with other races, drastically altering both in the process. On a rehabilitated Earth, this "new" race is emerging through human/Oankali/Ooloi mating, but there are also "pure" humans who choose to resist the aliens and the salvation they offer. These resisters are sterilized by the Ooloi so that they cannot reproduce the genetic defect that drives humanity to destroy itself, but otherwise they are left alone (unless they become violent). When the resisters kidnap young Akin, the Oankali choose to leave the child with his captors, for he the most "human" of the Oankali children will decide whether the resisters should be given back their fertility and freedom, even though they will only destroy themselves again.
This is the second volume in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series, a powerful tale of alien existence.

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Last Hope For The Human Race

Adulthood Rites is the second volume of the Lilith's Brood trilogy. In the previous novel an alien species the Oankali rescued the last remaining humans after they had destroyed the Earth with war and pollution. The Oankali are a race who 'trade' genes with other species through mating's involving a male and female of each species and a sexless being called an Ooloi who can select which genes to mix together to form a being with desired traits of both species. The Oankali have generated parts of earth and returned colonies of humans willing to trade genes with them. Lilith Iyapo is now living back on Earth with her blended family and several hybrid children including Akin, a human looking male baby, who is already very intelligent and advanced for his age. Akin is kidnapped by a group of men who refuse to be involved in the the breeding program. The Oankali have allowed such people called 'resisters' to live on Earth but have prolonged their lives, freed them of disease and sterilised them so they cannot breed. Human looking children are therefore highly prized in the mistaken belief that they may be able to breed and perpetuate the human communities. Akin is sold to a resister village and spend a year with them before being rescued by the Oankali.

Akin develops some sympathy for the resisters and wants the Oankali to give them a future with human children of their own. The Oankali are very resistant to this idea and believe that because of their hierarchical nature, the humans will simply destroy any future societies they are allowed to build.

This is an interesting book that fleshes out the vision the Oankali have for the remnants of the human species - those who can accept having unusual sexual bonding of aliens and humans and the hybrid 'construct' children produced by such unions and those who will have no part of it but are doomed to die without being able to create a new generation. It also raises the question of what it is to be human and whether man will ever be able to quell his hierarchical and competitive instincts to live in a world without violence.

Aldrich Barrett was fantastic with the delivery of the story
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- Lia "I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!"

Better than the first

Adulthood Rites is the second book in a trilogy. After a devastating world war, an alien race has come to earth. The aliens completely dominated the world. The aliens are genetic masters that use genetic manipulation as their main technology. The aliens have come to absorb all the resources of the earth, including the genetic information before moving on to their next conquest. As part of their conquest all humans have been sterilized and only those humans that are willing to breed with the aliens are allowed to have children.

The main character in this story is Akin, the first human/alien male construct. As an infant he is stolen by rogue humans who want children. After he is recovered, he continues to explore the rogue human’s world. Over time he develops an understanding of his human and alien sides and finds his calling.

I think this is a much better book than the first in the trilogy. Butler is always concerned with concepts of oppression and community and independence. Part of what she is exploring here is the human propensity toward violence. There is oddly a very paternalistic (not quite utopian, but in that direction) bent to this series. The aliens have real limits, but their intent is to change humans for their own good in a way that the humans do not necessarily want.

Akin has the ability to reach between the alien and human societies to understand both. His alienation from being not fully a part of either society is what drives his understanding. It is hard not to psychoanalyze Butler as I read her. As a female, black, maybe gay (or bisexual) science fiction author, I have to work to let the words speak for themselves without reducing everything to parallels with modern sexual, racial, political or social issues. At the same time, she is writing about those issues and I do not want to ignore that either.
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- Adam Shields "Book blogger at Bookwi.se"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-30-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios