Adulthood Rites/ posted in: Reading Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler
on April 1st 1997
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in the Amazon - Brazil?
Told in the haunting voice of Lilith, the heroine of "Dawn", this book is thestory of Lilith's only son, Akin. Though he resembles a normal human, Akin is one of the first "constructs"--part man/part alien.
To sum up:
Earth has been destroyed by nuclear war. Right before humanity was going to totally wiped out, an alien race called the Oaklani picked up the survivors and put them in suspended animation on their ship. Hundreds of years later they had rehabilitated the Earth and are ready to wake up the humans. All they ask in return is for some humans to cross breed with them to make a new species that combines the best of both.
Am I The Only One Who Isn’t Bothered By This?
Some humans have lost their fool minds over this. They have run away and are trying to live on the land without alien help. The aliens have made sure that no humans can breed without the help of alien DNA. This is because the aliens have rightly deduced that humans are too blindly self destructive to be allowed to continue unchanged.
The human resisters have taken to kidnapping the human/alien construct offspring. They want to have children so they steal the ones that they refuse to consent to make themselves. It doesn’t make any sense.
Akin is a male construct who looks very human as a child. He is kidnapped and held for a year. He has a perfect memory and the ability to collect and hold data. The aliens are delaying rescuing him so they can gain more information on the resisters.
Here’s all they need to know. They are right. Humans are jerks. They’ve regressed to a violently patriarchal society where woman are stolen and sold as commodities. I think we are meant to feel sorry for them since they can’t breed. I was glad they couldn’t! No one needs more of these people.
Then they started carrying on because their lives had no meaning since they had no children. Get off it. If you require children to give meaning to your life, you are an idiot. Get out and do something meaningful.
I wanted to say that I was done with this series because obviously I’m not the target audience for it. But then I looked at the description of the last book in the series. The first book is from a female perspective. The second is from a male perspective. The third book is from the perspective of an oolani. That is a third gender in the alien race. They have lots of powers that haven’t fully been explained. Now I want to read that one to see what that viewpoint looks like. I just know I’m going to get mad at humans all over again!
After I wrote this review, I saw something that Junot Diaz wrote about how this series reminded him to be thankful for all the black women did to keep their families together during slavery. I’ve run that around in my mind for a few days and still don’t get it.
Black women were taken from their lives in Africa and taken against their will to America.
Humans in this book were saved from certain death and taken to a world that was specially designed to benefit them in exchange for not breeding more idiots.
This isn’t slavery. This is Cake or Death.
If you aren’t familiar with this skit by Eddie Izzard, basically it involves British soldiers offering people they are conquering the choice of being killed or having some cake. They are surprised that they are running out of cake. They thought people would resist more.
It is the same here. You can have a perfect world and an incredibly rich and sensual relationship with a group of aliens or you can let your species die.
I still don’t see how this is a hard choice.
I have to go now. Book three has come in at the library for me….