Sunday, June 10, 2007

Science Fiction, Yes (A short review of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series)



For those of you who don’t know Octavia or her creations, she was one of the most amazing and intense science fiction writers ever. She passed away in early 2006 and has left this great collection of inspirational and empowering literature for all of us to lament and to celebrate. Her pages feel more home-like to me than my own body.

All of her work greatly touches upon these very intuitive, sexually charged, and socially aware ideas while still remaining very
individualistic to each character that is personified in her writing.

Dawn, the first book in the Xenogenesis series, revolves around the character Lilith Lyapo and the loss of her entire family and planet as she is swept up and “saved” by a nomadic alien race called the Oankali. Earth was nearly destroyed by constant warfare and the Oankali were in search of a new civilization in order to partner with physiologically. It becomes extremely relevant that she learn the ways of the Oankali and find out their true plans.

I don’t know, suspending your disbelief is one thing, but this is just too good of a mysterious, creepy, and fantastic story - how could you resist?

So to that I say, yes. Yes to fantastical space voyages of strong black women. And even though current situations are shit in the world, ice caps are melting, extra firm tofu just went up twenty five cents, pessimism is rampant (I might not be helping), and education costs are rising — so if knowledge is power, then the dollar supersedes that ideal? — wait, okay, so:
science fiction is more real than real and the work of Octavia rules my mind.

-Donovan Vim Crony