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Imago [Hardcover]

Octavia E. Butler
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1989
Following "Dawn" and "Adulthood Rites", this volume concludes a trilogy following the growth into maturity of a new species, half-human, half-alien, on Earth. The book's narrator is Jodahs, and the story follows his metamorphosis from child, into a member of the third Oankali gender.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Warner Books (April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446514721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446514729
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 17 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,638,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I slipped into my first metamorphosis so quietly that no one noticed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly alien - and yet human. 5 Aug 2002
Imago is the sequel to "Dawn" and "Adulthood Rites", though in no way concluding. It tells the story of another of Liliths children, Jodahs, set roughly 50 years after "Adulthood Rites". Jodahs is truly alien, and yet its humanity makes it alien to the aliens, too. While Jodahs (and its companions)struggles to find its own identity, which is not exactly hybrid, as in, part alien and part human, but something new and beyond the duality of human/alien, Octavia Butler lets us, the readers, struggle with the concept of a gender that is beyond the duality of male/female. What raises "Imago" above most other stories of third genders is that by the end of the book it feels like the way it should be, most natural, nothing exotic about it anymore. It becomes human. Or rather, it is beyond classification as human or alien.
Way further developed than any ideas of cyborgs or other hybrids I've read so far, "Imago" doesn't stand between boundaries or break them up, because in "Imago" the boundaries cease to exist.
This superbly worked out philosophical background helps over the dissappointment of very little reference to Lilith, Tino, Nikanj, Akin, and other characters of the first two books. If you've read and enjoyed them, read "Imago" too. It's part of "Lilith's Brood", if you can't get it as a single book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing 12 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The final of the 'Lilith's Brood' trilogy follows the experience of another of Lilith's children, this time one who becomes the first to metamorphose into the third gender. 'It' also takes on a human appearance which enables it to be more acceptable to the rebel humans and so more able to create a genuine willing amalgamation of Oankali and human.

I felt that the three books in the trilogy could have been shorter, and there was what felt like repetition. I actually began to feel the human repulsion towards the Oankali as the novels progressed, losing my initially more sympathetic view of them, and I think this was because I found the characters increasingly less convincing. The ending of the trilogy seems to me too neat and even trite. I think there are a great number of excellent things about these books and I would recommend Octavia Butler as a writer, but I was disappointed overall with this trilogy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating 3 May 2014
By Mark
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved these three books. I'm not an Avis sci-fi reader but really enjoy reading visions of alien cultures and this series was rich and imaginative in that regard. Stimulating and enjoyable. What more can you ask for from this type of novel?
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5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely first rate scifi 10 Aug 2011
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
How does Butler do it? Her novels get better as the series advances! Usually, they degenerate, like movies sequels, where you get more of the same as the auteur tries to milk it (Remember that sorry Planet of the Apes?).

This is the story of the emergence of the third human sex, an ooloi, the product of genetic mixing with an alien species that has taken over the Earth, saving it from destruction at man's hands. The ooloi is an extremely dangerous development, a catalyst for genetic manipulation who if undisciplined threatens to create plagues and disrupt entire ecosystems. In appearance female, the ooloi is extremely seductive and becomes a peacemaker with the human resistance to the aliens, almost a saint. As weird as it sounds, it is completely believable and fabulously written.

Butler develops her vision and concepts, leaving the reader with a feeling of wonder at the universe. Only the best novelists do this: her talent goes far far beyond the confines of the sci fi genre. Indeed, I wonder if she is not revitalising the novel as a form of art, pointing new directions. She deserved her MacArthur prize.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing vision of the future through Butler's eyes. 19 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The third book in the Xenogenesis series involves more of the Oankali-Human children born on an earth that will be reaved of its natural resources and left for dead in a scant few centuries.

Butler shocks reader and characters alike -- two of the Human-Oankali children do not take after their parents despite careful genetic planets -- they develop, on their own, into Ooloi -- the most powerful and dangerous creatures of the Oankali race: capable of great healing or concocting lethal poisons from the genetic information that every sense has experienced over their lifetime.

Imago follows first one, then the other ooloi youth as they discover what they are, suffer greatly from lack of skill with the ooloi talents, and loneliness from being the only ones of their kind in the new generation. Eventually they find themselves and manage a sort of stability. The third gender is not as disturbing as it might have been in the hands of a less sensitive author.

This series closes with a solid finality the assimilation of mankind into the Oankali genetics...and the hard fate remaining for the 'purist' humans who choose to terraform another planet to live on, since there will be no earth for them after the Oankali are through.

The series has left me feeling marginally unsettled, given Butler's vision of the future is one that indicates the human race must change if it is to survive en masse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book... 29 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
this is a wonderful book, but buy "Lilith's Brood" instead, which includes this book and the other two in the trilogy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best of the series 17 May 2000
By TammyJo Eckhart - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
By focusing down on one character, more or less, this third book in the series provides the greatest entertainment and the greatest means of connection between characters, situations and reader. Of course the book cannot not stand on its own, generally a sign of greatness in a book, but in series that is to be expected.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Conclusion to a Great Series 23 May 2002
By watzizname - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An outstandingly fine story! This is the third and final book of Xenogenesis, also published as "Lilith's Brood" (all 3 books in one cover; cheaper than buying them separately). See "Lilith's Brood" for reviews of the entire series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imago 3 Jun 2001
By "deshund" - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you love watching scfi and not reading the books this is the writer to start with. The first in the xenogenesis series is Dawn I could not put the book down if you could image the earth been destroyed by nuclar war then a alien race comes and saves human kind. The second book Adulthood Rites answer's the question what will the future look like for human kind as a race then the third book Imago shows you what you will become. If you have not read these books you are missing some great writing from a different point of view.
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