Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Veggie Books: Lilith's Brood

There's something sexy about a banana.

Maybe we're drawn on a primitive level. Our monkey brains might have a particular fancy for them. Or maybe it's the ease of unpeeling and eating - a fruit without hard work required. Symbolic of bountiful nature, the seat of humanity, hot days and nights. And custard.

Okay, maybe not custard.

Anyhoo, I think Octavia Butler is an amazing writer. Here's her background:

Octavia E Butler (1947-2006) was the first black woman to come into international prominence as a science fiction writer. Incorporating powerful, spare language and rich, well-developed characters, her work tackled race, gender, religion, poverty, power, politics, and science in a way that touched readers of all backgrounds.

Lilith's Brood is a trilogy of books set, initially, in orbit around an Earth that has been destroyed by warring humankind. Aliens called Ooankali, travellers who seek genetic material and information, have preserved a few remaining humans, and now they are ready to awaken these humans, breed with them, and start a whole new race.

Lilith is the main character of the first book, and although she is pretty much the only human in that book (Dawn), we do not always empathise only with her. We understand the Ooankali's viewpoint - how they see humanity's self-destructiveness as a problem that must be overcome genetically by merging with another, wiser, race. The Ooankali empathise with Lilith, but see her as a child, and she is not really given a choice. She will be seduced into becoming the mother of a new form of life, sexually and emotionally. And it all starts with the act of offering her a banana.

Darn those bananas. We can't resist them.

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