Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler
Blake Mason and his daughters, Keira and Rane, are traveling across the dangerous California desert to visit his mother. In the mid-21st century it is not safe to travel outside of the city enclaves. What motor vehicles travel the roads are heavily armored and protected. Yet the three are stopped and abducted.
The kidnappers are odd. As a doctor, Blake recognizes the symptoms of a disease. He cannot identify it. Once they are bound and enclosed at the farm, Eli, Meda, and the others are fairly kind to the three. They try to protect Keira who is dying from leukemia. Yet they purposefully infect Blake and Rane.
Then the isolationists tell a preposterous story. They claim they are the victims of an alien attack. Microbes came back with a space mission. These microbes are actually beings that take over a host in a symbiotic relationship and force the hosts to stay alive and spread them. These organisms would start a plague across the Earth. The hosts are trying to expand their base.
This is a compelling, eerie story. It is a thriller as well as an apocalyptic tale. It is a story of an attempted alien invasion of Earth. It is Octavia Butler weaving her fantastic ideas into a realistic story. This story, like most of hers, is gritty, edgy. It starts slow. By the end, I could not put it down. Her endings cannot be predicted. Perhaps the human spirit will win. Then again, perhaps not…
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations