Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
Lilith Iyapo Awakens in isolation again. The room is still a plain white with platforms for a bed and a table. The food is the same tasteless nutritional glop. But this time is different. She has clothes waiting for her. It appears she may be staying awake for a while this time.
She remembers the war that decimated Earth. She survived. But she was kidnapped. She doesn’t know which side has her. All she knows for certain is that she has been in a long, deep sleep. She was Awakened a couple times. Once she woke with a surgical scar on her abdomen. She doesn’t know what they did to her. Once she was allowed to have a young boy with her a short time. Each time she Awakes she is questioned by faceless voices. But none of her return questions are answered.
This time she gets to meet her captors…and wishes she hadn’t. They are not from either side of the war. They are extraterrestrial aliens. These beings had gathered up all the healthy human beings when the nuclear winter was starting. The Oankali’s mission is to reseed and repopulate Earth now that the nuclear winter is ending and Earth is habitable again. Lilith is the first human that has proven she can comprehend and accept the truth. She is to be the leader or first of the humans to be Awakened and taught how to survive on a regrowing Earth. They are to start a new agricultural society and will trade with the Oankali. The longer she is Awake, the more she learns. Lilith is appalled at the Oankali’s plans. There is nothing she can do to change them.
This is the first novel in Butler’s Xenogenesis series that was first published back in the 1980’s. This author’s imagination is amazing. Dawn is populated by aliens beyond my imagination – but not hers. The novel is interesting, but not compelling. The Oankali are a fully developed species. Although she is the main character, I couldn’t get a full grasp on Lilith. This isn’t an easy read, nor is it particularly deep – it takes some work. It is an interesting look on how humans may survive the apocalypse.