This is a trilogy, comprised of Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. Earth has had an apocalyptic world war, and the few remaining humans have been “rescued” by aliens and kept in stasis for hundreds of years. What follows is a brilliant description of the human instinct for violence, and the complexity of feelings when humans encounter the aliens for the first time. Lilith is utilized to choose humans to be re-animated, and so there is the strong psychology of humans learning about aliens and distrusting Lilith’s role. The aliens have breath-taking powers or healing, aka resurrection, but have their own agenda. The human-alien relationships are an imaginative form of symbiosis with genetic sharing in offspring. Thus there is yet another interesting new relationships, that of parents and offspring. Butler wrote these books almost 30 years ago, so she anticipated and described genetic engineering very accurately. She also wrote the great Kindred which is in the archives of this blog. Thanks Amy, for sharing this imaginative and compelling book.
What if you had access to a “Temporal Imaging Machine” and could send a male contraceptive back in time to a village in Austria in June 1888, to prevent the birth of Adolf Hitler? This would be a good outcome, right? What could go wrong? This inventive novel shows that the Law of Unintended Consequences is diabolically operative and so history should not be tampered with. Thanks Amy for this recommendation. Although sometimes Fry’s writing is too cute, this is a very entertaining book.
Not sure how I missed reading this classic science-fantasy book from 1962, but thanks to Amy, this serious omission has been rectified. This is a classic morality tale of good versus evil with two 13 year-old boys, a library as sanctuary, and a soul-destroying circus. How about this description of the circus carousel: “Its horses, antelopes, zebras, speared through their spines with brass javelins, having contorted as in death rictus, asking mercy with their fright—coloured eyes, seeking revenge with their panic-contorted teeth”. A dark fantastic masterpiece.
Sometimes a fantasy book written in the horror genre is just so appealing and Hill (Stephen King’s son) is a go-to author (previous recommendation for Heart Shaped Box). In this book, the title is from the license plate on a vintage 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith car, and of course stands for Nosferatu (German for vampire). This is an imaginative story with portals between the physical world and the mind, with child abductions and serial killings: the story is violent with many vivid descriptions of pain and quite a few deaths, so be warned. If you like (occasional) horror books, this is a cracking good read.
A variation on zombies: a fungus has created the “hungries”. Twenty years after the outbreak, there are very few survivors but this includes some children who have the infection but retain brain function, especially the ability to learn. Not surprisingly, these children are the subject of intensive scientific investigations in a secret army location. The best aspect of this book is the treatment of the sociology of an infection. A major part of the book details a journey with a disparate group of distrustful people who have to cooperate. Overall, a very interesting story.
An imaginative story about soul vampires who lust for immortality. Parts of this book are similar to The Bone Clocks, but the story is much shorter, more like a novella.
Amy notes: David reads so voraciously that I rarely get to say this: I read this book before him!
Butler’s imaginative novel, written in 1979, uses time travel to explore two very different times and places: 1976 LA and Maryland in the early 1800s. Specifically, an African-American woman is transported multiple times to a time and place of slavery. The book explores how behaviour is influenced by context, of how a modern woman is required (or coerced) to take actions that enable slavery because of complex relationships and situations. This book has strong and compelling story-telling.