Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What it means to be human

Xenogenesis is an unsettling work even though it's concern is the same as Kindred - what makes us human. In Kindred, the milieu was the adjustment a modern black woman would have being returned to slave time; in Xenogenesis, the setting is a post-apocalyptic planet repopulated by aliens who genetically modify humans and cross-breed them. As in Kindred, the protagonist had to adapt to her lose of freedom, but her the loss is even more invasive - she's genetically modified, and in the creepiest scenes of the first book, she has virtual group sex with another human and an alien. The bonding is so intense that even when the humans revolt, they will not attack the alien they have mated with, but only another alien. Additionally, the humans are somehow modified so that their touch to each other is repulsive after their virtual group sex.

The first book ends with most of the re-trained humans sent back to earth, while our auto-biographical Judas Goat character has to remain on the ship to train other awoken humans.

Truly an unsettling work - in the complementary sense of the word.

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