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Summary

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way.

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race. Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi - the first ever born to a human mother.

As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what’s left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all.

©1989 Octavia E. Butler (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

One book too much but still a recommended read

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I liked the Xenogenesis saga but, with all due respect for a great writer such as Octavia E. Butler, I found that overall the story could have been told in 2 books.
I found certain parts a bit boring and that they did not really add to the experience.
Overall Xenogenesis is a great story and it's an absolute must for anyone who likes this type of sci-fi (sociological, anthropological with the theme of racism in the background.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Imago?

To learn of the Oankali and to discover how had the author imagined this alien species.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Anything that had to do with life on the spaceship

If this book were a film would you go see it?

absolutely and not just once

Any additional comments?

Read it, listen to it despite my critique above.

3 people found this helpful

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Coma inducing bore-fest. Irritatingly delivered.

Coma inducing bore-fest. Irritatingly delivered. Listening to this narrator my experience became a chore. Struggled to finish.

2 people found this helpful

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meh

Definitely could have left it at the last book. I wish it could have been about the Mars colony to be honest

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Excellent

I really enjoyed the whole series. A must read for Si-fi fans. Octavia is a genius and her imagined world is completely believable. She Demonstrates an in-depth understanding the human psychology .. The aliens are so much more loveable.

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Weakest of the trilogy

Overall I have enjoyed this trilogy, and Octavia Butler is a new author to me (and I will be reading more from her), however I found this to be the weakest of the trilogy. The first two books had a much stronger internal structure driving them forwards. I lost interest by the end of this, there was just too little plot, though I did listen to the end. Good narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Sci-fi fantasy of rescue - or is it genocide?

These books, following the lives of two, and then three, kinds of peoples, were written in the 1980s and as such could have dated dreadfully had they relied on the usual sci-fi gadgetry and paraphernalia. But they don't, they rely on humans, humanity, and the strangeness of aliens whose motivations are far removed from human understanding and whose relationship with biological entities is everything.
This is a sci-fi fantasy trilogy spanning an earthbound disaster through suspended lives, challenged notions of freedom and choice, benevolence and control, assistance and absorption. There are parallels with racism, fierce independence of identity morphing into rejection of difference; all the while centering on individual relationships and what the monumental shifts in perception of each other's powers and ways of thinking of themselves might mean for the future.
There are skirmishes but no battles. There are deaths but no gratuitous violence. There is sex but 'not as we know it'. And there is love, but again so uniquely manifested as to need re-learning.
Have the humans been saved from themselves, or are they willing victims of absorption by a superior alien species in a process of gentle genocide? I never quite decided.
Towards the end, came a short piece of dialogue which I wish had been the last line of the last page because it seems to say almost everything about this series of stories: 'Plant a town, prepare a place, people will come.'

1 person found this helpful

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A Beautiful Performance

I have just finished this trilogy, aside from it being a stunningly descriptive and scientifically loyal novel. What I appreciate most about this rendition is the flawless narration, attention characters personality and voice really makes listening to this a joy. The narrator has a real talent for making the characters come alive - 12/10

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating reflexions on the human nature

I love the world's and premises of the trilogy. Imago takes us through the challenges, concerns, desires and feelings of a contruct human growing into adulthood. I love being taken into the worlds beautifully imagined by Olivia Butler.
What fascinates me more about the book is the inevitable questioning of my own nature regarding the "human contradiction" and the comparisons with how other humans in the story feel and act.
I definitely recommend this book and firmly believe I will now read / hear all I can get my hands on by this author.

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Really wierd story premise

I did not love this series. The idea of ugly alians whose end goal of eating and destroying the earth was unsettling and did not resolve itself by the end of the series. The author did not give enough attention to the humans made sterile by the aliens or why it was the humans who had to leave Earth. The narration was not that good, often it was hard to grasp whose voice was speaking. Ultimately a most depressing series not worth more than 3 stars overall.

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Absolutely terrible

I had such high hopes for this trilogy, but the last 2 books have been horrible. Butler seems to think the reader (listener in this case) has Alzheimers and keeps repeating the same concepts over, and over, and over again. No humor, dialogue, interesting new things. Just: This is how they mate, in various combinations of gender, and this is how they do it, and this is how much they want it, and this is how they change before/after they mate, oh and they can heal, but it is a process like mating, oh and did I mention this is how humans and aliens mate and how it makes them feel? Honestly I believe it is more of a written out fetish at this point instead of a novel. There is nothing about friendships, any interaction OTHER then mating. Almost all of it is written out in the 'tell, don't show' format. This turns it into an inner monologue/lecture about the same subject (mating) over and over again.

It is so sad because the first half of the first book was really interesting and well written. Parellels with slavery could be drawn, interesting ideas about gender, about what consent and coersion is. But after that first half of book 1 it just dives of a steep cliff. I very much regret spending money on this.

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  • Lynnette
  • 16-10-16

Wow!

In all honesty, I struggled through the first few chapters of this book. But having listened to the first two books of the trilogy, I continued. Boy, was I glad that I did!
Once it got going it carried me away just like the others had. It was the perfect ending to the series.
I highly recommend this book! I would however, highly recommend that the trilogy be read in order.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Carolina
  • 15-01-15

What an amazing trilogy!

Originally posted at: A Girl That Likes Books

First impression

What an amazing trilogy. I am so glad this was my first contact with the work of Octavia E. Butler, because I completely loved every book and the series as a whole. In this book we encounter Jodahs, another son of Lilith and her Oankali family; a construct. For the first time, a construct that is turning into an ooloi, the first one to come from human parents. Once again, Butler explores how we deal with the unknown and the changes this brings to everyone including yourself.

Final thoughts

I think I have never encountered and author that makes me question what identity really is like Octavia E. Butler with this series. Not only to what a human is, but all those little labels that we gather through our lives: male, female, foreign, normal, etc. This third book is off course not exception, and it comes in the form of a coming-of-age for the main character, Jodhas, who as it turns out, won't be male or female, since the ooloi are neither. First we see its own struggle it has accepting what he is becoming and at the same trying to explain to others so they will not only understand this new step in the Oankali-Human relationship but also so they will accept it and hopefully embrace it.

Once again, as in the rest of the series, the subject of xenophobia is discussed at large, except that in this book, is not just humans who are afraid, the Oankali don't know what to do with Jodhas, and fear what its presence might mean. I loved that she (Butler) shows so beautifully how the unknown is always scary, independent of our background, but that at the same time, we don't need to be afraid. Acceptance is always present in this trilogy, sometimes reluctantly, but always there.

Jodhas has this ability to modify its appearance to make whoever is around more comfortable, to adapt to others and I found this extremely interesting, as it cannot help but do it, most of the time it wouldn't realize this was happening until someone else pointed this out. This is something so common in relationships, we change a bit, not to much that we lose ourselves, but enough to reflect our new situation. The problem of changing so much that our identity is lost is also addressed, but I don't want to discuss it too much, as I fear it might give some spoilers.

I particularly enjoyed the feeling of family portrayed in the book. While sometimes it would seem like a more complicated structure, at the end it is always a net of support, with all of the members being woven together by love, expectations and belonging.

The other thing that the trilogy addresses in an impressive way is sexuality, and what it might mean to a person (or to an Oankali). What it might mean to feel and identify as male, female, both or neither and how others that might be more accustomed to a more black-and-white perspective would respond to this perspective being challenged. I can only say that Octavia E. Butler was a genius being able to put herself in the skin of so many issues and most importantly being able to transmit these feelings in her writing.

I would recommend this series to anyone seeking a brilliant sci-fi series with a lot of social subtext.

10 people found this helpful

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  • ron myrick
  • 25-01-20

Ron Myrick

This series is awesome. I recently heard they are being made into a series. Where will air or stream I don’t know. I hope they do justice to the amazing world that Octavia has created. I wish I had discovered her before her passing. I love all of her works.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-09-19

a very long description of loneliness.

They are lonely. They want mates. and children. badly. That is all. That is pretty much the whole story.

They do not seem to be the least bit picky. The first human to cross the construct's path will do. Which is crazy. and predatory. and also boring.

Mating seems such a desperate imperative in the last book of the series that a description of this "hunger" is on every single page. or so I assume. (I only listened to the audio version). Regardless, It got old fast. I wanted the story to progress instead of hearing again how "hungry" the constructs were. The excessive descriptions really swallowed the story.

I liked the first book so much that I bought the next two halfway in. It was a great concept. I was loving it for a while, but in the end, It fizzled out.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Shawna
  • 27-02-14

Butler's Trilogy Captures You Until the End

What made the experience of listening to Imago the most enjoyable?

The whole series had this ominous but riveting tone.

What did you like best about this story?

That is a loaded question. Throughout the series I kept picturing the Oankali and Ooloi tentacles and the variations of them.

What three words best describe Barrett Aldrich’s performance?

Monotone but effective.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending.

Any additional comments?

In most stories that talk about the end of the human civilization, one tends to root for resurgence of the human race. Honestly towards the end of this series, I felt torn. The fact that Butler outlines the reasons why Oankali think we won't survive on our own may be spot on.

5 people found this helpful

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  • natalja
  • 08-12-15

Fascinating Tale

Butler wows us again with this incredibly timely epic into the depths of the human condition. With our current progress in human genetics, this tale gives narrative to a strange new realm in which many things are changing for our understanding of how out bodies and minds work. I enjoyed every bend of the journey. Thank you Ms. Butler.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 17-06-16

Good Ending to The Trilogy

This trilogy frames two major issues. The first is the self destructive nature of human life, and the second is our evolving relationship with our own bodies, especially issues surrounding gender. Butler gives us an earth already destroyed by humans in a final great war that leaves only a few survivors tottering on the brink of extinction. How are they to survive when the seeds of self-destruction are encoded in their own DNA? Their salvation comes from above in the form of aliens who collect and preserve humanity's remnants much as we preserve endangered species. Like us, they reintroduce humans into their former habitat, but in s doing so they intermix their own DNA with ours and create a new species with three different genders which all must come together nine order to reproduce. The story is really one of the seduction of human beings onto an evolutionary path that has a very different kind of future than we usually imagine for ourselves. Butler was a great writer, and the first book bowled me over. The second book challenged me to re-imagine he human condition, and the third swept me away into a very different vision of what we might become. Listeners who are looking for science fiction at its best, imaginative, challenging, and complex will love this trilogy and look for more of Octavia Butler's superb stories of about who we are and what we might become.

Aldrich Barrett was outstanding with the delivery of the story

16 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-12-19

eck

the narrator was great, but the story was... not to my taste. to be fair, I've had this issue since the first book, but... wanted to see what would happen, and was disappointed...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ralene Padilla
  • 11-12-19

phenomenal and unexpected

the whole concept of benevolent aliens is something I honestly never considered and Octavia's understanding of human behavior in face of something and contradictory it's definitely everything Octavia Butler and you dont have to black enjoy it!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Donald C. Lawson III
  • 01-03-16

Pretty Good Wrap-up

I was unable to develop an imersion of emotions to match those I felt from the first two books. Still, I really enjoyed the overall concepts. Only one "why didn't the aliens do..." which is rare in sci-fi.

2 people found this helpful