1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The Oankali Choice.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Jul 11, 2009.

    In Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood (aka Xenogenesis) which consists of the books Dawn, Imago, and Adulthood Rights, the few remaining traces of a post nuclear war humanity are saved by a race of aliens called Oankali. All Oankali technology is biological. Everything they need, they grow, to include their giant space ships.

    The Oankali keep the humans in suspended animation for hundreds of years while they set about fixing the Earth. They return it to a veritable Garden of Eden. No trace that humans had lived there remain. The Oankali plan to return the sleeping humans to the Earth to begin again.

    There is a price.

    The Oankali are natural genetic engineers. One of their three sexes, the ooloi, is the one who takes genetic material from the male and the female and creates a new life within its womb-like organ known as yashi. The humans who are awoken from hybernation and who are to return to the Earth are initially given two choices:

    1) Live very long (3 - 4 times the normal human lifespan), healthy lives without any chance to have children again. You have already been sterilized while you were in hybernation. The Oankali will offer you no resistance if this is your choice, but neither will they help you. Remember, there is now zero human technology on the Earth. Zero.

    Or….

    2) Live very long (3 - 4 times the normal human lifespan), healthy lives in families that consist of a human male and female, an Oankali male and female, and an Oankali ooloi. Have as many children as you like, knowing that these children will always be the creation of four parents within the ooloi. Although there is still no human technology to speak of, Oankali bio-tech is very much at your disposal.


    Do you hold to human solidarity knowing that your generation is the last and only of its kind, or do you go with the Oankali knowing that humanity will continue, but only in a very different form?

    Remember, you as one of the humans the Oankali will return to the Earth are a survivor of the nuclear war and remember very well the Earth, just as it is right now, today.
     
  2. LipMedex
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    LipMedex New Member

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    I'd go for the first choice; because it is not humanity if a new type of it is created... it's just a different race. All you would be doing with choice 2 would slowly be destroying the pure human race really, and since we've been around for so long, I'd think I'd want to preserve it as best I could...




    Ally
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well...if we choose option one, eventually humanity will just completely die out, won't it? So at least if you go with option two there will be sort of an evolved version of humanity around.

    I would pick option two. The human species may be changing by involving the Oankali in their creation, but at least it's continuing in some form, rather than eventually just completely disappearing.
     
  4. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I'd have to go for option 2 simply because 1 would simply be a death sentence for humanity. Though once human understanding of the alien tech reached a certain level you'd have to wonder if people wouldn't try and "change" the arrangement.
     
  5. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    Option two. Hey, they may even improve, why not? This will also help evolution as well. Besides, who am I to deny the existence of an entirely new race, one that might not destroy itself in a nuclear war?
     
  6. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I am for option one. Humans can adapt to conditions without technology, and create thier own. I may be cold and callous, but I wouldnt feel it my responsiblity to keep the human race alive, especially since they wouldnt truly be humans. Maybe the humans would evolve over that longer period of life and find new ways to procreate. Yes, they were sterilized, but as we've seen in the animal kingdom, in needs of survival, miracles happen and species find ways to spawn.
     
  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Or, more likely, they die out entirely.

    I'm for option 2....celebrate humanity by extending its life in another form...
     
  8. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Option 2. Definitely. I'm not particularly interested in preserving humanity anyway, and it doesnt look like there's actually choice to preserve it, right? I'm just interested in pursuing the best life has to offer me, and living without any kind of technology or help as a crutch? I'd die anyway, as a member of the Millenium Generation.

    Besides, I'm interested in the Oankali. :)
     
  9. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    That...is not how evolution works. At all. *eye twitch*

    I'd go for option two, what am I going to do in an empty planet with a bunch of other nuclear refugees? Human culture (really, all that matters. the exact genetic composition of a human is irrelevant) can be propagated beyond the "extinction" of the human race, so we're not really losing anything that we hadn't already lost.
     
  10. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    Well, considering this is a fantasy scenerio, then yes, it could happen. That is what I meant.
     
  11. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    I would go with option two. What's to gain by being stubborn? And if everyone went with option one, wouldn't the Oankali have ultimately wasted their time in trying to save our race?

    My only question is, would the offspring of this final human generation be able to breed without the aid from Oankali male and female parents? Or would the human line become more and more diluted with each generation? Because if that's the case, then there's not a whole lot of difference between the two scenarios in the long run.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    How it went in the original story-line.

    I didn't want to go too much into detail as to the particulars of the original story-line because I wanted maximum amplitude of thought process from the responding forum members.

    Freshmaker has asked a few key questions which are central to the way things played out in Ms. Butler's original work.

    First, to answer the primary question to Fresh's post, the offspring of the Human/Oankali families would always thereafter have the ooloi as part of their reproductive process. Only in the first generation families would there be five parents (2 pure humans and 3 pure Oankali if you include the ooloi.) After that there would only be a male hybrid a female hybrid and an ooloi hybrid.

    In Ms. Butler's story line, the partition of three plays a central roll. Although the Oankali are natural, innate genetic engineers, every time they encounter a new species with which to meld, there is always a portion of the Oankali population that will not participate in "the trade," a portion that does participate but does so away from the trade partner’s home planet, and a portion that participates and remains on the trade partner’s home planet.

    Anyway, just as some others have mentioned about life always finding a way, in the story line, the humans who choose not to participate in the trade eventually do find one single human female who was pregnant during the rescue by the Oanklai and she was never sterilized. She has a son who is also fertile. The sterile humans breed mother back to son and so on and so forth, ending in a small population of fertile but genetically damaged individuals all harking back to The Mother and her son.

    The very first of the ooloi hybrids argues for the human’s right to have a portion of their population, just like the Oankali has, that can continue on, fertile, but not participating in “the trade.”

    The reason that the Oankali never wished to do this for the humans is that they believed (although as far as the Oankali are concerned it is not a belief but a knowledge written in the human genome) that humans have a particular set of mismatched traits that are guaranteed to doom them in the long run to a repeat of self destruction. (Remember that this whole thing takes place after a nuclear world war.)

    Hierarchal social organization vs intelligence.

    Since intelligence is the newer of the traits, it will always serve our tendency to want to dominate one another and will, in the end, always lead to destruction. The Oankali, who are interested only the continuation of life viewed leaving humans to their own devices, knowing they would eventually destroy themselves again, as deeply wrong. As close to a sin as the Oankali culture could conceive.

    The little ooloi hybrid argues successfully and manages to talk the rest of the Oankali population into helping start a new colony of just humans on Mars. Earth is not an option for this colony because the Oanklai biotech will eventually consume the entire planet except for its metallic core and become a number of new Oankali ships ready to go exploring and start the process over again elsewhere with new trade partners.

    /ridiculously long tangent. :D
     

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