by Logan D. A. Williams
I'm an engineer and social scientist that loves science fiction. My favorite authors as a child were Octavia Butler and Anne McCaffrey. Octavia Butler's Dawn, I originally took off of the shelf in my public library because it had my name in the title. Don't judge me! (Wait, how did you peruse the spines of hardcover books as a teenager?) Subsequently, Dawn became this Black woman's favorite book. A win-win-win for title, character and content as far as I was concerned! Apparently, I had good taste: Octavia Butler was a Black American woman who won Hugo and Nebula Awards and was the first science fiction author to win a MacArthur genius grant. Anne McCaffrey was an Irish-American who was the first woman to win Hugo and Nebula Awards. Both were inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
When reading Dawn you will likely find yourself responding along a spectrum from rejecting to embracing the strangeness. Way back in the 1990s, I had a similar response to what Kevin describes for Goodreads in 2017, "I've never really read anything like this before. It had some of the most alien aliens I've ever come across, and it spends a lot of time exp[l]oring their physiology, gender, sexuality, and society, all parts that I really enjoyed. The whole thing is very unnerving, blunt, and extremely uncomfortable."