15/17 Bloodchild

By Octavia Butler

I saw this on your Kindle, and I expect you’ve read it as well. It’s a short story, and I think it sometimes appears in a collection – but the one you had just had it as a single story, so that’s the version I read as well.

I quite enjoyed this story. As you well know, it involves humans and an unknown alien species, and they have a deal such that every human family has to have one child impregnated by the aliens, and this human child carries their babies.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the background of this book as well, and I realised that it’s a great example of death of the author. Butler apparently wrote this book with the intention of showing this symbiotic, almost loving, relationship between two species – with this human boy (because it is male impregnation) coming to love the babies forced on him by another kind. But lots of critiques have taken it to be a metaphor of slavery; this boy is expected to love, and is considered privileged to have, a child by another, alien race, just like black slave women were expected to bear and love the children of their alien oppressors. Butler completely refutes this interpretation of her story, but I actually think it’s a lot more powerful than anything she might have originally intended it to be. I also think it’s well done because you have an entire new way of life and a new dimension and new extraterrestrial beings, and she manages to do this in a few pages?

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15/17 Bloodchild

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