According to Jane Donawerth in Frankenstein's Daughters, the only way for women to write science fiction, is for them to change the rules. This is certainly the case with Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild". In Butler's Nebula award winning short story, Butler tells the tale of Gan, a young boy who has been raised to bear the children of a controlling alien species. Although the subject of human slavery and surrogate mothers is nothing new to science fiction, men bearing children is. If you look at "Bloodchild" through Donawerth's eyes, you can see the many changes that Butler had to make to ensure her story would be enticing enough for the average science fiction reader.
[...] Gan's passive role in the act suggests a traditionally female part in sex. He lays there and only moves when he feels uncomfortable. Another analysis of the act shows a strong link to the act of rape. As Helford states, although Gan agrees to the act, his passivity leads one to think of the act as rape. Add to this the fact that the first thing T'Gatoi does with Gan is drug him with her stinger, rape becomes a much more prominent theme. [...]
[...] Since the primary science fiction audience is male, Butler also tailors her book towards them. Although males may on occasion partake in a little sentimentality, and many men today enjoy a little feminist literature, traditionally guys just want some blood and gore in their material. Spectacularly, Butler tastefully adds a little blood and gore into the mix without compromising her story. During the blood ritual, Butler describes in glorious detail the scene that Gan must watch. First, T'Gatoi cuts the man's abdomen open, and licks the blood that seeps out to slow the bleeding. [...]
[...] Finally, the lead character in the story is male. Although Gan possesses some very feminine traits, science fiction stories stereotypically star a male lead. This in itself may not be enough to capture the normal male science fiction reader's attention, but coupled with the gore factor, and the great big bug-like aliens, there is more than enough material to satisfy the male science fiction fan. Butler, with her incredible writing skill, successfully blends traditionally feminine qualities with traditionally male qualities to not [...]
[...] visiting with his family. Early on the reader notices that Gan's Mother, Lien, is wary of T'Gatoi, even though the alien seems to be on friendly terms with her. While T'Gatoi is dealing with Gan's mother in the only way she knows how, by stinging Lien with her tail giving her a narcotic buzz, a disturbance is noticed outside. T'Gatoi flows from the house, and returns carrying a human male that she refers to as N'Tlic. She lays the man down and explains that he needs immediate care. [...]
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