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Universal Science Fiction

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  1. Introduction
  2. Ways in which Butler gears this story towards a female audience
  3. The imagery
  4. The blood ritual
  5. Traditionally male area of interest

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. [...]

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