Friday, October 21, 2011

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

I think you can see the trend of my reading lately. I don't normally read much horror, but Halloween makes for a good opportunity to shake my reading habits up a bit.

Fledgling is a title I've been meaning to read for quite a while. I'd read the opening chapter or two and found myself creeped out by the descriptions of her horrible injuries, of the process by which she healed, and of the obviously sexual connection of feeding considering our protagonist appears to be a ten year old child. Once I made the decision to read it all in one go, it did get... easier to read.

This is still some seriously creepy mind control/suggestibility/addiction going on here. And even though she is actually fifty-three, showing people sexually attracted to/having sex with someone with the body of a child squicks me out.

There's a lot of politics to this book: Ina (vampire) politics, gender politics, racial politics, species politics. You can really see how some of the discourse of human racial politics is used to inform the anti-human (and in some cases, also anti-POC) prejudices of the Ina. She's weak and volatile if she shows emotion, unnaturally cold and brutal if she doesn't. She needs to be turned over to someone else's care "for her own good" as she obviously can't take care of herself (this from someone who took away all of her support). She is told that she must out-Ina the Ina: not speak out, not attack, not circumvent the law that her attackers chose to ignore. For all that the Ina creep me out, I still want to hug Shori and tell her I support her.

So. Creepy book. Well-written book. Book I'm glad I've read. I think I'll hunt up some more Butler now. And maybe re-read Sunshine.

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