"Blood Child" by Octavia E. Butler is a science fiction short story based around an alien world run by a race of insect like creatures called the Tlic who use humans as hosts to lay eggs inside them to reproduce. The story focuses on the relationship a young man named Gan, whose family has been “adopted”, has with T’Gatoi a high ranking female with the Tlic government.
An alien world in the near future that human’s fled to is the backdrop of the story. T’Gatoi has adopted Gan’s family in the hopes of using him as host for her eggs in the near future. The story focus on Gan, who also narrates, as he comes to terms with the relationship between him and T’Gatoi as well as the political and social implications of using humans as host for interspecies breeding. Themes such as slavery, male pregnancy and interspecies love are some of the topics touched on in the story. The vivid descriptions of the actual breeding process are graphic yet informative giving intricate detail of the physical and emotional effects this cycle has on their human host.
THEMES OF THE STORY
There are different viewpoints one could develop after reading this story; is it about slavery? The Tlic are the higher beings in the story however humans are essential for their breeding habits and the survival of their race. Gan admits T’Gatoi “protects” his family from being exploited by the Tlic government which shows readers that not all adopted families might be treated as respectfully as his. Is this an interspecies love story, quite possibly? The relationship Gan describes with T’Gatoi borders around admiration, affection and closeness. Despite Gan witnessing the violent horrors of hatched larva being birthed from a host’s stomach he still questions whether he wants that fate or not with T’Gatoi. However, to the common eye this story might simply carry the theme of male pregnancy. Men are the primary host of the Tlic’s eggs for political reasoning so women can be left to birth more humans for the Tlic’s to reproduce with.
- Pages: 12
- Word Count: 7,064
- Published: 1985
- Octavia E. Butler was one of the few successful African-American women authors in the Science Fiction genre. "Blood Child" won Butler a 1985 Hugo Award, 1985 Locus Award, 1984 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and a 1985 Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novellete.
WHERE TO FIND THIS STORY
- Bloodchild and Other Stories: Second Edition
- Read the short story "Blood Child" for free at the Washington Post web site.