Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek


I am reading Octavia Butler's last book, Fledgling, which I have explained to others as the under-age vampire sex novel. The protagonist of the novel is ten and she is, of course, the vampire having sex.

It is not Butler's best book. The vampire sex thing is somewhat ridiculous, and the ease in which she meets men and women and seduces them lacks, even for a vampire novel, is rather unbelievable. Still, I thought, as I read the book, there's something brave in the concept of the book by Butler--you have to expect that she would have realised that she would have met with some kind of resistance for putting such a controversial topic into the novel. Paedophilia is the new witch hunt topic: registered sex offenders acts, teachers who are continually in the news, Michael Jackson, and so on and so forth. We're a society no longer under threat from the Commies, but from sex. Gotta watch that sex. But when the book came out, I didn't really hear much about that angle. I remember a few reviews which said it wasn't really her best book, and certainly disappointing given her previous book before that was Parable of the Talents. I also seem to remember short interviews with Butler, who had died just before the book's release, saying that she wrote it in response to the writer's block she was having with a third parable book.

But still, where was this controversy?

Last night, about two hundred pages into the book, I flipped to the dust jacket and glanced at it:

"Shori is an apparently young amnesiac girl whose alarming needs and abilities lead her to a startling discovery: she is in fact a 53 year old vampire, genetically modified to walk in the light of the day."

How interesting, given that this is the reveal that takes place in the middle of the book, and successfully destroys the uncomfortable, strange sexuality that sits in the first half.

How interesting indeed.


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