Monday, 7 June 2010
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
The last book in the NTTBG was Fledgling by the late Octavia Butler. I was looking forward to this one firstly because it was a vampire book (I cannot resist these) and secondly because it was written by a female science fiction writer. Unfortunately I was very disappointed by this book.
It seems a writer cannot write a vampire book these days without twisting the genre in someway in order to make it their own. What did Butler do? Well the Vampires in her book do not live forever, just a very long time. They do need human blood to survive but only a small amount at a time meaning that they don’t kill their victims and taking blood is extremely pleasurable for the human. In order to survive a vampire will have around 6-8 humans who live with them and act as personal blood banks each taking it in turns to give them blood/sex whatever. The bond between the vampire and these humans is apparently so strong that if one of the humans dies the vampire is practically crippled by the pain this brings.
The book follows ‘Shori’ a female vampire who has been genetically modified to make her black and therefore more comfortable in sunlight. She wakes in a forest suffering from amnesia and has to firstly find out who and what she is, how to survive, where to find others like her and who wants to kill her.
I had quite a few problems with this book. Firstly although Shori is technically 53 years old, she only looks about 12 so when she has sex with her human companion it’s a bit disturbing to read. It’s never made clear if the human in question wants to have sex with her because they share some kind of blood bond or if he finds young girls sexually attractive as they go at it quite soon after meeting.
Most of the book is spent wittering on needlessly about the complicated lifestyle of Butler’s vampires while ‘Shori’ finds out about her vampire nature and the ways of her human companions. It got boring and very very silly. Also the fact that Shori is black and is genetically engineered are themes that in my opinion were not fully explored, I feel that Butler really missed a good opportunity here. I did however finish this book because the writing itself was not bad and I think I will try this author again as she seems to be a very popular writer.
I just think I miss the good old days of Anne Rice, when Vampires were non sexual creatures, could not go out in daylight, slept in coffins and who saw most humans as food. Authors seem to want to humanise vampires but in order to do so they have to either skirt around the issue of their diet or change it completely. I realise this could become a whole other post but I miss the old ‘monsters’ which is really what they are.
Posted by Jess