Monday, April 25, 2011
This is the latest (and final) book that I had to read for my vampire class. It has quite an interesting take on the original vampire myth, in that vampires and humans co-exist in symbiosis. Once a human is bitten by a vampire, neither can live without the other. It's quite an interesting concept, one that I wish could be expanded on more in more books. But that won't happen because Octavia Butler, the author, passed away a year after publishing this book. So we will never be able to delve into her world of vampires again.
So Fledgling starts out with Shori waking up and having no clue where she is. She is severely beaten and the houses around her are all burned to the ground. She hunts and heals quickly, and starts walking down a road where she meets Wright. Now Shori looks like an innocent 10 year old, but she's really a 53 year old vampire, as she finds out when she enters Wright's car. She craves his blood. The rest of the novel is Shori's quest to figure out what happened to her. Her whole family is murdered, and Shori herself is somewhat of a spectacle. Her DNA is half-human and half-Ina (the vampires call themselves Ina). Throughout the novel, she forms relationships and friendships and has to learn again what it means to be Ina.
While this sounds like a simple story on the surface, there really is a lot going on underneath the surface. Butler makes the reader think about a lot of different issues while reading this novel. Issues of race, religion, genetic engineering, relationships, morality, addiction, and slavery are all things that hoover underneath the surface of this novel. Like many other science fiction writers, Butler is exploring societal issues through the means of vampires. Through reading a fictitious story, we think about how it applies to our own society. What could Butler possibly be saying about any of the issues she's writing about? It's an interesting thing to think about while reading the book, while reading any book actually. Writers are influenced by the time period they're writing in, and this can be seen through their work. Take any novel, written in any time period, and you can analyze for what it could possibly be saying about that particular time period. We talked a lot about this in my vampire class, more specifically with just the vampire. But this can be applied to any types of literature written in any time period. Books are a window into different societies. And all you have to do is look beyond the surface.