To be entirely honest, “Bloodchild”, by Octavia Butler, horrified me. It managed to combine several of the things that freak me out, like worms and insects and parasites and people being cut open and then stitched back shut, into one terrifying story. However, to continue being entirely honest, I was also extremely intrigued by the metaphors it contained and the messages it expressed.
For starters, men were pregnant for the second week of readings in a row. Not only that, but their pregnancy was portrayed in a completely terrible-looking way, which really made me as a reader look at normal female pregnancy in an entirely different, but completely legitimate, way. The characters played roles from there that at times got very weird, but also extremely interesting. The narrater, Gan, and the alien T'Gatoi had a very strange relationship that set them as some kind of strange mix of mother and son, owner and property, and lovers. One description of them was given as T'Gatoi as the boyfriend or husband to Gan's pregnant girlfriend or wife, demanding to know if he is loved and if he will be taken care of as he carries T'Gatoi's children.
Relationships became an important part of this story to me, not just between characters but also regarding the alien Tlic's and the humans' coexistence. It was mentioned in the story how the humans had been mistreated in the past, but something had forced the Tlic to take better care of them, in order to put them to better use. While Gan clearly comes off as T'Gatoi's property, it is also made clear by the end that his compliance and happiness are important to her, and then he is not powerless in their relationship.
This was a weird story with some weird relationships and weird ideas. That said, it also contained some ideas that I really felt interested and even in agreement with. So, in short, the reading freaked me out quite a bit, but the discussion that followed completely captivated me.