Alien Bodies and a Queer Future: Sexual Revision in Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild" and James Tiptree, Jr.'s "With Delicate Mad Hands."

Thibodeau, Amanda
July 2012
Science Fiction Studies;Jul2012, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p262
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
In this essay, I employ recent queer theory and queer science-fiction criticism to argue that the alien body can be used to represent utopian ideals of queerness and to challenge heteronormativity and its related systems of power. I discuss the short stories "Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler and "With Delicate Mad Hands" by James Tiptree, Jr., as two texts that imagine alternate worlds and intimacies in order to critique sex/gender systems in various ways. I argue that these texts queer the alien body and the alien/human relationship, and by doing so also queer the very impulse for space exploration. The generic conventions of space exploration--layered by race, imperialism, and desire--are subverted by these authors to reveal instead a utopian desire for queer futurity.


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