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Fledgling
By Octavia Butler

Discussed June 2007

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Questions

  1. We'll start with the traditional question - did you enjoy this book overall? Why or why not?
  2. The story is essentially told in three chunks - Shori's awakening/rebirth; the "Shori and company on the run" section; and the trial. Did you enjoy any section(s) more or less than the others? Did you find the mix a positive or detracting aspect of the book?
  3. What did you think of the use of Shori - the alien among aliens - as primary character? Did her lack of knowledge of both human and Ina society add or detract from the story? Was she a trustworthy narrator for the reader?
  4. This book both pays homage to and takes a different approach to the idea of vampirism. What did you think of Butler's somewhat "scientific" approach to vampires? How did it compare to other vampire stories you've read/seen?
  5. Race plays an important role in Fledgling. What did Butler seem to be saying *directly* about human racial issues? How well did she use the Ina to explore issues of racial prejudice?
  6. This book was nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards when it first came out and had perhaps the most significant GLBT content of any of Butler's works. What did you think of the GLBT content in the story? Was it positive?
  7. Shori's age, both her perceived age and her real age, were presented in a way that implied they were very important to the story. Were they? How did Shori's age affect your perceptions of her and those around her?
  8. There are a number of character discussions about consent, power, symbiosis and the nature of relationships. Did you come to any personal conclusions about the nature of the relationships between Ina and humans? Were they truly consensual? Were they truly symbiotic? How did the relationship between Ina and human affect your perceptions of Wright?
  9. As with pretty much any Butler work, Fledgling explores and prods at the concept of relationships - how relationships form, what sustains them, how they affect how the world sees individuals. What does Butler seem to be saying about relationships?
  10. Butler also frequently plays with alternative social/family structures, and does so here in Fledgling. What did you think of her ideas on community and family?
  11. Have you read any other works by Butler? If so, how do you think Fledgling compared? Are there any particular Butler works that came to mind reading Fledgling? Are there particular Butler works you'd recommend?
  12. Could this be made into a movie? Why or why not?
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