Running in a Cage

Bloodchild traces Gan’s journey of finding out the harsh realities of the society in which he lives. In this society, terrans are forced to live under a Tlic’s control and ownership. Terrans are used as host animals for the Terrans to reproduce. For this process to work, Tlic eggs are implanted into a Terran until they grow into grubs and until the grubs destroy the host Terran until it cannot survive any longer while supporting the grubs. Once they had grown the right amount, a Tlic would cut open the Terran in order to receive its grubs. If any grubs were left in the Terran, it would kill the Terran by eating it from the inside. At best, the Terran would be sewn up, survive, and be forced to go through more implantations in the future. In order to get the most out of every Terran, Tlics encouraged their Terrans to take life-lengthening drugs. Eventually Gan unravels the social norms of his society and realizes that he should have autonomy over his own body. He still is implanted with T’Gatoi’s eggs though in order to save his younger sibling, Xuan Hoa.

Although Bloodchild is a science-fiction story, the premise of using humans as host animals is not far from reality in many parts of the modern world. The article, “In India, a rise in surrogate births for West” sheds light on increasingly common surrogacy programs in which western, wealthy women enter into surrogacy contracts with Indian women. These Indian women who chose this option actually don’t have much have a choice. They often struggle to provide for themselves and their families and have no other ways to make a decent income. Sometimes they are pushed to act as a surrogate by their husbands who want more income. Agents only concerned with their own profits lure women into contracts that they don’t fully comprehend. The character Gan in Bloodchild was similarly manipulated into thinking he chose to be a surrogate. In Gan’s case, he is tricked by T’Gatoi’s supposed friendship with him. In the Indian womens’ case, they are forced into the position of surrogate because of their impoverished state and do not realize they are being taken advantage of and being paid five to six times less than an American surrogate would commonly be paid. Both real and fictional stories show the horrors of being exploited for the purpose of reproduction.



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