Human-Tlic History and the Significance of the Rifle in “Bloodchild”

In “Bloodchild,” we are to assume that there was a conflict on planet Earth which forced many humans out to probably other planets, one of them being occupied by an alien species of giant centipede called Tlic. The Tlic have had their fair share of problems too on their home planet. They are a parasitic species, needing a host animal to bear their young and reproduce for them. They used the wild animals on their planet as hosts for the longest time, but then the animals learned to eat the Tlic larvae and hinder the chances of the reproduction process from actually happening successfully. Lucky for them, the humans, coming as refugees from Earth, are the perfect host but it will not be easy to convince them of that role, so they fought. The technologically and physically superior aliens won the war and now the human species is forced to bear the young of the Tlic and are forced to live in reserves.

Gan and her family live on one of these reserves, and the second amendment does not exist on these lands. Gan’s dad, who actually was regarded a model citizen by the aliens, hid a rifle that was used in the war, showing how even for him, personal freedom was a necessary thing, as it should be for everyone. Gan takes out this rifle and dreams of killing T’Gatoi at first but soon, when he realizes his powerlessness and how he is nothing but an animal in this society, Gan turns the gun onto himself. It becomes clear to him that he will probably die doing his societal duty of bearing Tlic young like we can assume his father did and that his life is pointless.

However, this gun later gives him a sense of power over T’Gatoi and the Tlic species in general. Killing himself with it does show independence from the Tlic but the way he speaks to T’Gatoi and forces her to keep the gun in the house is even more significant. Gan orders T’Gatoi, “leave it here! If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner!” (26) The rifle Gan’s father hid forces T’Gatoi to see Gan as more of a partner than of a subject, or even object for that matter.

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