This essay examines restrictions on and opportunities for agency in Fledgling, Octavia Butler's 2005 science fiction vampire novel. Reading agency through three relational modes—belonging, trauma, and consensual nonconsent—it argues that Fledgling helps us critically consider agency in a queer, posthumanist context. Butler's vampires become figures through which the text highlights conflicting desires (for independence and dependence, autonomy and belonging) that flow through the seemingly unified modern subject. This novel reinforces feminist and queer critiques of humanist notions of agency while allowing that some version of agency does survive for the postmodern subject within embodied and relational experiences of subjectivity.

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