, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 242-259,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Feb 2012

“I’m Glad I was Designed”: Un/Doing Gender and Class in Susan Price’s “Odin Trilogy”


Susan Price’s “Odin Trilogy” (2005–2008) is a juvenile science fiction series that depicts a future where class relations have become polarised due to late capitalist and technological developments and where ways of doing gender continue to be strongly connected with class. The society in the novels is based on slavery: people are either Freewomen/Freemen or bonders. Here wealth and genetic engineering regulate normative ways of doing gender and class and define borders between humanity and inhumanity. By drawing on recent feminist theory and queer theorisations of Butler (2004) and Halberstam (2005), I will examine gender and class as both material and performative aspects of identity that are “un/done” in relation to heteronormative life trajectories. I focus on the two female protagonists and their classic role reversal: one escapes slavery while the other is forced to become a bonder. The classic scenario becomes more complicated when the girls escape together to Mars and start a new life there as a queer couple. The girls’ “queer life trajectories” (Halberstam) challenge normative ways of doing gender and class and open up possibilities for reading Price’s trilogy as a critique of neoliberalist and postfeminist discourses of gender, class, identity and choice.

Dr Sanna Lehtonen completed her joint PhD in English language and literature at the University of Jyväskylä and Macquarie University in 2010. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University, in a project called “Transformations of the Public Space” where she examines the reception of adult and children’s literature in social media. She is also finishing a book on girlhood, invisibility and age-shifting in children’s fantasy (forthcoming from McFarland).