Difference, identification, evolution: posthumanism as paradigmatic shift in contemporary speculative fiction
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
iv, 96 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Humanities
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This study is an initial attempt to investigate the ways that posthumanism manifests within three works of contemporary speculative fiction: Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (2010), Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005) and Richard Powers's Galatea 2.2 (1995). Posthumanism seeks to overturn the assumptions of liberal humanism, which places "the human" as the central, most important, and possibly only ethical subject in order to recognize inhuman beings-whether they be animal, clone, or artificial intelligence-as legitimate ethical subjects. At the same time, it recognizes that human beings and technology are intimately bound together. Therefore, it is impossible to "escape" the human through technological culture (as transhumanism might suggest) or to "return to nature" by eschewing technology and culture altogether. Each of these three works addresses these posthumanist assertions, employing various narrative techniques to reinforce both the ethical status of non-humans and the embedded nature of human technological culture.