• The Aesthetics of the Anthropocene: Posthumanism and Contemporary Science Fiction

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Shanghai Jaio Tong University, 2017-01-01)
      Abstract: This essay examines posthumanism through the lens of contemporary science fiction (SF), using two case studies: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy and Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. The essay argues that the Cartesian paradigm of the rational human subject as free agent has recently come under increasing strain, to the extent that it is becoming replaced by the posthuman. SF is a genre whose narratives can be planetary in scope, which situates our species in its ecological and material contexts, and which allows for technological alteration of the human without violating its own conventions; it is therefore an excellent vehicle for a Marxist analysis of the posthuman in contemporary culture.