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Novum DecayThis article springs from the claim that representations of mundane human life are just as prominent as nova in contemporary sf, and that through their generative interplay the genre figures a transient dreamscape for visitation by the (post)human mind, via which the reader gains an expanded perception of not only their own empirical environment, but also of posthuman possibility. The presence of the quotidian in sf confirms the capacity of the (post)human mind to transcend the presumptions of traditional humanism. By deconstructing the rhetorical role of nova in Duncan Jones’s Source Code (2011), I demonstrate that the novel content of sf fades intratextually, just as nova within the genre tend towards entropy intertextually; an accumulative process I term novum decay.
Review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and LiteratureBook review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and Literature, ed. Douglas A. Vakoch (Routledge, 2021, 232pp, £120).
Superintelligence and Mental Anxiety from Mary Shelley to Ted ChiangMary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the earliest depictions of augmented intelligence; within the creature, we witness a very human intelligence that bases its understanding of the world on the convergence of human senses and human thought, yet one that presents these concepts in the uncanny shade of the doppelganger. In this portrayal, there is an anxiety that creeps in to the creature’s understanding of the world and its own subjectivity. It is based on language acquisition and knowledge. Once the creature becomes not only sentient, but intelligent, he begins to feel the existential weight of reality in a way that prefigures characters in subsequent Science Fiction, as well as presciently acknowledging recent pathological and scientific studies into the connection between mental health and intellect.