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Biopunk Dystopias Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction$
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Lars Schmeink

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383766

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383766.001.0001

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date: 19 December 2018

The Anthropocene, the Posthuman, and the Animal

The Anthropocene, the Posthuman, and the Animal

(p.71) 3 The Anthropocene, the Posthuman, and the Animal
Biopunk Dystopias Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction

Lars Schmeink

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 3 analyzes two exemplary literary works dealing with the creation of new posthuman species as a consequence of contemporary consumer society. With liquid modernity commodifying all aspects of life, the logical extrapolation, made possible by genetic science rapidly closing the gap in the dimension of science-fictional possibility, is the commodification of all life itself, including the human. Margaret Atwood and Paolo Bacigalupi discuss future worlds that build upon tendencies of an extreme consumer society and the sea change of human impact in the anthropocene. Both story cycles enhance present dystopian tendencies of liquid modernity to explore the consequences of the hypercapitalist commodification of life and its effect on human subjectivity. In both story worlds, zoe is reduced to its mechanical, material quality and appropriated for consumption, manifest expressly in the changing status of the human into the inhuman, non-human, and posthuman. The chapter discusses this shift in the perception of the human and the consequences of posthuman social development. Most importantly though, in exploring the posthuman as an alternative form of communal and social practice, both literary works provide for a eutopian moment in the dystopian imagination – allowing a hybrid, changing and multiple posthuman perspective to emerge.

Keywords:   Posthuman, Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Anthropocene, Genetic engineering, Utopian hope, Consumer society

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