Exploring the Limits of the Human through Science Fiction by Gerald Alva Miller Jr.

By Gerald Alva Miller Jr.

Via its engagement with other forms of texts, Exploring the bounds of the Human via technology Fiction represents a brand new method of coming near near either technological know-how fiction and important thought, and its makes use of either to query what it ability to be human in electronic period.

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Instead of depicting gender’s undoing as the foundation for a truly utopian space, Delany’s novel imagines how, in the absence of prescriptive norms, the “matrix of intelligibility” (Butler’s term for the grid of socio-cultural forces that governs the recognition of subjects) will merely transform itself into one that, instead of prescribing behavior, describes it in a manner so complex and precise that it can predict subject behavior on a global scale (Trouble 24). Anachronistically, Delany’s novel transfers the tenets of Butler’s gender theory into the premises of a fictional world, but the utopian promises of the theory, especially the suppression of disciplinary constraints, devolves into a society of total control that eliminates the subject’s capacity to experience desire.

As the main character Offred learns to enjoy sex with a lover of her choice, the novel begins to reflect not just upon this feminist nightmare but also upon the way women are subjugated in our own world. In contrast to this, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) is set on a planet named Gethen (or Winter) where biological sexes as we know them do not exist. There are no males VARIABLES OF THE HUMAN 35 or females—genders and sexual desires occur only once during each monthly cycle.

Paul Ricoeur’s theory of the narrative self argues that we function like characters in a story: “characters in plays and novels are humans like us who think, speak, act, and suffer as we do” (Oneself 150). Of course, these literary characters are not “real,” but as Ricoeur points out, our identities represent a mix of personal history and fiction: As for the notion of the narrative unity of a life, it must be seen as an unstable mixture of fabulation and actual experience. It is precisely because of the elusive character of real life that we need the help of fiction to organize life retrospectively, after the fact, prepared to take as provisional and open to revision any figure of emplotment borrowed from fiction or from history.

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