Abstract

Abstract:

Transhumanism, or the idea that the boundaries of human subjectivity, bodies, and mortality can be pushed back—often by creating hybrid beings—has long been a staple of science fiction writing, a genre that can serve as a laboratory to explore new ways of relating to machines, animals, and artificial intelligence. But what can this literature tell us about our relationship to plants? This essay analyses three recent works of speculative fiction where these questions are central. Although Michel Houellebecq's La Possibilité d'une île offers the most radical transformation of the human body in genetically adopting plant characteristics, his attitude toward hybrid identity and different forms of being is fundamentally conservative. Marie Darrieussecq's Notre vie dans les forêts draws a parallel between modified human bodies and plants in a parable that highlights the link between exploitation of the vegetal world and exploitation of humans marginalized along gender and class lines. Finally, Pierre Ducrozet's L'Invention des corps offers plants as an alternative evolutionary model for the development of humans as a species and as a society, if we are to survive.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1836
Print ISSN
0098-9355
Pages
pp. 69-82
Launched on MUSE
2021-08-03
Open Access
No
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