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Abstract

In her article "The Posthuman Ethos in Cyberpunk Science Fiction" María Goicoechea explores the posthuman tendencies of Anglo-American popular culture as they are manifested in the representations of the cyborgs, clones, and artificial intelligences that populate cyberpunk science fiction. Choosing the figure of the cyborg as the central myth of cyberculture, Goicoechea exposes the underlying tensions and contradictions present in cyberpunk prescient visions of humanity's evolution. Goicoechea reviews the variety of contradictory meanings that have been sedimented over this hybrid creature, using as ideological framework the digital narratives of "Technoromanticism" and "Cybergothic," respectively the dominant and the countercultural trend inside cyberculture. Goicoechea postulates that although cyberpunk narratives have been associated traditionally with the subversiveness and rebelliousness of the more dystopian Cybergothic, they are also prey to the mesmerizing promises of the technoromantics. Goicoechea argues that the discourses of Technoromanticism and Cybergothic run parallel in many of the cyberpunk novels explored, provoking a schizoid and paranoid tunnel vision in characters and readers alike. Cyberpunk visions coincide in diagnosing the cyborg with the illness of Narcissus. In their quest for immortality, humans that have fused too intimately with the machine seem propelled towards a solipsistic free fall, a movement which tries to avoid any form of ideology but which entraps them instead in their own contradictory impulses for control and freedom.

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