In a time of protracted economic crisis, failing political systems, and impending environmental collapse, one strand in our collective cultural myth of Progress – the technological – remains vibrantly intact, surging into the future at ramming speed. Amid the seemingly exponential proliferation of machine intelligence and network connectivity, and the increasingly portentous implications of emerging nanotechnology, futurists and fabulists look to an imminent historical threshold whereupon the nature of human existence will be radically and irrevocably transformed. The Singularity, it is supposed, can be no more than a few years off; indeed, some believe it has already begun. Technological Singularity – a trope conceived in science fiction and subsequently adopted throughout technocultural discourse and beyond – is the primary site of interpenetration between technoscientific and science-fictional figurations of the future, a territory where longstanding binary oppositions between science and fiction, and between present and future, are rapidly dissolving. In this groundbreaking volume, the first to mount a sustained and wide-ranging critical treatment of Singularity as a subject for theory and cultural studies, Raulerson draws SF texts into a complex dialogue with contemporary digital culture, transhumanist movements, political and economic theory, consumer gadgetry, gaming, and related vectors of high-tech postmodernity. In theorizing Singularity as a metaphorical construct lending shape to a range of millennial anxieties and aspirations, Singularities also makes the case for a recent and little-understood subgeneric formation – postcyberpunk SF – as a cohesive body of work, engaged in a shared literary project that is simultaneously shaping, and shaped by, purportedly nonfictional technoscientific discourses.
Dazzling ideas come flying in quick succession on each page of this manuscript, and the writing itself is absolutely delightful. It promises to become a highly regarded work in science fiction studies, science and technology studies, and cultural studies.
Colin Milburn, UCD
Elegant, wry, and profoundly topical, Joshua Raulerson’s Singularities is a masterful study of the many connections between postcyberpunk science fiction and posthumanist culture. Examining the historical, philosophical, political and economic dimensions of our most modern technological myth, Raulerson describes how deeply our technology-saturated world is itself saturated by science fiction. If a work of sophisticated literary criticism can be called a thrilling ride, this it is.
Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, DePaul University
Singularities is an exhilarating examination of the multiple ways that post-cyberpunk fiction matters, not only for discussions of the posthuman, but also for discussions of the bodily, environmental, political, and socioeconomic implications of Singularity discourses and agendas that 'demand ideological scrutiny'
Mary Catherine Foltz, Year's Work in English Studies, Vol. 94, No. 1, 2015
Year's Work in English Studies, Vol. 94, No. 1, 2015