Extrapolation

Resilient Cyborgs

Trauma and the Posthuman in Pat Cadigan’s Synners (1991)

Extrapolation (2021), 62, (3), 247–268.

Abstract

This article reads Pat Cadigan’s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Synners (1991) from the perspectives of trauma studies and posthumanism to analyze the representation of the cyborged (post)human in cyberspace. My main focus is Cadigan’s depiction of a posttraumatic world whose living conditions invite escape, and how this depiction emphasizes the fact that escape through technological transcendence is not an option, and neither is the rejection of technology altogether. Despite this bleak scenario, the novel leaves some room for optimism in the figuration of a posthuman form of resilience, inspiring reflection about future forms of engagement with technology. As this article attempts to prove, Synners uses the tropes of the cyborg and cyberspace to explore the implications of subjectivity and embodiment within technoscience. In so doing, the novel opens a critical space for interrogation of the relationship between trauma, the posthuman body, and digital technology.

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Author details

Ferrández-Sanmiguel, María