Book Review: Michael Grantham’s The Transhuman Antihero @LiminaJournal



The Limina Journal, “a refereed academic journal of historical and cultural studies based at the University of Western Australia with a commitment to open access publishing”, recently published their Volume 21.1 (2015). Themed “Think Forward Look Back“, this issue includes three thought-provoking essays (e.g. disability and care in children’s literature), one piece of creative writing as research, and a whole bunch of excellent reviews of books and cultural trends.

Among the book reviews is my piece on Michael Grantham’s The Transhuman Antihero: Paradoxical Protagonists of Speculative Fiction from Mary Shelley to Richard Morgan (2015). Here is an excerpt:

“In this remarkable study, Michael Grantham identifies transhuman antiheroes as protagonists whose strengths, intelligence, skills and/or abilities are superior to everyday individuals and who reject the normative moral and social conventions of their societies. Particularly in speculative fiction, Grantham argues, these protagonists are often rendered paradoxical in order to demonstrate the failure of technoscientific development in transcending human nature.

“Speculative fiction offers an alternative social reality in which ‘the dynamic and complex relationship between individuals, society and technoscientific development’ is explored (p. 3). In Grantham’s view, transhuman antiheroes as protagonists are often hybrids of ‘polarised categories’ (e.g. biology and technology) and therefore help to deconstruct existing notions of morality and social convention (e.g. good and evil, right and wrong) (p. 3).

“Using a series of renowned speculative narratives as examples, Grantham investigates ‘the antihero’ and ‘the transhuman’ as literary concepts and character archetypes…”

You can read the full article here. A PDF version is also included.

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