The Evolution of Subjectivities towards Postmodernism. A Review of the Posthuman Subject in Dick’s Speculative Science Fiction Novels

Paula Ramos Mollá

Undergraduate research intern with Dr Barnita Bagchi at ICON, UU, June-July 2017

Philip K. Dick’s speculative science fiction works have been studied by multiple scholars (Jameson, 2005; Csicsery-Ronay Jr, 1992; Braudillard, 1991) as a paradigm of postmodern subjectivity. What we aim for in this paper is not just to comprehend Dickian identities through a postmodern approach but to claim a posthuman reading of the subject in his literature. By this we intend to project a further clear visualization of new types of Being for the marginalized and oppressed, such as blacks, women, gays, monsters or any other collectives that have been represented as the traditional Others. We point out to a close reading of four of Dick’s oeuvres: Martian Time-Slip (1964), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Ubik (1969), and VALIS (1981). Through a Foucauldian approach we will analyze the marginalized subjects in this works, as they constitute a metaphor for these traditional Others incarnated in the cyborg, the mentally ill or the dead. PKD’s speculative fiction locates these subjects as a point of discussion, which we finally conceive as a metaphor for Braidotti’s concept of the Posthuman. Thus, Dick’s science fiction may be useful not just to understand what it means to be a posthuman subject, but to realize how literature can be subversive and a resistant space towards the hegemonic subjectivity discourse, stimulating a shift towards the emancipation of the traditional Others through a new way of realizing what it means to be Human.
Keywords: posthumanism, postmodernism, science fiction, subjectivities, Philip K. Dick

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