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The body project : transhumanism, posthumanism and modification in twentieth century cyberpunk

Dag, Gul


Gul Dag


Kevin Corstophine


This thesis focuses upon the social, cultural and political implications of employing radical body modification practices through an analysis of late twentieth century cyberpunk texts. Using the early works of William Gibson, Rudy Rucker and George Alec Effinger, the aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the ways in which cyberpunk writing works to critique the inherently transhumanist desire for creating technologically advanced societies in which the human race will potentially come to be replaced by a far superior race of posthumans. The thesis begins with an examination of the history of transhumanist thought, and applies the central tenets of transhumanism to the cyberpunk works of Gibson, Rucker and Effinger to illustrate the ways in which cyberpunk critiques the concept and deployment of revolutionary technologies in its analyses of near-future technologically advanced societies. The subsequent chapters of this thesis focus upon specific aspects of selected cyberpunk texts, including the commodification and fetishisation of the modified body; theologically-informed technological transcendence; the assertion of identity and sense of self in the modified subject; and the treatment of women in the race towards posthumanity. While a great deal of critical attention has been paid to the work of high profile cyberpunk writers such as Gibson, the works of other writers such as Rucker and Effinger have been comparatively ignored. The aim of this thesis is to address this imbalance, and to provide in-depth analyses of not only Gibson’s well-known Sprawl Trilogy (1984- 1988), but also of Rucker’s Ware Tetralogy (1982-2000) and Effinger’s Marîd Audran series (1986-1991). All three sets of texts challenge the reader to consider not only the personal, but also the social, cultural and geopolitical implications of both the local and global employment of radical technologies, and this thesis analyses these implications using a transhumanist framework.


Dag, G. (2020). The body project : transhumanism, posthumanism and modification in twentieth century cyberpunk. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Apr 9, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords English
Public URL
Additional Information Department of English, The University of Hull
Award Date May 1, 2020


Thesis (1.6 Mb)

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© 2020 Dag, Gul. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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