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December 10, 2012
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Transhumanism in science fiction and worldbuilding

:iconvumpalouska:
Vumpalouska Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
So what do you think? Is transhumanism inevitable part of any modern science fiction set in The Future (and aiming for at least moderate plausibility)? Unless it's a single idea short story, is there any way to completely avoid transhumanist themes, or are writers at the very least forced to answer questions on why their fictional world does NOT include such concepts as widespread genetic engineering, cybernetic augmentation etc.?

This is especially important when it comes to futuristic worldbuilding, I believe. With the current trends in many key technologies related to human enhancement and AI research, it seems that fictional works set in a detailed future world are increasingly pressed to include transhumanist themes.

Do you agree or disagree? Moreover, do you think this is a good or a bad thing?
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:iconmemnalar:
Memnalar Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
Is transhumanism inevitable part of any modern science fiction set in The Future (and aiming for at least moderate plausibility)?

No. There are plenty of ways that humanity's future might not see this kind of progression, or at least not in the context of a given setting and group of characters. The simplest and most extreme example is post-apocalyptic fiction, where mankind's ability to wage science is hindered or eradicated by some kind of cataclysm, be it man-made or natural. Or, you could assume your sci-fi novel is a cautionary tale against the growing trend toward anti-intellectualism and anti-science in certain parts of society.

Anyway, I think you could get there if you wanted.
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:iconpixeltintti:
PixelTintti Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Robot arm would be cool
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:iconvampirenyan:
VampireNyan Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It is your writing. You don't have to follow any rules. When you write fictional stories, you create a new world. Even if the story is set in "our" normal world. :)


But I think that both of the possibilities would be nice:)
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:iconsomenavyseals:
SomeNavySEALs Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually haven't seen much transhumanism in sci-fi set within a reasonable time frame (no later than 2500AD, anything else it too far in the future to be anywhere near believable). As for my setting(2335 and not very advanced for it) there is very little augmentation in common society due to costs and regulation. The most upgraded someone, other than a severe trauma victim, would be implanted neural networking to electronics as the civilian populous either doesn't have a need for or the funds for much else.
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:iconvumpalouska:
Vumpalouska Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
It seems unlikely to me that advanced medical technologies would remain financially unavailable to the common population hundreds of years in the future. Moreover, in an interstellar society spanning several star systems (or even just our own Solar System), regulating human enhancement technologies everywhere would be pretty much impossible.

As for really far future stories... Even they can be realistic, plausible and internally consistent. Are you familiar with the Orion's Arm universe project, for example? I find the fictional, ultra-transhumanist universe (set over ten thousand years to the future) it portrays to be far more interesting and realistic than most "mainstream" scifi universes.

[link]
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:iconsomenavyseals:
SomeNavySEALs Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
There needs to be a line drawn between lifesaving medical technology and non-essential augmentation. The US government in this setting could give the USSR a run for their money in totalitarianism. Each colony (there's only a handful of earth-like planets that can actually support earth-borne life) is controlled by a an elected local government(ballots prepicked by the administration) which has its tentacles in almost every aspect of life, especially the healthcare system because of how fragile society is in a near-famine disease ridden environment.

And sorry, no. Nothing set more than a thousand years in the future is ever going to be read by me. It is too infinitely unpredictable, imagine trying to predict our present from 1000AD.
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:iconvumpalouska:
Vumpalouska Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
It's entirely possible, even if the end result is not even close to what we will actually have by the time we get there. It'd be foolish to limit yourself with such extermes as "I will never do X"... At least the Orion's Arm universe is strange enough - much, much stranger than our modern world would be to cavemen of 10 000 years past.
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:iconsomenavyseals:
SomeNavySEALs Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry brah, ain't gonna happen. Far future fiction always reads like cheap high fantasy to me; unbelievable, crude, and arrogant with a unhealthy dose of the author's favorite aesops about whatever over optimistic crap they think'll get their feeble message across.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
Dune pretty much disproves your point. Herbert wasn't the best stylist, but the depth and complexity of his world-building is impressive, and it is anything but "over-optimistic."
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:iconsomenavyseals:
SomeNavySEALs Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok, I will admit Dune is an exception rather than the rule.
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