Tanvir Mustafiz Khan is an independent translator and an Adjunct Lecturer at East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His research interests include posthumanism, cybercriticism, ecocriticism, and gender and identity studies. E-mail: email@example.com
Transcending the Transhuman: Exploring Empathy and Posthumanism in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun
Abstract: The role of empathy in the shift from transhumanism to posthumanism in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun can be understood through the lens of Pramod Nayar’s posthumanist theory. In The Windup Girl, the genetically engineered Emiko is portrayed as a victim of human exploitation and abuse, struggling to survive in a hostile world. However, in Klara and the Sun, the android Klara is portrayed as a loyal and compassionate friend, willing to sacrifice herself for the happiness of her human companion. This shift can be seen as a move towards posthumanism, where the boundaries between human and nonhuman are blurred, and all life forms are seen as interconnected and mutually dependent. Nayar’s posthumanist theory emphasizes the constructed nature of “normalcy” in bodies and the singularity of species and life itself. This perspective allows for a reevaluation of traditional humanistic myths, such as the human as the center of the universe or the instrumental attitude toward other life forms and nonliving matter. In this light, the shift from transhumanism to posthumanism in these two texts can be seen as a move towards a more inclusive and interconnected vision of humanity and its relationship with technology and other life forms.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, human-technology interaction, posthumanism, identity boundaries, speculative fiction, Thailand