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Reified LifeSpeculative Capital and the Ahuman Condition$
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J. Paul Narkunas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823280308

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823280308.001.0001

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Speculative Fictions and Other Cartographies of Life

Speculative Fictions and Other Cartographies of Life

Chapter:
(p.177) Chapter 6 Speculative Fictions and Other Cartographies of Life
Source:
Reified Life
Author(s):

J. Paul Narkunas

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823280308.003.0007

This chapter argues that speculative fictions are a mechanism for struggling with speculative capital. Speculative fictions envision unrealized future scenarios, and share a similar strategy to speculative capital, the very forces whose fictions have become our realities. Through a reading of Gary Shteyngart’s contemporary dystopian novel, Super Sad True Love Story, and Deleuze and Guattari on writing and language, the chapter diagnoses how literature could still serve a critical function in light of the digital reorganization of life. Shteyngart models a data-centered world, whereby humans are products of their data for monetization, and interaction between beings has become mediated by a transactional reality. In the process, Shteyngart’s critique not only unravels the distinction between appearance and reality by demonstrating how language is a form of matter, but also his writing allows for concepts to become existence. This is one of speculative fictions major contributions for thinking ahumanly.

Keywords:   Ahuman, Data-Centrism, Digital Ranking, Digital technologies, Posthumanism, Shteyngart, Gary, Speculative Capital, Speculative Fictions, Super Sad True Love Story

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