New Options and Identities: Body Enhancement in Science Fiction Narrative

Miquel Barceló*, Louis Lemkow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Science-fiction has been defined in many ways, but in this chapter priority is given Isaac Asimov’s vision which examines human responses to changes in science and technology. In this context the text uses various examples of science-fiction narratives related to the enhancement or modification of the human body for achieving specific objectives (for example, the augmented combat effectiveness of military personnel or the colonisation of new worlds). The possibility of changes or improvements to democracy and governance are analyzed and the implications of body enhancement in this sense are examined critically centered especially on the concept of “cyborg” and the use of all kinds of implants which was very prevalent in the science-fiction of the 1980s in the so-called “cyberpunk” movement. The most recent speculations concerning the preservation of human minds through computer systems and networks are examined, especially in relation to the social, political and ethical consequences for personal identity in a world where the automatic reproduction not only of objects, but works of art, or also of minds and human identity constructs are possible. The text is completed with a series of conclusions and reflections of a more sociological character. The notion of science-fiction as a tool for learning the future and its capability of providing a kind of preventive strategy in terms of narratives and warnings about undesirable futures is presented and analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-32414-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
ISSN (Print)1875-0044
ISSN (Electronic)1875-0036


  • Body enhancement
  • Ethics concers
  • Ethics for governance
  • Science fiction literature
  • Socio-technical imaginaries
  • Speculation
  • Technology


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