Transhumanism — ever heard of it? Honestly, I myself hadn’t for quite a long time. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term as “the theory that science and technology can help human beings develop beyond what is physically and mentally possible at the present time. Transhumanism asserts that with all the new technologies available, mankind will be able to solve every challenge it faces.”
This concept builds upon the concept of Humanism, sparked in the 13th-century. Humanism is a philosophical theory that instigated a movement towards secularism and rationalism, based on the belief that the needs and interests of humans should take top priority in the universal order of hierarchy. I myself learned about Humanism throughout my college education, since the topic infiltrates not only philosophy but science, religion, technology, history and sociology.
Transhumanism, meanwhile, reveals what is potentially the next thought-provoking — and often disturbing — path to the future of humankind. Here, we’re discussing it in conversation with another (and my personal favorite) field of study: literature.
The following books all have unique and visionary approaches to the subject, each with a full capacity for thrilling new storytelling. All of the books present vivid characters and expanded universes, from the depths of the ocean to the untapped reaches of outer space. Each has its own take on transhumanism; some involve drug enhancements, others technological advances, and yet others genetic change, whether by natural evolution or purposeful modification.
Taken as a whole, there’s no shortage of brave new worlds for the curious mind to explore within these seven novels.