Teeming Stomachs and Infinite Spirals: Posthuman Anxiety in Patrick Ness's The Rest of Us Just Live Here and John Green's Turtles All The Way Down

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Abstract

The posthuman – as ontology, theory, philosophy, ethical framework – has been somewhat valorised in the cultural and critical imagination of late: heralded as the aspirational antithesis of a longstanding, yet long-critiqued humanist infrastructure based on division and exclusion. In particular, critics of young adult fiction have – through extensive posthumanist readings of fantasy, dystopia, and speculative/science fiction genres – lauded the posthuman as a powerful (if often latent) force capable of disrupting tyrannous regimes, saving the planet and generally kicking serious existential ass. But what does the posthuman mean beyond these genres? Who is excluded from these spectacular narratives of empowerment? And to what effect? Through an examination of adolescent anxiety in John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down (2017) and Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here (2015), this article draws connections between the posthuman and mental health that expose the dangers of this new exceptionalism – even (or especially) when it operates under the guise of ‘butt-kicking’ empowerment and radical inclusivity.

© 2020, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Young Adult Literature
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020

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