Abstract.--At the intersection of cybernetics and phenomenology, the body already operates as an interface between mind and experience, but in contemporary science fiction and horror, the body is also narrated as a site of exploration and transfiguration through which an interface with an electronically-based postmodern experience is inscribed. The obsessive restaging of the refiguration of the body posits a constant redefinition of the subject through the multiple superimposition of bio-technological apparatuses. In this epoch of human obsolescence, however, a remarkably consistent imaging/imagining of both body and subject ultimately emerges. The essay examines the refiguration of the body in the performance art of Stelarc and in three novels: Bernard Wolfe's Limbo (1953), J.G. Ballard's Crash (1973), and Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix (1985). The examination of Schismatrix suggests that cyberpunk constitutes a discourse within which many concerns and techniques of surrealism again become relevant--a techno-surrealist production of a new flesh: a terminal flesh. The cyberpunk narrations indeed speak with the voices of repressed desire and repressed anxiety about terminal culture. Cyberpunk negotiates a complex and delicate trajectory between the forces of instrumental reason and the abandon of a sacrificial excess. The essay concludes by considering what Gilles Deleuze and FClix Guattari call "The Body Without Organs'': a philosophy of bodily transgression. In the fantasy of the Body without Organs, the body resists the finality of the organism, of the subject. Deleuze and Guattari are cyberpunks, too, constructing fictions of terminal identity in the nearly familiar language of a techno-surrealism.
Tags: Fantasy Mysticism