The War of the Coin's Two Halves: Bruce Sterling's Mechanist/Shaper Narratives

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Maddox, Tom. "The War of the Coin's Two Halves: Bruce Sterling's Mechanist/Shaper Narratives." MR47/48: 237-44 (see this Category, Larry McCaffery, guest ed.).[1]

On Sterling's "Swarm," "Spider Rose," "Cicada Queen," "Sunken Gardens," "Twenty Evocations . . . ," and Schismatrix (listed under Fiction). Shapers and Mechanists are "the primary posthumanist modes of being—binary opposites in the dialectic of mankind's fate"; TM quotes "Sunken Gardens" on Shapers' having "seized control of their own genetics, abandoning mankind in a burst of artificial evolution"—opposed to Mechanists, who "had replaced flesh with advanced prosthetics" (MR47/48: 238). TM compares and contrasts "Olaf Stapledon's bloodless sagas," A. C. Clarke's Childhood's End and 2001, and F. Herbert's Dune series (239). We will reference also Clifford Simak's "Desertion," a story in his fix-up City (1952), which see at embedded link.


RDE, edited, 24Sep20; 26Mar22