Bridging the Gap We Imagined: Deconstructing Human/Non-Human Binaries in Science Fiction Film
thesisposted on 13.05.2019, 00:00 by Wayne Sides
Since Frankenstein (1931) and through Blade Runner: 2049 (2017), cinema has found a form of expression and success through the science fiction genre. By introducing its audiences to a form of “cognitive estrangement” (Suvin), science fiction forces consumers to re-evaluate themselves and reflect on who they are; what they are. It “has simply proven to be one of our most flexible popular genres” (Tellote) because it can become any situation and still reflect our own. While incorporating aspects of the marvelous, fantastic, and uncanny (Todorov), we are able to imagine the supernatural or spiritual “as it intrudes into and challenges our everyday world” (Tellote). But these forces acting in opposition to our society reveal deeper truths central to mankind’s position and self-image: those of insecurity, unease, and play through methods developed by the theorist Jacques Derrida. Through Derrida’s theories on Structure and Deconstruction, it is possible to analyze science fiction film in an attempt to uncover why humans always position ourselves opposite to these mysterious, “uncanny,” never-human forces. Why are we obsessed with not being them when they are always almost human and even sometimes post-human? Analyzing the structure of human/non-human relationships in science fiction can help to reveal our own anxieties regarding existence, especially as we approach a future that seems more and more like science fact than science fiction. After all, what better way to question “who we are and what is life all about” (Bywater, Subchack) than through a genre founded by questioning “what if” in our own futures?