A Tale Told by a Machine

The AI Narrator in Contemporary Science Fiction Novels


In stock

SKU: 9781476689326 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Intelligent machines have long existed in science fiction, and they now appear in mainstream films such as Bladerunner, Ex Machina, I Am Mother and Her, as well as in a recent proliferation of literary texts narrated from the machine’s perspective. These new portrayals of artificial intelligence inevitably foreground dilemmas related to identity and selfhood, concepts being reassessed in the 21st century.
Taking a close look at novels like Ancillary Justice, Aurora, All Systems Red, The Actuality, The Unseen World and Klara and the Sun, this work investigates key questions that arise from the use of AI narrators. It describes how these narratives challenge humanist principles by suggesting that selfhood is an illusion, even as they make the case for extending these principles to machines by proposing that they are not so different from humans. The book examines what is at stake with nonhuman narration, the qualities of AI narratives, and what it might mean to relate to a narrator when the voice adopted is that of an AI.

About the Author(s)

Heather Duerre Humann teaches in the Department of Language and Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is the author of multiple books and has contributed essays to edited collections and published articles, reviews and short stories in African American Review, Women’s Studies, South Atlantic Review and Studies in American Culture.

Bibliographic Details

Heather Duerre Humann
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8932-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4977-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Talking Objects 1
1. Corporeality, Selfhood, and Narrative Shifts in Ancillary Justice 37
2. The Dawning of AI Sentience in Aurora 64
3. From Object to Subject in All Systems Red 86
4. Seeing the Narrative in The Unseen World 103
5. (Post) Human Rights in The Actuality 117
6. Klara Speaks: Narrative Voice in Klara and the Sun 136
Conclusion: AIs and Posthuman Subjectivities 165
Bibliography 175
Index 183

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The author’s analysis of each text is thorough, detailed and convincing.”—Dr. Shawn Edrei, Tel-Aviv University

• “Humann meticulously dissects six contemporary sf pieces in her latest work…valuable insights…the subject matter is exceptionally pertinent to the current societal landscape… This exploration both captivates readers and prompts increased attention to the societal impacts of technoscientific development. …a valuable reference and guide”—Science Fiction Studies