Where ‘Nothing Ever Was’: Anthropomorphic Spectrality and the (Im)Possibility of the Post-Anthropocene


The imagining of a post-anthropocene future can be dizzying: it requires that we think of the present as an already-past and project ourselves into a world in which the human and the possibility of human thought might no longer exist. Such a future might be beyond the bounds of human perception, but it is nevertheless that which we must attempt to think: it is only by imagining a world without the human that we might be able to create a world that is no longer shaped by the human. This article examines the (im)possibility and necessity of imagining a nonhuman world through a reading of Stephen Baxter’s science fiction novel Evolution (2002). It explores the possible value of anthropomorphism in confronting the limits of human imagination and argues that despite the narrowness of its vision, the spectrality of anthropomorphic thought can offer a glimpse into that which lies beyond the human.

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