Mark McClelland’s "Upload" (2012)

The Perils of Leaving Biology behind to Achieve Virtual Immortality




Transhumanism, Mind Uploading, Critical Posthumanism, (Dis)Embodiment, Upload, Mark McClelland


In recent years and, in light of the latest developments in the field of neurotechnology, some critics have claimed that mind uploading could become technically feasible in a not-too-distant future. While transhumanist critics embrace this procedure and dream of a postbiological future in which human beings possess greater cognitive, emotional, and sensorial abilities, the critical posthumanists warn of the risks inherent to the idea of leaving biology behind to lead a virtual life in cyberspace. Significantly, these warnings reverberate in some twenty-first century cultural productions such as Mark McClelland’s Upload (2012), a novel that is also representative of an emerging trend of SF novels written by tech professionals. Although the novel may seem to be at first a defense of simulated life, this work aims to prove that McClelland’s narrative choices ultimately uncover a critical posthumanist view of embodiment as an essential part of human identity.


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Author Biography

Carmen Laguarta-Bueno, Universidad de Zaragoza

Carmen Laguarta-Bueno is a lecturer at the Department of English and German Studies at the University of Zaragoza. Her present research focuses on contemporary US fiction and her main research interests range from trauma studies to transhumanism, critical posthumanism, and bioethics. She is the author of Representing (Post)Human Enhancement Technologies in Twenty-First Century US Fiction (Routledge, 2022). Her work has been published in journals such as Atlantis and The Nordic Journal of English Studies, and in volumes such as Transhumanism and Posthumanism in Twenty-First Century Narrative (Routledge, 2021). Carmen has also been an academic visitor at the University of California, Riverside (2018), Trinity College, Dublin (2019) and New York University (2021).


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How to Cite

Laguarta-Bueno, C. (2022). Mark McClelland’s "Upload" (2012): The Perils of Leaving Biology behind to Achieve Virtual Immortality. Journal of English Studies, 20, 161–178.