Our Strange Futures Book Club reconvened this month to discuss Eugene Lim's Dear Cyborgs. Welcoming a couple of first-time participants, the evening was full of fresh insights!
A timely read: activism, art, and performance were all addressed, along with the many ways of resisting capitalism that may or may not be effective. The book touched upon many of the questions we likely ask ourselves all the time: what moves activism? and where do we get our hope from? It addresses unanswerable questions, playfully.
Monologues, dialogues, and descriptions - "I enjoy these kinds of fragmented narratives."
Is it speculative fiction? Did your perception of the genre change over the reading?
"It didn’t change for me." Readers familiar with Lim's work deemed it experimental and expected. Though it presents just a sprinkle of the sci-fi elements, "the world feels really fleshed out." While the ambiguity of the “I” both intrigued and confused.
"A little head-spinny of a book! Which layer are we in right now?"
"The little sections that feel like poetry were the parts where I was the most confused."
Playful language was a favorite aspect of the book - "maybe the most sci-fi feeling part of it."
The book subverts expectations in its apparent lack of narrative - earning disdain from some readers, and praise from others. Comparisons were drawn with If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, where narrative gets cut off as the narrator “loses the book.” In Cyborgs, it "isn’t jarring at all, it maintained a good flow."
"I'm way more interested in the way characters interact with each other!" Readers enjoyed the character reliant development of the plot, and were able to develop real attachment to the characters.
The complexity of the characters served to increase the realism of their written experiences. “The superheroes are like, Neoliberal.”
“I think it’s rare to read a good friendship novel, and this is a real atypical one.”
Lastly, all agreed upon how strange it is to look back now; how the book has aged post-Trump.
“I think we’re more cyborgs now than we were then.”
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