Of surviving humans and apocalyptic machines

Studying the themes of human continuity and posthuman proliferation in the post-apocalyptic world building in Alastair Reynolds’s inhibitor phase



  • Indrajit Patra An Independent Researcher and an Ex Research Scholar at NIT Durgapur, India


critical posthumanism, hard science fiction, new materialism, post-anthropocentrism, post-apocalyptic, revelation space universe, sentient machines, space opera, speculative fiction


The article aims to critically examine the roles of humanity and posthumanity in Alastair Reynolds’s post-apocalyptic space opera Inhibitor Phase (2021). The study endeavours to show how in this post-apocalyptic and posthuman space opera, humanity emerges as the key player in determining the fate of the galaxy or even universe at large. In Reynolds’s masterfully crafted post-apocalyptic universe, is it not pure technological advancement sans human concern but basic human bonding that appears to be the determining factor when it comes to saving the final remains of the human or posthuman civilizations from the clutches of the nightmarish machines. It is by reassembling and regrouping the fragmented and isolated communities of survivors that mankind seeks to defeat a virtually unconquerable foe. In the process, the article also strives to show how the novel expands and extends the very scope of humanity and its definition and how through a fusion of posthumanism and post-anthropocentrism the agency and animacy of non-human entities also get redefined and redistributed. For the purpose of a theoretically enriched textual analysis, the author has adopted some important theoretical viewpoints from such thinkers as Rosi Braidotti, Deleuze and Guattari, Jane Bennett, Karen Barad and Gordon Coonfield.


Download data is not yet available.


Ananthaswamy, A. (2014). Sentient machines are mathematically impossible. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0262-4079(14)60943-X

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of women in culture and society, 28(3), 801-831.

Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter. Duke University Press.

Bennett, J. (2016). The enchantment of modern life. Princeton University Press.

Braidotti, R. (2006). Posthuman, all too human: Towards a new process ontology. Theory, culture & society, 23(7-8), 197-208.

Braidotti, R. (2013). Posthuman humanities. European Educational Research Journal, 12(1), 1-19.

Braidotti, R. (2013). Metamorphoses: Towards a materialist theory of becoming. John Wiley & Sons.

Buchma-Bernatska, O., Chystiakova, N., Bazylchuk, L., Putiatytska, O., & Kopytsia, M. (2021). Features of development of the violin art in the modern theatre. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S4), 371-384. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS4.1584

Chown, M. (2008). Is science fiction dying?. New Scientist, 200(2682), 46-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0262-4079(08)62895-X

Cole, T. (2012). Open city: A novel. Random House Incorporated.

Connolly, W. E. (2013). The fragility of things. Duke University Press.

Coonfield, G. (2006). Thinking machinically, or, the techno-aesthetic of Jackie Chan: Toward a Deleuze-Guattarian media studies. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 23(4), 285-301.

Dahlin, B. (2012). Our posthuman futures and education: Homo Zappiens, Cyborgs, and the New Adam. Futures, 44(1), 55-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2011.08.007

DeLanda, M. (2019). A new philosophy of society: Assemblage theory and social complexity. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Deleuze, G. (1997). Bartleby; or, the Formula. Essays critical and clinical, 86.

Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1994). What is philosophy?. Columbia University Press.

Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., & Plateaus, A. T. (1977). Capitalism and schizophrenia (Vol. 1). Viking Press.

DiTommaso, L. (2014). Apocalypticism and Popular Culture. In The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature.

Filladsen, J., & Jordenzen, P. (2020). Translation based on cultural aspect: a study regarding how translating text different traditional in two countries. Applied Translation, 14(1), 16–22. Retrieved from https://appliedtranslation.nyc/index.php/journal/article/view/1064

Forlano, L. (2017). Posthumanism and design. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3(1), 16-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sheji.2017.08.001

Frost, S. (2011). The implications of the new materialisms for feminist epistemology. In Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science (pp. 69-83). Springer, Dordrecht.

Gede Budasi, I. & Wayan Suryasa, I. (2021). The cultural view of North Bali community towards Ngidih marriage reflected from its lexicons. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(3), 1484–1497

Grusin, R. (Ed.). (2015). The nonhuman turn. U of Minnesota Press.

Hayles, N. K. (2000). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics.

Iovino, S. (2012). Ecocriticas: Literatura y medio ambiente. Edited by CarmenFlys Junquera, José Manuel Marrero Henríquez, and JuliaBarella Vigal. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2010. 422 pp. Paper $36.00.

Iovino, S., & Oppermann, S. (2012). Material ecocriticism: Materiality, agency, and models of narrativity. Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, 3(1).

Iovino, S., & Oppermann, S. (2012). Theorizing material ecocriticism: A diptych. ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 19(3), 448-475.

Jumanovich, A. T. (2021). Creation of the image of ibn sina in the east and its peculiarities. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S3), 104-110. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS3.1397

Kozel, S. (2007). Closer: performance, technologies, phenomenology. mit Press.

Larson, J. (2008). Limited imagination: Depictions of computers in science fiction film. Futures, 40(3), 293-299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2007.08.015

Law, J. (2004). After method: Mess in social science research. Routledge.

Lloro-Bidart, T. (2018). Cultivating affects: A feminist posthumanist analysis of invertebrate and human performativity in an urban community garden. Emotion, Space and Society, 27, 23-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2018.02.006

Massumi, B. (2002). Parables for the Virtual. Duke University Press.

Massumi, B. (2011). Semblance and event: Activist philosophy and the occurrent arts. MIT press.

Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. (1981). Autopoiesis. Autopoiesis: A theory of living organization, 21-35.

Merrie, A., Keys, P., Metian, M., & Österblom, H. (2018). Radical ocean futures-scenario development using science fiction prototyping. Futures, 95, 22-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2017.09.005

Mitchell, R., & Waldby, C. (2006). Tissue economies. Duke University Press.

Post, S. G. (2010). Humanism, posthumanism, and compassionate love. Technology in Society, 32(1), 35-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2009.12.007

Reynolds, A. (2009). Absolution gap. Hachette UK.

Reynolds, A. (2009). Redemption ark. Hachette UK.

Reynolds, A. (2009). Revelation space. Orion.

Reynolds, A. (2014). Chasm City: Roman (Vol. 4). Heyne Verlag.

Reynolds, A. (2021). Inhibitor Phase. Kindle Edition, Gollancz.

Smith, B., & Monforte, J. (2020). Stories, new materialism and pluralism: Understanding, practising and pushing the boundaries of narrative analysis. Methods in Psychology, 2, 100016. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metip.2020.100016

Stacy, I. (2010). Post-Apocalyptic Culture: Modernism, Postmodernism and the Twentieth-Century Novel.

Sy, O. (2020). When ralph ellison unmutes the silences of history in invisible man. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture, 6(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.21744/ijllc.v6n2.851

Sy, O. (2021). Toni Morrison’s transgressive literary preaching and folk songs as postmemory. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture, 7(4), 241-254. https://doi.org/10.21744/ijllc.v7n4.1720

Thacker, E. (2006). The global genome: Biotechnology, politics, and culture. MIT press.

Thrift, N. (2008). Non-representational theory: Space, politics, affect. Routledge.

Weinberg, D. (2013). Post-humanism, addiction and the loss of self-control: Reflections on the missing core in addiction science. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24(3), 173-181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.01.009

Whatmore, S. (2002). Hybrid geographies: Natures cultures spaces. Sage.

Wolfe, C. (2009). What is posthumanism?(pp. xiÀxxxiv).



How to Cite

Patra, I. (2021). Of surviving humans and apocalyptic machines: Studying the themes of human continuity and posthuman proliferation in the post-apocalyptic world building in Alastair Reynolds’s inhibitor phase. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S3), 734-749. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS3.1645



Research Articles