Ming-che Lee



Drawing on the concepts of queer temporality, cyborg, and posthumanism with reference to queer inhumanism, this article examines a trans-cyborgized protagonist’s non-linear life splices to unravel humanness within the queered narratives of Chi Ta-wei’s dystopian novella The Membranes, a renowned science fiction produced in 1990s Taiwan that features anthrodecentrism. Unlike the common practice to cripple compulsory heteronormativity, The Membranes imagines a cyberpunk world underpinning cyborg chronology, such that the central figure Momo, a transgender synthesis of a “male human brain” and a fabulated “female cyborg body,” embarks on a self-inquiry journey to situate her fluid, flexible, and unsettled identities, which are obfuscated somewhere between the human brain and a prothesized bodily container. Analyzed in this article is Chi’s existentialist questioning of the hierarchies and default forms of humanhood. The locus of this article, accordingly, is to debunk the deferred, converged chronotope of a transgendered, anthropomorphized cyborg in the sense of Chi’s transqueering posthuman conceptions.


KEYWORDS: anthrodecentrism, Chi Ta-wei, chronotope, cyborg, posthumanism, queer temporality, The Membranes


DOI: 10.30395/WSR.202312_17(1).0005