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My short story “Woman Under Repair” will be featured in three parts in The Green Shoe Sanctuary magazine themed “Under Construction.”
The dates are May 10th, 17th, and 24th. So starting tomorrow the 10th, click the link above and start reading my latest published short story.
This one’s special because the material comes from an “almost novel” that I wrote in a different form here on my blog a few years back.
The woman who is now Mikiko Jahn was a young nuclear engineer at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami caused the worst reactor accident since Chernobyl. The disaster reduced Mikiko into a barely alive torso and head covered with unspeakable burns.
Revolutionary scientist Daniel Hunt has developed a special and highly experimental technique that, in concert with the Japanese and British governments, is used in a secret project, not just to rebuild Mikiko into her former self, but to make her more than human. But six years later in pursuit of a notorious human trafficker, is she human at all?
2 thoughts on ““Woman Under Repair” to be published by The Green Shoe Sanctuary magazine”
I remember your Mikiko character. But your questions cannot be answered without first defining what is human; and what, if any, are the boundaries of that definition. Are exceptional abilities beyond the realm of humanity? Is humanity to be defined by some average of mediocrity? If enhanced abilities are artificial, are they by definition non-human? Is a bionic man or woman no longer human? Does it depend on what parts have been replaced or what percentage of them? Does it matter whether the technology is inorganic or organic? Or is humanity a matter of what is felt or how identity and compassionate commonality is perceived? Is non-compassionate feeling or behavior that resembles animals or soul-less machines sufficient to disqualify an entity’s superficial appearance of humanity? Must one be genetically human to be “human”, or can an android be reckoned as a participant in the human collective? The StarTrek depiction of the Borg collective illustrates a conception of technological hybrids that are undeniably inhuman even when their organic origins were human. All these questions and more must be considered if one wishes to enable a repaired human like Mikiko to be reassured of continuing participation in society as a human.
My main point in questioning Mikiko’s humanity is to reflect her self-doubts and concerns (to put it mildly) about the radical change that has come over not over her body, but her mind. In the story, although the scientists and technicians insist they are not “programming her” (at least in the “classical” sense), I do create some indications that her training is either adding to or overwriting parts of her personality. I’m not necessarily trying to answer the question “what is human,” but to get the reader to ponder the question for themselves.