[Sorcerer & Space] A Discussion on Posthumanity

Started by ADGBoss, July 22, 2011, 07:07:30 PM

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I apologize in advance as I have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a maze in terms of discussion and because currently my own thoughts are barely coherent on the subject.

So I am working on Sorcerer & Space and I think its something that holds interest for people. I know for me it was on my list of dream projects for a very long time. My goal is to not simply add ray guns and aliens and rules for Demons in Zero G. Anyone could do that and make it look and feel fantastic. My goal is to make Sorcerer & Space a worthy mutation of vanilla Sorcerer, call it Sorcerer# if you will.

It occurred to me this go around that science fiction already asks a great many questions about the human condition, in my opinion more so than other imaginative spaces. It explores the idea of who we will be and who we are in a given set of environments or under conditions that deal with scientific explorations. (Wow that was a mouthful lol). So if I were going to do a supplement for a game which already explored the question of humanity in some respects, that I needed to raise the stakes.

Enter Posthuman, Posthumanism, and Posthumanity

It began as a curious concept and I understand that Posthumanism et all is in itself controversial. Yet I felt it had an important place in any exploration of humans with regard to moving out into space. We as humans will be different in a hundred years and so it stands to reason that Sorcerers will also be different in a hundred years. Well you ask (and you would be right to) why can't that be done with Humanity? Its possible that it can. I am not looking for the discussion to necessarily reinforce my belief that another axis of being is needed. I am looking for the discussion to kind of tackle the idea and see what emerges.

Defining Posthuman - In Sean's Head

This is the line that for me defines Posthuman best. I got it off of Wikipedia but its from a book (I will footnote it further down the page). "...the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can "become" or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives..."

That is why I think Posthumanity could be layered into the system as a means of ascertaining a character's changing perspective on what it means to be human or changing perspective on humanity.

If Humanity in Sorcerer is the X Axis, Posthumanity becomes a Y axis measuring how flexible a Sorcerer is in regards to his or her ability to function in alien environments. A Sorcerer with 0 Posthumanity would lose the desire to live anywhere but among humans in a "normal" human environment and would seek that out.

Important Thoughts

1. Posthumanity has to relate back to the Premise as well (or Premise needs to be derived from Humanity and Posthumanity)
2. Posthumanity is not Anti-Humanity since actions taken in rejection of the definition of Humanity are already accounted for.

As you can tell from the jumbled nature of this post I am really having trouble deciding what and even if such a concept has merit. I don't want to just bolt something ugly on the side to carry the luggage of science fiction. If it does not elegantly add itself to the system it has no place there. The idea is intriguing but it may not be feasible or ultimately necessary.

So my questions:
1. Do you think that a concept like Posthumanity, as I have defined it or in some other form, could be added to Sorcerer to make a more complex dynamic for the characters to make choices against? Should it be added even if it could work?
2. If you were going to define the evolution of humans and thus Sorcerers, what context and language and verbiage would you use?
3. Could Humanity be replace by Posthumanity instead of coexisting with it?

I appreciate any and all input and if this is too incoherent, feel free to say so and I will do my best to clean it up.



Ron Edwards

Hi Sean,

I may not be the best person for feedback, as nearly all talk of posthuman this-or-that in today's science fiction has left me cold. Older stuff which I suppose could be labeled along those lines is more to my taste - More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, which ends with an appeal to ordinary human conscience; The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, which ends with an uncompromising political critique of the "man above others" concept ... And speaking as an evolutionary biologist, most talk of posthumanity in today's science fiction is so technically borked that I find myself uninterested.

But that's probably out of the scope of Forge talk, as the point here ought to be about two things: (i) what you would like to do with the concepts as you see them, and (ii) whether and how they fit with the topic of the setting as you'd like to develop it. Those aren't quite the same, although the first should inform the second. I don't want to blunt or silence any discussion about those things. So, anyone who wants to get it rolling, please do so - although Sean, it may help a great deal to discuss the first thing in some detail so we know what you're talking about.

Best, Ron


I shall do so. Had a bit of an interesting week so I will add my comments tomorrow