"Are we not men," bark the creatures residing in H.G. Wells's fantasy island, and cultural critic Ollivier Dyens looks into the issue in his book Metal and Flesh
. Arguing that culture has redefined and even supplanted biology, he wants us to see and perhaps guide the changes we're wreaking on our bodies and the world.
Incorporating literary analysis and deft sociological synopsis, Dyens shows the reader how we have embraced technology so thoroughly that we are practically helpless without it. But ultimately, he says, our nature is still cultural, and he is surprisingly optimistic (if wary) about our lives, even if he's informed by the cyberpunk canon, Kafka, and 1984. As he says near the book's close: "We are not becoming cyborgs but sketches, pictures, writings, songs, and dances. Within us, all phenomena intermingle." Postmodern or Zen--Dyens leaves the reader with a warm, but restless, inner glow. --Rob Lightner
"a very important contribution to the growing field of body-studies and to media culture, at large." Marisa S. Olson AI
"Dyens' discussion of the most momentous issues we face is creative, sophisticated, and also--shockingly enough--clear and sensible. An important contribution to our understanding of who we are and what we are becoming."--Crispin Sartwell, Chair of Humanities and Sciences, Maryland Institute College of Art
"We techo-organic beings, born from the re-mix of pixels and particles, growing on a substrate of global connective tissue, will find that Ollivier Dyens' illuminating, engaging, and insightful book takes us to the furthest edge of the post-biological culture. His is a non-linear vision of emergent mind and transformative body. Total immersion is recommended!"--Roy Ascott, Founding Director, CAiiA-STAR (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University of Wales, and Science Technology and Art Research Centre, University of Plymouth)
"*Metal and Flesh* shows that Ollivier Dyens is one of the best contemporary thinkers of our breathtaking techno-cultural evolution."--Pierre Lévy, Chaire de Recherche du Canada en Intelligence Collective, University of Ottawa, and author of *Collective Intelligence* and *Becoming Virtual*