Paolo Bacigalupi’s Novel Bodily Economies of the Anthropocene
Just as it looms large in contemporary consciousness, the figure of the Anthropocene dominates the speculative fiction of the Hugo and Nebula award winning author Paolo Bacigalupi. The post-apocalyptic and post-capitalist settings common to Bacigalupi’s oeuvre do not merely seek to depict unsettling Anthropocene landscapes. Rather, Bacigalupi’s speculative fiction vicariously demonstrates the crucial role which embodiment plays, and will continue to play, in determining the impact of the Anthropocene upon human life. Our bodies, his works propose, are both the fabric upon which the horrors of the Anthropocene will be written, and the means by which we can learn to adapt to the rigors of our rapidly shifting planetary environment. As such, Bacigalupi’s works propose a range of novel bodily economies, which are just as much potential alternatives to the damaging neoliberal ideologies of our contemporary world as they are statements of impending social upheaval and widespread human suffering. Through the textual analysis of a cross-section of Bacigalupi’s works, this article demonstrates his emphasis upon the urgency and importance of our own societies learning to construct and implement alternate economic paradigms.