An essay on the topic of plenty: sunshine and ice-cream mountains in By Light Alone

Parry, Catherine (2016) An essay on the topic of plenty: sunshine and ice-cream mountains in By Light Alone. In: Adam Roberts: critical essays. Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays (4). Gylphi, Canterbury, pp. 105-122. ISBN 9781780240428, 9781780240442

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The speculative future Earth of Adam Roberts’ By Light Alone is revealed through a narrative of two social extremes – a self-indulgent, demanding and self-obsessed wealthy elite, and the teeming millions of the ‘third world’. These ‘longhairs’ have been genetically modified to photosynthesise a subsistence nutrition through their hair, making their altered bodies the site of biopolitical manipulation. Food in By Light Alone is a primary factor in the discursive construction of the ‘proper’ human, and is part of a biopolitical mechanism of control which dulls social resistance by encouraging a relationship with food in the rich which is simultaneously obsessive and unresponsive, and dehumanises the poor by destroying the social and ecological structures which food shapes and confusing the notion of taxonomic and biological purity.
This essay will consider how food and dehumanisation are connected in By Light Alone, and examine the ways in which the posthuman, dehumanised, ‘vegetablised’ longhairs fracture and expose the politics of the ‘proper’ human as it emerges in a fiction of the early twenty-first century.

Keywords:Literary criticism, Science fiction, Utopia / dystopia, Adam Roberts, By Light Alone, Ecocriticism
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:28247
Deposited On:07 Aug 2017 08:39

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