Alien Chic provides a cultural history of the alien since the 1950s, asking ourselves why our attitudes to aliens have shifted from fear to affection, and what this can tell us about how we w see ourselves and others. Neil Badmington explores our relationship with aliens, inscribed in films such as The War of the Worlds, Mars Attacks!, Mission to Mars and Independence Day; and how thinkers such as Descartes, Barthes, Freud, Lyotard and Derrida have conceptualised what it means to be human (and post-human). Alien Chic examines the the concept of posthumanism in an age when the lines between what is human and what is n-human are increasingly blurred by advances in science and techlogy, for example genetic cloning and engineering, and the development of AI and cyborgs. Questioning whether our current embracing of all things 'alien' - in the form of extraterrestrial gadgets or abduction narratives, for instance - stems from a desire to reaffirm ourselves as 'human', this is an original and thought-provoking contribution to the study of posthumanism.
Neil Badmington is Lecturer in Cultural Criticism and English Literature at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University. He is the editor of Posthumanism (Palgrave, 2000)