植物和其他科学小说

Can thinking like a plant save the world?

This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived.

—Richard Powers,过度夸张

未来的某个时候,在一个远离地球的行星上,人类殖民主义者植物植物的种子。当她完全“成熟时,”窗户被动地在一桶水中被动地,他强奸并打败了她:“她只是一个植物,她感到没有痛苦。”1经过一段时间,在一个醉酒的愤怒中,受到她空白的绿色面孔和她可怕的外星人的裸体,殖民者试图扼杀她。作为一种植物,蔬菜妻子通过她的皮肤吸收空气;然而,他很容易被她手的茎秆扼杀。之后,她等待太阳升起:“她会种植这个男人,因为她看到他植物种子。......她会看到成长的东西。“2

Pat Murphy’s “His Vegetable Wife” was first published in 1986, part of a wave of feminist speculative fiction—including, notably, Margaret Atwood’sThe Handmaid’s Tale(1985) - 对北美反对二手女权主义的回应作品。2021年,故事保留了愤怒的女权主义的影响。但由于关键植物研究的出现,它也以一种新的方式共鸣,作为“植物恐怖”的一个例子(我将返回)。墨菲的故事邀请读者不仅重新思考妇女和男子之间的不负责性关系,而且是“人类”作为普遍的人类和女性化,植物的“母亲性质之间的同样压迫关系。

有趣的事实:植物占地球生物量的至少80%,而动物包括人类动物,占约0.3%。换句话说,地球是植betway体育提现物的行星,植物是行星上最进化的成功生命形式。如果植物不存在,我们也不会没有我们就可以罚款。我们依靠植物世界为透气空气,滋补食物和有效的药物,并且在灾难性的人为气候变化的这种时代,给予植物到期是至关重要的。这是植物生理学家Stefano Mancuso和科学作家alessandra Villa所作的争论,(在出版时)争议Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence。First published in Italian, in 2013, this is a wide-ranging study written for a popular audience that draws equally from philosophy and science to describe a truly alien world of plants.

植物既完全熟悉的想法也完全是外星人也是娜塔尼亚meeker和antóniaszabari的关键Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction。As a recent winner of the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Book Prize, given by the University of California, Riverside, the book suggests the increasing imbrication of science, technology, philosophy, and fiction within what are being called the “posthumanities.”Radical Botanyis a kind of secret history of some revolutionary ways in which the speculative imagination has challenged long-held convictions about what plants are and what they are capable of doing.

投机性想象如何将植物转化为故事是凯瑟琳E.主教,大卫·希金斯和杰瑞Määttä的编辑集合的重点,科幻小说中的植物:投机植被。主教介绍了这一10章集合作为科学小说流行文化的植物探索。喜欢Brilliant GreenRadical BotanyPlants in Science Fictionaims “to encourage sustainable relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world, including plants.”

我n their very different ways,Brilliant GreenRadical Botany, 和Plants in Science Fiction对关键植物研究都是重要贡献。这意味着它们都很强烈(Bio)政治。


关键植物研究是初期在发作期内的发展。这种上下文不仅发出关键植物研究的强化跨学科性,而且还与新的哲学职位和新的科学思想相结合,并在“假期论”的伞下聚集。

posthumanities的显著特点是他们的再保险cognition of the limits of human knowledge. This is a key takeaway from (pre-posthuman) American philosopher Thomas Nagel’s classic essay, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (1974). Nagel argues that, while we are perfectly capable of finding out many facts about bats, the differences between bat and human sensory experiences render his question unanswerable: all that humans can ever know “what it is like to be” is what it is like to be human. And even this knowing remains uncertain, because consciousness is so subjective. The posthumanities are interested in deprivileging the human as the apex of evolution, so as to think about what comes into view when the human is moved out of the way. They emphasize our inescapable entanglements in the world. The posthumanities show how “we” and “nature” are enmeshed in continuous interactive processes—just think of the bacteria in your gut, if you want an intimate example—rather than being fixed in static (and often oppositional) relations.3.换句话说,就像地球betway体育提现上的所有生命形式一样,我们不是那么多in我们是世界世界。

在这个假期框架中,植物研究与最近关于唯一焦虑的唯物性(世界问题)相交,在越来越焦虑的意识中,我们一直在令人焦虑的情况下,我们一直误解生物圈和所有庞大的力量作为“我们的”世界。我们习惯于思考世界上的一切not我们被动的“自然”,它的存在。我n fact, this opposition between humanity and the world is the founding assumption of Western humanism. This assumption is undercut by revisionary posthumanities research. Often engaging with new scientific investigations—in areas such as quantum physics, artificial intelligence, bioengineering, and gene-splicing—posthumanities research has resulted in unexpected new ways of thinking about plants.

Mancuso和Viola的Brilliant Greenis less an academic study than a botanic manifesto, passionately taking up recent scientific discoveries about the very complex lives of plants. In opposition to what they call “brain bias,” Mancuso and Viola argue for plants as emergent forms of distributed intelligence, just like the internet. This view finds plants’ “brains” in their millions of roots. (Perhaps surprisingly, these claims reflect the continuing influence of Charles Darwin’s early botanical studies, such as植物中运动的力量[1880]。)

Defining intelligence as “the ability to solve problems,” Mancuso and Viola argue that most of our ideas about plants tend to “hinge not on science but on sentiment and cultural preconceptions that have existed for thousands of years.” Their discussion of plant sex, for example, notes the often astonishing strategies through which plants control their environments—including bribing insects with nectar—in order to reproduce themselves. The book examines the plant-animal hybridity of carnivores such as the Venus flytrap, demonstrating how plants can demolish the rigid taxonomies that map our knowledge of Earth’s life-forms. (Once again, the forerunner position belongs to Darwin; his 1875 study,食虫植物,对19世纪的植物科学构成了重大挑战。)

The more we know about their almost infinite variety, and the more we realize the sheer impossibility of “really” knowing them, the more we might conclude that plants are the queerest things on Earth. To riff on Sigmund Freud’s mystified question about women, “What do plants want?”

Brilliant Green也是一个投机性植物学,致力于坚持植物的尊严和自主权,因为“植物对我们的星球上的生活有普遍的函数。”然而,当人们刚开始承认非人动物的价值时,植物仍然倾向于被认为是无名的有机基础设施,不动属和被动,仅仅是女性化的自然。相比之下,甘草和中提琴的注意力对植物和动物进化之间的根治性差异,植物的纯粹异质。

虽然Mancuso和Viola没有什么可以说“他的蔬菜妻子”等投机性小说,迈克尔博兰的前言Brilliant Greendoes. Pollan points to the links between the scientific imagination and the science-fiction imagination: both have “the ability to see the world from a completely fresh and unencumbered point of view.” This process of “defamiliarization” is a potential strength in both science and science fiction, a critical strategy that invites us to think differently about some of our taken-for-granted truisms. It certainly is a key strategy inBrilliant Green。这本书介绍了读者在我们旁边的真正外星模式和这样做,但在我们身边的情况下,我们无法识别,除了通过仪器主义和美学的镜片来识别。

How has the speculative imagination turned plants into stories?

在他们最近和非常广泛的研究中,Radical Botany,历史学家Meeker和Szabari追踪了一些投机,哲学和植物学研究的投机性“激进植物学”的一些股,从17世纪的着作“libertins érudits那” such as Cyrano de Bergerac and the botanist Guy La Brosse, to the New Weird fiction of Jeff VanderMeer and the posthumanist ecological thought of the 21st century.

在他们的介绍中,Meeker和Szabari争辩 - 像Mancuso和Viola一样 - 我们大多数人都是“植物失明”的受害者:除非他们为目的而言,我们根本没有看到它们。作为回应,作者解除了“长期以来的投机传统,让新语言掌握其所有特殊性和活力的植物的生命。”实际上,这些作品是植物与人类想象之间的协作项目。

Meeker and Szabari begin their history with early speculative fictions, such as de Bergerac’s tales of fantastic travels known asL’autre monde(1655;The Other World那2016), and they conclude with a close look at VanderMeer’s南方acttrilogy(Annihilation权威, 和验收那2014). Cyrano’s traveler discovers animated trees on the Moon and talking trees on the Sun, and plant lives provide many of the marvels, both satirical and utopian, of his travels. In stark contrast, early 21st-century speculation about the world of plants is often tinged with horror: VanderMeer’s scientist characters literally lose themselves in the weird ecology of “Area X,” an alien zone that dismantles human rationality and reshapes the “natural” world in utterly uncanny ways. The disturbing mid-19th-century fictions of Edgar Allan Poe announce this swerve, andRadical Botany包括对自然界的故事中的“过度活力主义”的详细阅读,如“亚瑟屋屋的秋季”(1839年)。

Meeker and Szabari also call attention to the extraordinary power of film, “a form of pure movement,” both to materialize and to defamiliarize the vegetal world. Time-lapse photography allows us to植物运动中,克服了我们物种非常不同的植物的一些植物失明。作者还提供了两部电影版本的植物恐怖读数我nvasion of the Body Snatchers(1956, 1978), in both of which human beings are replaced by “pod people” whose subjectivities, desires, and goals are utterly alien. After all, what do plants want?


Plant blindness, plant horror, their utopian promises and their apocalyptic threats, their mysterious temporalities, and their alien lives entangled with our own: these are some of the many strands of speculation that Bishop, Higgins, and Määttä weave together inPlants in Science Fiction

Plants in Science Fiction分为三个部分:“沮丧,”“亲和力”和“协议”。“沮丧”侧重于植物恐怖,概述了20世纪初期的“奇怪的小说”,例如H.P. Lovecraft的在疯狂的山区(1931年)和Algernon Blackwood的“那个树林的人”(1912)。21世纪奇怪的小说中的重新恢复为“新奇怪”通常归因于我们认为是自然的生物圈的几乎不可理解的“奇怪”。气候危机是,在生态过敏师莫蒂托莫顿的共鸣术语中,一个超出的时间,太大的时间和空间让我们理解,并由我们完全无法控制的大规模物质力量组成。

第一个部分“伪视”包括一章,也许是英语的最着名的植物恐怖小说,约翰温德姆Triffids的那一天(1951), and a chapter on “becoming tentacular,” exploring how speculative fiction has represented a world of monstrous plants, “of clinging tendrils, creeping rhizomes and far-reaching mycorrhiza.”

“Affinity” takes up, among other things, the question of desire in nonfiction writing such as poet and naturalist (and grandfather of Charles Darwin) Erasmus Darwin’sThe Loves of the Plants(1791)。在这样做时,该部分开辟了“自由派可能性”的生育师繁殖。

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“雅阁”看着人类与植物之间的相互作用的一些方式,导致新的假肿瘤主观性。它通过阅读Kathleen Ann Goonan等叙述来完成皇后城爵士(1994), a novel in which giant nanotechnological blossoms archive both history and memory, and in which “info-pollination [is] carried out by mutated bees.” Another chapter in this section takes a deep dive into the sensory world of smell in a discussion of Tom Robbins’sJitterbug Perfume(1984); scent is a key element of plant life, but one whose importance we tend to dismiss in our own lives. Once again VanderMeer’s南方actTrilogy是一个特权网站,最终章节Plants in Science Fiction探索Trilogy中“孢子体”的Queer生殖能力,以及Posthuman成为“地区X.”奇怪生态的潜力。

Plants in Science Fictionopens with a haunting epigraph from Ursula K. Le Guin: “We all have forests in our minds. Forests unexplored, unending. Each of us gets lost in the forest, every night, alone.” Speculative fiction can literalize these “forests of the mind,” materializing them into, for instance, de Bergerac’s wise trees, Wyndham’s monstrous triffids, director Don Siegel’s pod people, Murphy’s Vegetable Wife, and VanderMeer’s alien spores. Each is an effort to imagine an alien mode of being in the world that we can never fully understand but with which our lives are intimately entwined. Plant thinking can help us appreciate the limitations of thinking like humans. And while it may be uncomfortable to abandon our position as the pinnacle of evolution, like the Vegetable Wife we might plant the seeds of a new (post)humanism and see what grows.

This article was commissioned byGretchen Bakke图标

  1. 帕特墨菲,“他的蔬菜妻子”,诺顿科幻小说,由Ursula K. Lejuin和Brian Attbery编辑(Norton,1993),p。629。
  2. 同上。,p。632。
  3. “纠缠”已经成为鼻孔中的一个口表,但它起源于物理学家ErwinSchrödinger在量子力学的工作中,作为一种思考爱因斯坦被称为量子颗粒的“距离”的“幽灵动作”的方式。
Annie Spratt / Outplash的特色图片照片