Media, Mars and Metamorphosis.
Culture Machine, 11,
- Published Version
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Abstract or Description
Media, Mars and Metamorphosis is the title of a remarkable open access e-book by Jeremy Hoyle. Hoyle is a former student, and at times zealous disciple, of Francis Fukuyama. His work echoes and extends the concerns Fukuyama expressed in Our Posthuman Future for the status of human nature in the era of biotechnology and for the rights of the individual in a threatened liberal democracy. 1 Like Fukuyama, Hoyle considers himself to be a social philosopher, and he too is something of a populist. He has sought out three of the most recent and controversial experiments in biotechnology in order to dramatise his concerns, and each promises (or threatens) to change the meaning of human life. Hoyle has chosen open access publishing because, as Gary Hall points out in Digitize This Book!, it has the potential to reach a very wide audience while garnering feedback and creating a market for a subsequent paper publication: ‘the main priority of most academics is to have their research read by as many people as possible, in the hope, not only of receiving greater levels of feedback and recognition for their work, and thus an enhanced reputation, but also of having the biggest possible impact on future research, and perhaps even society’ (Hall, 2008: 46). However, the impact of Hoyle’s first draft was not quite what he had hoped for, and, indeed, expected. Of the three people he interviewed in connection with the experiments, two are currently suing him for defamation of character, and the third is still consulting her lawyer. On the advice of his lawyer, Hoyle has temporarily withdrawn the manuscript and its associated links – including a podcast, blog and short film on YouTube – from the web. Although he has sought to remove all evidence of his book, and although it was only posted for a brief period, I was able to read it, and can therefore offer the summary that follows.
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