Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of English


This thesis presents a feminist exploration of gender, corporeality, and relationships between bodies and machines within the increasingly technologised milieu of the late twentieth century. The subject matter through which this exploration is conducted is a science fiction closely modeled on the present world and based upon technologies of communications and electronic information. ''Cyberpunk'' is at the core of this kind of science fiction, but in order to allow for somewhat wider developments I have coined the term "cyborg-SF". I consider both the initial masculinist representations in 1980s cyberpunk, and later attempts by other writers to subvert and/or expose such representations. Given that bodily boundaries are just one of many transgressed in cyborg-SF, one might expect to find here a proliferation of feminist and unorthodox representations. Yet technoculture in such fiction is figured predominantly as a masculine domain from which female characters are often specifically excluded, and patriarchal norms persist in virtual worlds of infinite gender possibilities. Employing a model primarily derived from Donna Haraway, but also influenced by McKenzie Wark, Zoë Sofia and Trinh T. Minh-ha, I interrogate cyborg-SF to discover why this is so, and seek to answer the question of whether it is possible to write feminist cyborg-SF.