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“Robert Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars and Faux Posthumanism”
Heinlein's PODKAYNE OF MARS is usually seen as juvenile science fiction. I argue that the novel is instead a sophisticated commentary on constructed race and gender distinctions. Heinlein presents a reading practice which I call "faux posthumanism"--i.e the reader's false expectation of encoutering a science fictional posthuman society. PODKAYNE describes three societies which exist on Earth, Venus, and Mars. The populations of these planets are comprised of humans and aliens--not solely posthumans. The point is that Podkayne is not "of" Mars. Podkayne, who is a member of a society which enjoys posthuman birth technology, is still not a posthuman. She is a product of immigration; she is a human Earthling born into a new culture. Heinlein's mid twentieth century use of faux posthumanism allows him to grapple with racism and sexism in a manner pertinent to the present.