Cyborgs: Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods

  • Justin Omar Johnston
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter analyses Jeanette Winterson’s recursive novel The Stone Gods in relation to the Anthropocene as an emerging reformulation of humanity as a planetary force. Examining the relationship between Billie and her Robo Sapien lover, Spike, I trace this couple’s affair as they fall in love, die, and meet again on a different planet, billions of years later. The novel’s recursive narrative structure is captured in the iconic picture of earth as seen from outer space, an image that orbits the novel. This image illustrates the concept of “unlimited finitude” or a notion of reprogrammability that has informed both contemporary biotechnology and parts of the environmentalist movement. Winterson’s spiralling narrative structure interrupts linear, dystopian visions of biotechnological mastery and apocalyptic visions of extinction. This narrative of repetition and difference also formulates a feminist evolution that emphasizes the radical potential of “nature” to change, unseating entrenched elements of capitalist patriarchy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Omar Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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