Sympathy for the Clone: (Post)Human Identities Enhanced by the ‘Evil Science’ Construct and its Commodifying Practices in Contemporary Clone Fiction

  • Jimena Escudero Pérez Universidad de Oviedo
Keywords: clone, science fiction, identity, posthuman, evil


The manipulation of human DNA in the form of eugenic pursuit, cloning, genetic engineering etc., has become a well-established subject in science fiction for decades now. In our days, this thematic trend is probably the most prolific one when inspiring narratives in popular culture and also constitutes the source of much bioethical debate. A common pattern derived from these practices is that they generate dystopian scenarios where a community is oppressed and abused by scientific means thus portraying science and its agents as evil. In the case of clone fiction, the focus of this article, the inhumanity of the oppressive powers enhances the questioned humanity of the clones, a particularly complex and evolving type of character that is often commodified. This paper analyses the "evil science" construction and the semiotics of the human/clone identity it produces as displayed in the cases of Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005), The Island (Dir. Michael Bay, USA, 2005), Moon (Dir. Duncan Jones, UK, 2009) and the TV series Orphan Black (created by Graeme Manson & John Fawcett, Canada, 2013–). The cited examples provide references for typified patterns as well as for the development of both the clone figure and the scientific evilness component.


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Author Biography

Jimena Escudero Pérez, Universidad de Oviedo

Jimena Escudero Pérez received her International PhD from the University of Oviedo, after completing her thesis at the University of Westminster, London. She was awarded with the Patricia Shaw Prize 2010 for her research by AEDEAN (Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos) and was elected president of ASYRAS (Association of Young Researchers on Anglophone Studies) in 2013. She has lectured at the University of Oviedo since 2010 and her research lines are focused on Anglophone literatures as well as on cultural and media studies through literary, feminist and filmic criticism, with special attention to Science Fiction. She regularly participates in national and international conferences on these fields of study and she is the author of Tecnoheroínas: Identidades Femeninas en la Ciencia Ficción Cinematográfica. KRK Ediciones (2010), amongst other publications.


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Never let me go (Dir. Mark Romanek, UK, 2010)

The Island (Dir. Michael Bay, USA, 2005)

Moon (Dir. Duncan Jones, UK, 2009)

The Stepford Wives (Dir. Bryan Forbes, USA, 1975)

The Boys from Brazil (Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, USA/UK, 1978)

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Orphan Black (created by Graeme Manson & John Fawcett, Canada, 2013–)

How to Cite
Escudero Pérez, J. (2014). Sympathy for the Clone: (Post)Human Identities Enhanced by the ‘Evil Science’ Construct and its Commodifying Practices in Contemporary Clone Fiction. Between, 4(8).
Narratives of the Technological Imagination