One week left to submit stories for my first Circlet Press anthology. The call for submissions is here.

So, what’s transhumanism, anyway?

Transhumanism is many things, but at its core, it’s a movement which champions mankind’s victory over aging and death. Once we conquer death, the philosophy goes, we will have transcended the final boundary and as a result we will become something greater than humanity. It’s about improving the human condition, and overcoming human limitations.

What “counts” as transhuman for the sake of these stories?

We want to see people with augmentations. These can be genetic modifications, biological modifications, technological modifications, and mechanical modifications. They can be simply cosmetic, or enhance abilities, or improve health or longevity. There must be a human at the core, though.

Robots and androids are not transhuman because they aren’t human. A cyborg is transhuman because it is a human’s brain in a mechanical body. An AI is not transhuman because it isn’t human. An uploaded human consciousness, however, is.

The Borg are still biological people under all that tech, and they believe the tech transforms and elevates them. The Six Million Dollar Man is an augmented human. Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse is based on the premise of human mind as rewritable hard drive. RPGs like Shadowrun or Eclipse Phase are great models, too.

To sum up: it’s the brain, not the shell, that matters.

Examples, please?

Some cosmetic augmentations might be:

* Changing eye, skin, or hair color (and/or being able to reprogram them at will)
* Extreme surgical body modification
* An artfully created artificial limb or exoskeleton
* Anime cat ears, or any grafted/substituted animal parts (digitigrade legs or a swishy tail or…I’ll let you think dirty, here)

Some health/medical augmentations might be:

* An implanted reservoir of medication/neurotransmitter/caffeine that can be released into the bloodstream on command
* Nanobots that scour the body for alcohol or poisons and neutralize their effect
* An attachment that brings better use to an existing limb or blocks chronic pain
* Enhanced ears that improve balance for resistance to vertigo/motion sickness

Some performance-based augmentations might be:

* Artificial limbs or muscles for increased strength/endurance (tongues, anyone?)
* Artificial limbs with hidden compartments for smuggling contraband
* Enhanced eyes with options like night vision, heat vision, magnification, recording capability, and/or a Heads Up Display (HUD) that can relay information right into a person’s vision
* Enhanced ears with options like magnification, recording capability, implanted phone/music speakers, or internal GPS
* A plug or port that allows the user to interface directly with technology or with other people
* An extra finger or two, for some fancy piano-playing or improved manual dexterity

Who would want that?

Some of these are weird, yes, and you might wonder who would want them. Your job is to tell us about the people who would have them! Maybe they weren’t augmented by choice — maybe their parents had them genetically engineered. Maybe they were in an accident and needed fixing, or they were someone’s bizarre medical experiment. Maybe they haven’t entirely learned how to control their new toys and mods yet.

And, of course, this is just the springboard. Think about these types of modifications…and then perv them. An animal tongue, modified or enhanced genitalia, a mechanical arm that never gets tired, with several hand “attachments” to choose from.

So…put your mind in the gutter, and think about how augmented people would use that tech in the bedroom.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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