posthuman adj.

of or relating to a hypothetical species that might evolve from human beings, as by means of genetic or bionic augmentation; cf. posthuman n.

In 1936 quots., in reference to a species arising after the extinction of humanity.

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1916 M. Parmelee Poverty & Social Progress xxi. 319

    An animal no longer human, or for that matter mammalian, in its character… But even if such a post-human animal did come into existence, it is difficult to believe that it could carry on the necessary economic activities without using a certain amount of formal organization.

  • [1936 H. P. Lovecraft Shadow Out of Time in Astounding Stories June 130/1 page image H. P. Lovecraft bibliography

    I shivered at the mysteries the past may conceal, and trembled at the menaces the future may bring forth. What was hinted in the speech of post-human entities of the fate of mankind produced such an effect on me that I will not set it down here. ]

  • [1936 H. P. Lovecraft Shadow Out of Time in Astounding Stories June 145/2 page image H. P. Lovecraft bibliography

    I knew there were two more cellar levels in this titan edifice, and trembled with fresh panic as I recalled the metal-clamped trapdoor on the lowest one. There could be no guards now—for what had lurked beneath had long since done its hideous work and sunk into its long decline. By the time of the post-human beetle race it would be quite dead. And yet, as I thought of the native legends, I trembled anew. ]

  • 1952 P. S. Miller Reference Library in Astounding Science Fiction July 159/2 page image P. Schuyler Miller bibliography

    There are the tendrilless slans—numerous, powerful, and vicious—with the same distorted organs and magnified physical and mental powers as the true slans, but without the telepathic powers of the post-human race ‘created’ by Samuel Lann at least fifteen hundred years before.

  • 1971 R. Silverberg Son of Man (1979) xxxiv. 189 Robert Silverberg

    Clay senses, as he has never before sensed, the full span of time through which he has passed; for now he is caught in a sea of shapes, prehuman and human and posthuman, coming and going, smothering him, demanding comfort from him, seeking redemption, chattering, laughing, weeping.

  • 1976 R. A. Lafferty Not To Mention Camels vi. 75 R. A. Lafferty

    Even from a purely technical point of view, you have advanced the posthuman personality beyond any others.

  • 1985 B. Sterling Schismatrix 133 Bruce Sterling

    People began to speak, for the first time, of the Schismatrix—of a posthuman solar system, diverse yet unified, where tolerance would rule and every faction would have a share.

  • 1989 N. Spinrad On Books in Asimov’s Science Fiction Dec. 175/1 page image Norman Spinrad

    Aliens from another dimension have constructed a complex artificial solar system millions of years after the destruction of Earth and populated it with reconstructed humans, terrestrial life forms, and post-human higher Terrestrial sapients from Earth’s past.

  • 1994 Interzone Nov. 56/3

    The strongest and most satisfying sense of strangeness comes from those scenes set in the cold quietus of space, in which the revolt of the freedead and glimpses of an eternal, posthuman future are limned with concise precision.

  • 1996 B. Sterling Holy Fire 233 Bruce Sterling

    She drew an x-y graph with two swift strokes. ‘This bottom axis is the passage of time. And this is the increase in life expectancy. For every year that passes, posthuman life expectancy increases by about a month.’

  • 1996 K. MacLeod Stone Canal (1997) 300 Ken MacLeod

    I'm talking, of course, of the templates of the fast folk—posthuman and AI—as they were at the beginning, not the bizzare [sic] entities they became.

  • 2002 L. M. Bujold Diplomatic Immunity 191 Lois McMaster Bujold

    At the core are the haut lords, who are, in effect, one giant genetics experiment in producing the post-human race.

  • 2002 C. Stross in Asimov’s Science Fiction Feb. 18 Charles Stross

    Their owner is an agalmic entrepreneur, a posthuman genius loci of the net who catalyzes value wherever he goes, leaving money trees growing in his footprints.


Research requirements

antedating 1936

Earliest cite

H. P. Lovecraft, in Astounding

Research History
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 2002 cite from Charles Stross' "Tourist".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1996 cite from Bruce Sterling's "Holy Fire".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1994 cite from an interview with Charles Platt in SF Eye.
Malcolm Farmer suggested and Mike Christie located a cite from a 1997 reprint of Ken MacLeod's 1997 "The Stone Canal".
Michael Dolbear submitted a 2002 cite from Lois McMaster Bujold's "Diplomatic Immunity".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1989 cite from a book review column by Norman Spinrad in Asimov's.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1985 cite from Bruce Sterling's "Schismatrix".
Ralf Brown submitted a cite from a 1979 reprint of Robert Silverberg's "Son of Man"; we would like to check the 1971 first edition.
Eric Casteleijn submitted a cite from a 2000 reprint of R.A. Lafferty's "Not to Mention Camels".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from a book review by P. Schuyler Miller of A.E. van Vogt's "Slan".

Last modified 2020-12-21 13:15:33
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.