Speculative Fiction, Post Human Desire and Inquiry of Currere


  • Morna McDermott McNulty Towson University


vampires, narrative inquiry, currere, postcolonialism, fiction


Every generation has its monsters. They evoke our deepest desires, our fears, and our curiosities. They are the unknown…the uncontrollable; fraught with terror and possibility. Possibility oftentimes emerges through fiction. Fiction is not the opposite of fact; it is the opposite of finitude. While it is defensible to assert that reality exists beyond texts, much of what we think of as “real” is—and can only be—apprehended through fictional texts. Monsters are us. They reflect and refract our fragmented collective and individual identities. Blood’s Will: Speculative Fiction, Existence and Inquiry of Currere (McNulty, 2018) which is the focus of this presentation, offers a philosophical treatise by virtue of its speculative fiction genre, which enables the author and the characters to examine inquiry and existence in imaginative ways not limited by definitive proofs. This narrative inquiry novel centers on a complicated love story between a mortal woman and vampire. But the story is also about free will, identity, and possibilities of existence. The vampire’s existence serves as a fictionalized example of the inquiry of currere and the exploration of “possibility” that depends not on being rationalized, but on being “poeticized,” as happens through speculative fiction. In this story, currere is perceived through the role of the author’s own autobiography in shaping the story. Campbell and Finn (the main characters) both explore (process, cycle, examine, and return to) their intertwined life journeys as an example of how fictional characters can exemplify the four stages of currere inquiry. Choosing a love-story-in-crisis—between a mortal and supernatural character was intentional, as the options and issues illustrated in their relationship are distinctly different than they would have been had both characters been limited by mortality. The process of writing a work of auto-fiction, as well as the narrative of this story itself, both serve as process of inquiry as possibilities, which embodies, “the middle passage, that passage in which movement is possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar, to estrangement, then to a transformed situation” (Pinar, Reynolds,  Slattery, & Taubman, 1995, p. 548). Given that the vampire “never dies,” one might assume the journey across and between the four stages could go on in perpetuity. What possibilities might lie beyond our current finitudes? The role of un-death provided the trope necessary to examine the more existential questions that confront us mortals—the author wrestles with the same questions as the characters. Both the writing process and narrative product remind us that, “We are not the stories we tell as much as we are the modes of relations our stories imply, modes of relations implied by what we delete as much as what we include” (Pinar, 1994, p. 218). The role of the novel in inquiry is to implode boundaries, to invite possibility, and offer an example of writing our ficto-currere. Campbell’s ultimate “un-demise” embodies the notion of this possibility beyond freedoms and limits …a “transformed” situation; her transformation signifying transformative possibilities of inquiry of self and fictional texts.