Entering the Chthulucene? Making Kin with the Non-human in Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound Trilogy
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s YA Starbound Trilogy takes its readers to a faraway future in which humanity has colonized several foreign planets. This is made possible through the invention of hyperspace travel by engineer and entrepreneur Roderick LaRoux, who—upon discovering that the dimensions affected by this mode of travel are inhabited by a sentient collective consciousness—imprisons and enslaves parts of this consciousness to exploit them to maximize his profits. Throughout the trilogy, six teenage protagonists encounter the imprisoned sentient non-humans (known as “whispers”), form collaborative relationships with them, and eventually set them free. In this article, I argue that while the Starbound Trilogy advocates for multispecies justice through its representation of teenagers who form alliances with non-human beings and stand up to corporate practices exploiting them, the novels ultimately fall short of abandoning their anthropocentric perspective.