An Apartment on Uranus

Paul B. Preciado

Translated by Charlotte Mandell, with a foreword by Virginie Despentes

French paperback with flaps, 280 pages
Published 15 January 2020

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Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system, a frozen giant named after a Greek deity. It is also the inspiration for Uranism, a concept coined by the writer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in 1864 to define the ‘third sex’ and the rights of those who ‘love differently’. Following in Ulrichs’s footsteps, Paul B. Preciado dreams of an apartment on Uranus where he can live, free of the modern power taxonomies of race, gender, class or disability. In this bold and transgressive book, Preciado recounts his transformation from Beatriz into Paul B., and examines other processes of political, cultural and sexual transition, reflecting on socio-political issues including the rise of neo-fascism in Europe, the criminalization of migrants, the harassment of trans children, the technological appropriation of the uterus, and the role artists and museums might play in the writing of a new social contract. A stepchild of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, Preciado argues, with courage and conviction, for a planetary revolution of all living beings against the norm.

frieze 2020 List of Other Futures

‘Paul B. Preciado has the magic ability to fire off imperatives that don’t feel bossy, but rather incite us to join him in whatever crackling energy, urgent curiosity, and dynamic nomadism is flowing through him. Reading these chronological missives offers the real pleasure of Preciado’s company in time, and inspires us not just to stay with our trouble, but to greet it with unstoppable speech, complex solidarity, glitter, and defiance.’ 
— Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

‘An arresting, bold and moving book about crossing boundaries – of body, sex, nation, species and language – by an important dissident of dualism.’
— Amia Srinivasan, author of The Right to Sex

‘Like all of us, it turns out, Preciado was born on Uranus and dragged down to earth against his will. The language of that fall from grace won’t get us home, but at least Preciado helps us imagine what might.’ 
Kevin Brazil, ArtReview

An Apartment on Uranus forces us to remember that our intimacies with ourselves and others, our bodies, even our pleasure – our love affairs – are not distinct from, or untouched by, the biopolitical worlds we exist in.’ 
Bryony White, frieze

‘The writings thread together concepts around the liminal spaces of subjects ranging from language and gender to migration and cities in flux, using a markedly corporeal language that encourages an empathic reading.’

‘Infinitely piercing perceptions on transit, the refugee crisis, the European financial crisis, border-crossings, neo-colonialism, the reassignment of gender identity and exile. An urgency besets these short texts afire with the voice of a “dissident of the sex-gender system” who advocates that ”the entire political space … must begin to transition”. The world needs a trans-becoming and this is its prologue.’
Anthony Hawley, frieze

‘It left me feeling like what I thought was Earth had been another planet all along. My copy is full of exclamation marks in the margins.’
— Alice Wickenden, Totally Dublin

An Apartment on Uranus is essential, and essentially transformative…. It is a book about wanting things to be better and different.’ 
— Alexandra Marraccini, Review 31

‘Utterly radical and breathtakingly beautiful…. Though this book is in no small way a document of that gender transition, it is also a swift and revolutionary reflection on politics, art, technology, and more, from one of the most keen and inspired thinkers of our time. As complex as many of the topics are, the precision and poetic spirit of the writing, and the brevity of each individual piece – each column being approximately 1,500 words – make this a firecracker of a book, something like watching a wrestling match between language and reality.’
— Buzzfeed

An Apartment on Uranus has refreshing takes on identity, boundaries, tourism, gender, nation states, multi-species love and nationalism through a series of short letters. It is written in an engaging and eye-opening way, rather than lecturing or moralising.’
— Jakob Kudsk Steensen, The Arts Newspaper

Praise for Testo Junkie

Testo Junkie is a wild ride. Preciado leaves the identity politics of taking T to others, and instead, in the tradition of William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, and Jean Genet, he conducts a wild textual experiment. The results are spectacular….. The gendered body will never be the same again.’ 
— Jack Halberstam, author of The Queer Art of Failure

‘Paul B. Preciado’s brilliant book oscillates between high theory and the surging rush of testosterone. Flush with elegant theoretical formulations, lascivious sex narratives, and astute histories of gender, Testo Junkie is a key text to comprehend the deep interconnectedness of sex and drugs today.’
— José Esteban Muñoz, author of Cruising Utopia

Read an interview with Paul B. Preciado on i-D

Paul B. Preciado is the author of Counter-Sexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press), Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics (The Feminist Press) and Pornotopia (Zone Books), for which he was awarded the Sade Prize in France. He was Head of Research of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) and Director of the Independent Studies Program (PEI) from 2011 to 2014. From 2014 to 2017 he was the Curator of Public Programmes of documenta 14. He is currently Curator of Public Programmes at the Palais de Tokyo and lives in Paris.

Charlotte Mandell has translated fiction, poetry, and philosophy from the French, including works by Proust, Flaubert, Genet, Maupassant, Blanchot and many other distinguished authors. She has received many accolades and awards for her translations, including a Literature Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for Zone by Mathias Enard. Her translation of Enard’s Compass was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.