A tin foil for humanity
April 3, 2012 5:49 AM Subscribe
Please recommend sci-fi featuring “noble” androids.
posted by audi alteram partem to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I’m interested in fiction in any format (short stories, novels, film, etc.) that depicts mechanical life forms in ways that contrast the flaws of humanity.
Here are two examples. In Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns, Hesperus, one of the Machine People, valiantly aids the human protagonists despite humanity’s genocide of another machine race. In Iain Banks’ Against a Dark Background, the android Feril helps the human protagonist who is mired in a conspiracy of religious fanaticism, greed, and megalomania.
I’m most interested in depictions where the robot has humanoid form though it wouldn’t be mistaken for human (so not human facsimile androids like Asimov’s R. Daneel Olivaw, drones or Minds from Banks’ Culture universe, or other artificial intelligences that exist in a “box” e.g. MULTIVAC).
That said, I’m still interested in the contrast of character between machine and human, so I welcome recommendations that include artificial life broadly defined. For instance, I found the interchange between the Hub Mind and Composer Ziller in Banks’ Look to Windward, when the Mind reflects on the horrors of war, particularly compelling.
As I’m looking for machines that contrast human flaws, I’m not interested in evil or psychotic artificial life such as Skynet, HAL, or the computer from “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.” Ethically complex or ambiguous characters, however, are OK so long as there’s some contrast between human and machine.
Thanks for your recommendations.