and Identity: Seeing the Through Eyes

Yvonne A. De La Cruz

"Individual stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all." -

For a long as we can remember, storytelling have pertaining to human : Why are has been an integral part of we here? What is our purpose? What makes between people. It is and has been a way to … well, humans? The answers we connect with others through , thoughts, seek are not easy to come by. and dreams. Stories began as an oral , meshing lessons with ; As has passed, our questions however, as human advanced and concerning human existence have come to the the of came about, the forefront of Science Fiction storytelling. The storytelling format began to change. Oral of molding and shaping a human-like transformed into written stories, and figure with human and those have become the center of our has become prominent in the storytelling process. Books and screenplays examination of the human psyche in order to are now the of the stories we tell, study our human selves. Although the while televised and feature are creation of artificial is a currently the hub of our entertainment pleasure. existent in Science Fiction, the concept was first addressed by in her classic As we look at the advancement of , . Shelley’s novel attempts technology alongside the storytelling element, to highlight both the glories and the flaws of it’s hard to ignore the role that both science humanity by placing a human man in the and Science Fiction within story position of God and, thereby, having him lines. Just as science has become partner in a become a Creator of Life. Yet, the novel also vital relationship with technological places emphasis on human behavior—such as advancement, Science Fiction has become an anger and compassion—and questions important aspect of storytelling. Together, pertaining to whether human behavior is a science and Science Fiction enhance both the learned trait or an innate quality. If a childlike moralistic teaching and the entertainment creation is able to learn human behavior, does aspects within storytelling by addressing new that make him, her, or it human? This concepts developed in technology and by question is represented throughout Shelley’s providing further insights into human story, and it has become such a prevalent behavior. As Science Fiction writers question that Science Fiction writers have incorporate science into their , they adopted it as a major theme. The use of this attempt a search for answers beyond any idea in order to attempt to define humanity boundaries that might limit explanations and human behavior has continued in Science concerning humans and human behavior. Fiction works like Isaac Asimov’s I, Thus, Science Fiction writers have triggered a and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of human fascination with questions that we may Electric Sheep. Both of these are examples of how Science Fiction begins to searches for the love and of his venture into further territories of human creator. Shelley’s novel also presents the inquiry. Writers and readers of Science concept of the “,” Fiction would agree that the provides a which is a common theme in Asimov’s work, higher level of examination to the study of the and it is also an idea that has continued into human psyche because there are no many Science Fiction novels that have boundaries placed within the realm of Science followed. The “Frankenstein Complex” is a Fiction. The concepts that are highlighted in term used to describe the eminent that both Asimov’s and Dick’s novels are humanity has of artificial creation. Whether it extensively addressed in the re-imagined is from the fear that God (our parent in the show . In this parent/child relationship) will punish us for series, attempts to define humanity and search our sins of creation or because we are afraid for the answers to individual existence are that our creations will trump our power and furthered by the creation of Artificial establish a position above us, the Intelligence and by humanity’s response to “Frankenstein Complex” seems to drive our that creation. My shows that Science behavior concerning the creation of Artificial Fiction as a genre addresses the limits of Intelligence. Here, it is argued that that when human experience by using the creation and the parent/child dynamic is coupled with the development of to “Frankenstein Complex,” it can be used as a define humanity. I analyze these novels of effective lens through which to view all of the Shelley, Asimov, and Dick, their movie works I discuss. counterparts, and the Battlestar Galactica, using the parent/child Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot is a collection of dynamic and Asimov’s notion of a short stories based on the creation of non- “Frankenstein Complex” as a lens to view and human looking with added explain human behavior. intelligence, which makes them more human- like. This collection also presents the concept The parent/child dynamic is prevalent in of the “Frankenstein Complex” in almost all of the storylines I discuss, and it is a every storyline. Asimov also attempts to concept that may help us to better understand define humanness as he furthers the idea of ourselves whether we are placed in the man’s role as the creator of Artificial position of parent—as an figure—or Intelligence. However, he seems to be child. We may also better identify with the highlighting the benefits rather than the creation of A.I. if we see ourselves as the dangers of Artificial Intelligence for all child in our parent/child relationship with mankind. The first story in the collection, God. For example, the parent/child dynamic “,” depicts a powerful relationship between the Creator and his Creation in Mary between a nursemaid robot—named Robbie Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the foremost after its model number RB—and a young girl. themes that helps us to reflect on our own The mother of the girl becomes fearful of her relationship with God, because not only does child’s loving and playful relationship with Dr. Frankenstein place himself in the role of the robot (perhaps because she herself does Creator and God, but he also becomes father not have such a relationship with her to the child he has created. This relationship is daughter) and persuades her husband to get identified through the “”’s continual rid of the child’s playmate. It is clear that referrals to Dr. Frankenstein as his father. Robbie’s nursemaid attributes benefit the little Therefore, being children of God ourselves, girl, and once Robbie is , she refuses to we can identify with the monster who make any further efforts toward a loving relationship. Here, the “Frankenstein storylines nowadays—is highly geared around Complex” is evident within the girl’s mother, the “Frankenstein Complex.” The is who fears Robbie because he seems to be different than most of Asimov’s stories where taking on a human role. Also, Asimov some of the humans allow the A.I. to assert presents a struggle in the parent/child control of a situation because it is still dynamic by first placing Robbie in the completing the task given, and there seems to position of parent over the little girl and then be no to change the system that is having the mother attempt to re-assert her role working. In essence, Proyas’ film depicts a as parent over her child. By eliminating different undertone throughout the movie than Robbie from the family, the mother that which appears in Asimov’s establishes her power of authority over collection: in the written stories there are no Robbie; thereby, reducing his role of parent to humans trying to play God in order to assert that of a child as well. At the same time, control over the A.I. creations, and most of Asimov is intimating that the downfall of the humans are able to find a symbiotic humanity comes not from the literal balance in living with their creations. destruction of humanity at the hands of Artificial Intelligence, but by humanity’s own Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids hands because of human’s distrust of other Dream of Electric Sheep, provides a clear beings, coupled with the need to assert control example of the parent/child dynamic with the over beings they deem inferior. Asimov’s creators of Artificial Intelligence—identified ideas about A.I. development in concert with as the Rosen Association—beginning to the possible downfall of humanity are morph into a God-like entity. Dick’s work twofold: that robots are not “ that raises the question of humanness by [would] destroy their creators, because… portraying the Nexus-6 androids, or “Andys,” people who build robots will also know (known as Replicants in the enough to build safeguards into them”; and, movie version) as biologically human in that when the time comes, if “robots are representation with the to learn and sufficiently intelligent to replace” humanity, adapt to human behavior. We are able to then they should (Ingersoll 68-69). All of identify with these androids due to our own these concepts are clearly present throughout parent/child relationship with God, and also the remainder of Asimov’s collection. because their reasoning for revolt is equivalent to our basic human instinct: the In of I, want and need for survival. The Robot, he successfully incorporates all of the “Frankenstein Complex” is fully flushed out ideas that exist in the storylines of Asimov’s in this story because the , Deckard, collection, and he incorporates the concepts of is hired to “retire”—that is, kill—the “Andys” parent/child dynamic along with the because of their revolt. Here, the “Andys” are “Frankenstein Complex” are quite attempting to gain a higher status in their successfully. There is clearly a parent/child parent/child relationship, yet humans are relationship evident between the robot Sonny attempting to maintain their control, or and his creator Dr. Lanning, while Detective dominance, over those they see as lesser Del Spooner thoroughly represents the beings. Dick’s novel seems to highlight the “Frankenstein Complex.” However, at looming disaster that may come when humans of the movie, the need for humans to maintain begin to play God, reversing their role into authority and control over the lesser beings— position as Creator, thus changing their place the robots—refers back to the idea that this in the parent/child dynamic. storyline—as with most Science Fiction The film production of Dick’s novel, positive and enlightening journey towards Blade Runner—directed by Ridley Scott— answering the questions we all have about furthers the attempt to define humanity life. Even though Asimov does warn about through the creation of A.I. by using and the possibilities of disaster that are feasible emphasizing the parent/child dynamic and the upon creating artificial life, he points out that “Frankenstein Complex,” which are the most these dangers are only made possible through apparent themes in the novel. The goal of the human fears pertaining to A.I. development. protagonist Deckard is to find and kill all of Either way, all of these storytellers, both in the renegade Replicants, who rebel because the written works and their cinematic they are attempting to avoid being terminated. versions, depict the destruction of humanity In one scene, Roy Batty—the leader of the as the fault of humans themselves. rebel Replicants—appears to his Creator—the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation—to ask for As Science Fiction has become more and more life. When this request is denied, Batty more popular, the concept of Artificial kills his creator, an that clearly represents Intelligence development has become an Man’s destruction of God. In both of these increasingly prevalent storyline. There have major plot lines, Scott has utilized both the been many movies, television shows, and parent/child dynamic and the “Frankenstein even anime films that have brought the idea Complex” in order to highlight the question of of A.I. and android creation to the attention of what it means to be human. By the end of the the average movie/television viewer. Film movie, Deckard begins to sympathize with trilogies like and The Terminator one Replicant, Rachel, with whom he has a utilize the “Frankenstein Complex” to further romantic interlude and falls in love. There is concerns about the creation and development also an implication at the end that Deckard of A.I.—particularly with the creation of himself is a Replicant, a notion that plays with robots and androids—and their effect on the the idea that human qualities and behaviors evolution of humanity. These storylines also may not only belong to humans if these take into account the parent/child dynamic as qualities and behaviors are able to be lived humanity (the parent) attempts to assert and learned by other beings such as Artificial control over Artificial Intelligence (the child). Intelligence. In the anime film, Vexille, the parent/child dynamic is furthered when one scientist All of these novels place focus on man’s creates a virus that would transform all assumption that he can create life and take it humans into . His reasoning behind away as he sees fit, which is a concept that is this transformation is to give humans eternal at the hub of the parent/child relationship I life. However, near the end of the film, it is discuss. Also, these works begin to highlight clear that the scientist’s true motive for the the question as to whether or not Artificial creation of the virus is to gain control Intelligence is an “intelligent design” to begin over all humanity. Thus, the parent—the with. Both Shelley’s and Dick’s works seem scientist—is attempting to assert ultimate to point a shameful finger towards those who control over his children—humans who have choose to venture onto the path of creating been transformed into Cyborgs. By simply Artificial Intelligence, thereby, highlighting viewing these and other storylines that the “Frankenstein Complex.” They seem to involve the creation of Artificial Intelligence, shape a cloud of condemnation hovering over on any level, it is clear that we are fascinated the Creators’ decisions to create life and then by the clockworks of humanity. Our want and destroy it. Asimov, on the other hand, seems need to find out what makes humans human to be inviting the idea of A.I. creation as a has come to the forefront of Science Fiction storytelling, and we are using this genre to learns to appreciate all life no if human help us flush out those answers. or Cylon). Sharon Agathon, another human- like Cylon, also evolves as the show In many of its recent storylines, the re- progresses because of her love for her imagined television series Battlestar husband—human Karl “Helo” Agathon—and Galactica, broadens the scope of the the daughter that both share. Evidently, it is examination we are undertaking. The basis of through love and becoming an individual this series is the creation of A.I.—also known apart from the rest of the Cylon singularity as the Cylons—and the destruction of that both and Sharon are able to humanity at the hands of that creation. The develop their human-like qualities (Moore center of this story is much like many other 109). Through the examination of Caprica, Science Fiction storylines that involve A.I. Sharon, and other Cylon models like them, it and android creation. Man creates Cylon as is clear that the series’ creators have enabled help to relieve him of the stresses of everyday themselves to explore a new area of A.I. life, Cylon gains consciousness and rebels creation that might answer questions of what because it no longer wants to be a slave to it means to be human. Although this series man. However, the re-imagined Battlestar unmistakably uses the “Frankenstein Galactica begins to take up further questions Complex” and the parent/child dynamic in the about the definition of humanity by opening episodes of the series, later on it is incorporating both religious theology and able to venture closer to the definition of . The Cylons, who now look like humanity by adding religious theology and flesh and human beings, return to the philosophy to the storyline. twelve of Kobol—the designated home base of humanity—after a forty-year As Science Fiction continues to leave of absence in order to destroy incorporate the creation and development of “humanity’s children” because it is the “will Artificial Intelligence into its storylines, the of God.” (Battlestar Galactica: The definition of what it means to be human will ). The Cylons entire reasoning for change and grow as well. The storytellers of the destruction of man stems from a belief in this type of storyline are clearly interested in a one true God, while the humans still believe coming to an ultimate definition of this in a polytheistic faith based on many of the question. It is interesting to see that the Greek Gods we are familiar with. This small creators of all of these stories have used the seed planted within the storyline grows and “Frankenstein Complex” and the parent/child changes the story as it evolves from season to dynamic to place emphasis on our human season. The Cylons are looked at from a fears and control issues in order to attempt to viewer’s perspective as becoming more and define humanity, and perhaps as this type of more human-like because we are able to storyline develops in Science Fiction, more identify with some of the human qualities that writers and storytellers will incorporate other are inherent in the Cylons’ belief system. concepts—just as the writers of Battlestar With this concept in , we are able to Galactica have—in order to encourage follow the human learning capabilities of one attempts at a more clear definition. Even so, Cylon—Caprica 6—as she transforms from as the actual creation of Artificial Intelligence an obvious machine (she breaks the neck of develops and changes, these questions have an infant in the miniseries in order to observe become even more relevant. The storylines the fragility of human life) to a loving and concerning A.I. are not only pertinent because understanding human-like being (as she loves we wish to define ourselvesm but we also find another human being, becomes pregnant, and interest in this topic because the possibility of creating A.I. with the ability to adapt to and we would want to have over our creations. In learn human behavior is very real. With A.I. the end, perhaps the biggest fear we have, as technology advances almost literally we give in to our fears and loosen our control knocking on our front door, fear of losing over A.I. creations, comes to this: If we create control has become omnipresent. Although A.I. in human likeness and consciousness, do Science Fiction is in fiction, there is a we threaten to rid ourselves of the very things popular belief that the science behind it may that make us human in the first place? become very real. It is in this that we ask Perhaps the loss of our place in humanity is ourselves if the fears we have are plausible the reason why we hold onto our fears and and whether we are able to assert the control attempt to keep that control.

Works Cited

Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries. Dir. Michael Rymer. Perf. , Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, , , Grace Parks, Michael Hogan. DVD. Sci Fi Channel, 2003. Film.

Ingersoll, Earl G., Isaac Asimov, Gregory Fitzgerald, Jack Wolf, Joshua Duberman, and Robert Philmus. "A with Isaac Asimov." Mar 1987: 68-77. JSTOR. Library. State University, Stanislaus. Web.9 Feb 2009. .

Moore, Robert W.. ""To Be a Person": Sharon Agathon and the Social Expression of Individuality." Cylons in America: Critical Studies in Battlestar Galactica. Ed. Tiffany Potter and C.W. Marshall. New York: The Continuum International Group, Inc., 2008.

Works Consulted

Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's of Science and Discovery. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot. New York: Bantam Dell, 1950.

Asimov, Isaac, and Karen A. Frenkel. Robots: Machines in Man's Image. New York: Harmony Books, 1985.

Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy. Ed. Josef Steiff and Tristan D. Tamplin. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 2008.

Bladerunner. Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, , Edward James Olmos, Darryl Hannah. DVD. Warner Bros, 1982.

Cylons in America: Critical Studies in Battlestar Galactica. Ed. Tiffany Potter and C.W. Marshall. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc., 2008.

Dick, Phillip K.. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. New York: Balllantine Books, 1968.

Frankenstein. Dir. James Whale. Perf. Colin Clive, Mae Clark, John Boles, Boris Karloff. DVD. , 1931.

Goss, Theodore and John Paul Riquelme. "From to : The Gothic Technological Imaginary in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis." Modern Fiction Studies 2007: 434-459. Project Muse. MUSE. California State University, Stanislaus. 29 Mar 2008 .

Gunn, James. Isaac Asimov, the Foundations of Science Fiction. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005.

Herman, William E., and Bryan K. Herman. "Humanistic Themes in Science Fiction: An Interview with David A. Kyle." The Humanistic Psychologist 2006: 263-280. Project Muse. MUSE. California State University, Stanislaus. 12 Apr 2008 .

I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas. Perf. , , Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell. DVD. 20th Century Fox, 2004.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Dir. Kenneth Branaugh. Perf. , Kenneth Branaugh, Helena Bonhan Carter, Aiden Quinn, . DVD. TriStar Pictures, 1994.

Pinker, Steven. "Toward A Consilient Study of ." Philosophy and Literature Apr 2007: 162-178. Project Muse. MUSE. California State University, Stanislaus. 12 Apr 2008 .

Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Odditites: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick. Ed. Patricia S. Warrick and Martin H. Greenberg. Southern Illinois University Press, 1984.

Science Fiction Writers: Critical Studies of the Major from Early Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. Ed. E. F. Bleiler. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2003.

So Say We All: An Unauthorized Collection of Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica. Ed. Richard Hatch. Dallas: Benbella Books, Inc., 2006.