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Gothic Romance

Gothic Science Fiction: 1818 to the Present by S. MacArthur

By S. MacArthur

Gothic technological know-how Fiction explores the interesting international of gothic motivated technology fiction. From Frankenstein to health care provider Who and from H.G Wells to Stephen King, the booklet charts the increase of a style and follows the descent into darkness that consumes it.

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Gothic Science Fiction: 1818 to the Present

Gothic technology Fiction explores the interesting global of gothic motivated technological know-how fiction. From Frankenstein to general practitioner Who and from H. G Wells to Stephen King, the publication charts the increase of a style and follows the descent into darkness that consumes it.

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34 Moving away from the purely fictional and into the realms of the almost real it is impossible to analyse fictional Mad Scientists of this particular period without giving some consideration to the portrayal of the ultimate in Mad Scientists, the very real Josef Mengele and the way in which he is depicted in Ira Levin’s superb thriller The Boys from Brazil (1976). It is rare in all types of fiction to find main characters that are actually real people as opposed to fictional creations, but it is even rarer to find this happening within the Gothic, which is a genre that traditionally shies away from making acute or definite social or political comment, instead relying upon metaphor to get its point and meaning across.

Human in form Dr Octopus gets his name from the four huge tentacle like structures that are fused to his body following a nuclear explosion. With the ability to operate these extra ‘arms’ just as one would move his or her own natural arms, Dr Octopus quickly became a formidable enemy and one of the most easily recognisable of Spider-Man’s foes. Octavius, like Julius No, is a Psychopathic Scientist and, also like No, actively enjoys the terror and destruction that he causes. Deeply immersed in the world of immoral science Octopus has experimented with human-insect fusion – experiments that were successful – and again there is scope to read this as an attempt by his creator to bestow upon Octopus a Nazi ideology that is entirely relevant to the period in which he was created.

Based on the short story of the same name by Isaac Asimov, both the book and the film follow the attempts made by the robots (under the influence of artificially intelligent controller VIKI) to break out of their role as public servants and, by careful manipulation of the first law of robotics, strengthen the human race by the eradication of the weak amongst them. At the heart of this often repetitive and fairly predictable theme is the underlying mistrust of robots and fears regarding the role that humans will occupy should we continue to delegate our jobs to them and persist in making ourselves more dependent upon them.

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