You play beautifully


“The menace of the golem and the fascination with automata were fused in the prescient novel The Sandman [1816] by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Reflecting a romantic rebellion against the tyranny of rationalism and intergrating science with the magic of alechemy, The Sandman imagines a sinister automaton – amazing in its simulation but diabolically animated. A mentally unstable young student named Nathaniel, whose father has been killed in an explosion while dabbling in alchemy, exclaims fearfully: “Something terrible has entered my life!” He refers to Olympia, the beautiful daughter of his teacher Professor Spallanzani. His fear has been aroused by her overly precise manner. “She walks with a curiously measured gait; every movement seems as if controlled by clockwork.  Olympia plays the a piano and sings with the “unpleasent soulless regularity of a machine.” Eventually Nathaniel discovers, to his horror, that Olympia is a machine. Seductive and threatening, Olympia influenced a prefigured the aggressive female robots of the future, such as the witch robot Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the nuclear bomb-enhanced cyborg in Eve of Destruction [1991] , or the nanotechnological TX fembot in Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines [2003].

Technophobia!: Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology, by Daniel Dinello. Published by University of Texas Press, 2005. P. 40.


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