by Heather Massey at The Galaxy Express: Zoomorphism in Science Fiction—In or Out?
I’m at a point in my life as a reader where I’m starting to question the role of zoomorphism in science fiction, and by extension, science fiction romance. Despite the fact that I’m a fan of fare such as V and even THUNDERCATS once upon a time, I’m wondering if I’ve outgrown stories wherein alien characters possess an animal form.
To clarify, I don’t mean an alien animal form—I mean humanoid aliens that resemble Earth animals like reptiles, wolves, or pigs. To paraphrase Kevin Smith from his CLERKS screenplay, “JEDI was a bunch of Muppets.” Talking pigs from the planet Pigsty in the Hoggerian Galaxy would be fine in a book if I were 10. But I’m not. I need some degree of verisimilitude to engage me.
I think my concern is when the alien is described solely in terms of his/her animalistic tendencies (e.g., an alien with tentacles that resembles is pretty much an Earth-based octopus). Assuming an author isn’t employing zoomorphism on an allegorical or metaphorical basis, there are times when its use strikes me as superficial worldbuilding.
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by Casey Kazan at Daily Galaxy: Intelligent Robots Will Explore Milky Way by 2020 -A Galaxy Insight
In line with the new US space strategy focus on new technologies, before the year 2020, scientists are expected to launch intelligent space robots that will venture out to explore the universe for us.
“Robotic exploration probably will always be the trail blazer for human exploration of far space,” says Wolfgang Fink, physicist and researcher at Caltech. “We haven’t yet landed a human being on Mars but we have a robot there now. In that sense, it’s much easier to send a robotic explorer. When you can take the human out of the loop, that is becoming very exciting.”
While Fink is encouraged by the progress made by missions such as the Mars Phoenix and its robotic arm, he emphasizes that the link between human and robot needs to be eliminated, allowing robots to make their own decisions on what science needs to be carried out. In reference to the Phoenix’s robotic arm he said, “The arms are the tools, but it’s about the intent to move the arms. That’s what we’re after. To have the robot know that something there is interesting and that’s where it needs to go and then to go get a sample from it. That’s what we’ve after. You want to get rid of the joystick, in other words. You want the system to take control of itself and then basically use its own tools to explore.”
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By Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9: The Science Of Metal Fever, Or How To Build Your Sexbot
Futurama showed us a world with space travel, robot sidekicks, and Al Gore riding the Mighty Moon Worm, but what really made hearts beat faster were the downloadable Lucy Liu robots. How close are we to robot lovin’?
Personality: IBM has already created an artificial intelligence as smart as a cat. From cat intelligence to human intelligence would be a huge step, but not insurmountable. But I don’t think that celebrities like Lucy Liu will be the ones to have their personalities duplicated. It’s much more likely that people will choose characters that Liu has portrayed, and have those personalities imprinted on the robots. Given the intelligence level of characters in most movies, we might not have to wait a millennium for this to be possible.
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I agree with the zoomorphism article, because it seems almost lazy sometimes. The most realistic aliens are the ones thathave thought behind them (like District 9). And it would be amazing to see far reaches of the galaxy with probes, I imagine it would start to change what we know about physics fairly quickly.
What’s your favorite sci fi alien? If you had your own robot, who would you “download”?