While I agree that robots are often used to symbolize the “other,” I think we as humans require that “other” to define ourselves as human. We cannot see ourselves unless we can define what we are not (Foucault, Derrida, etc.), but in doing this we often rely on other cultures, languages, or skin colors as the other.
One thing that intrigued me was the disparate social setups portrayed in Stephenson’s novel. Very quickly, the “traditional” Chinese culture still operated a rudimentary government: developing law, maintaining a civil court system (of a sort) as well as executive functions in the form of police. In a Western trope of the East reaching back to Marco Polo, the executive head remains cloaked in secrecy and indirect. Continue reading
In thinking about the virtual- and science- based fiction narrative, and its intersection with racial and postcolonial criticism, I questioned whether authors employ intentionality in making decisions regarding setting, theme, characters, and etc. While Nakamura’s article implies intentionality at least to a degree, especially for Gibson’s settings (64), and Stephenson’s cultural institutions (70), it seems that the rest of the story characteristics flow from the creative intuition. Continue reading