Department header
Bewildering Stories

Special Challenge 243

Gary Inbinder asks about Female Androids

Female androids, aka gynoids or fembots, play key roles in my novel and Ásgrímur’s “Meat Puppets.”

What roles do female androids play in Noble Lies and “Meat Puppets.” What do both stories have to say about gender relations? Male fantasies? Socio-economic, race and gender discrimination? Can you think of some literary precedents?

I suppose the earliest precedent I can think of in the “male fantasy” category is the myth of Pygmalion. As for socio-economic, race and gender discrimination Fritz Lang’s Metropolis comes to mind. In that film, the female robot leads a workers’ revolt and becomes a symbol or image reminiscent of Delacroix’s painting Liberty Leading the People.

Of course, Blade Runner, based on Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, deals with similar themes. Not to mention Isaac Asimov’s novels, and Bill Bowler’s android stories.

In “Meat Puppets,” one interesting twist would be to transform Elfa into a monster emerging from the darkest side of Jonas’s subconscious, like the monster from the id, in Forbidden Planet, which itself was in part based on Shakespeare’s Caliban. Then Jonas would be in a similar position to Morbius, Prospero, Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein, i.e. he’d attempt to subdue or destroy the monster(s) he created.


Copyright © 2007 by Gary Inbinder

Elfa also evokes a time-honored theme in science fiction: the shape-shifter. At the beginning, she changes her appearance rather subtly, but the reader can easily imagine a sight gag: Jonas turns around and finds that Elfa has morphed into someone else entirely while he wasn’t looking.


Home Page