Author Archives: micaiahrjohnson

History Takes the Laugh Out of Many Things

Far from being a genre of pure imagination, Science Fiction is a category of writing insistently aware of the boundaries of reality. In The Paris Review, Ray Bradbury called it “the art of the possible, never the impossible.” Isaac Asimov characterized… Continue reading

Posted in Alternative history, Asimov, Biology, Bradbury, Clifford D. Simmak, Phillip K Dick, Quantum Mechanics, Steampunk, The City, Turing Test, Ubik, Victorian SF | Comments Off on History Takes the Laugh Out of Many Things

On Making Man

On the outside, the worlds, plots, and protagonists of Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man and Roger Zelazny’s “For a Breath I Tarry” are irreconcilably different. Bester’s world is a technologically advanced 24th Century where some humans have evolved … Continue reading

Posted in SF | Comments Off on On Making Man

The Body, Unignorable

As I write this Italy is reporting its deadliest day since the beginning of the coronavirus. 368 people are dead, and I am reading A.E. Van Vogt’s Slan, Larry Niven’s Ringworld, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake for a module called “Altered Humans –… Continue reading

Posted in Atwood, Biology, Climate Change and Ecology, Coronavirus, dystopia, genetics, Margaret Atwood, Niven, Oryx and Crake, SF, Van Vogt | Comments Off on The Body, Unignorable

Her Brain Proved Wide Enough for My Sky

Usually, texts in which a male creator forms a feminine robot tend to fall into one of two categories. The first, (which I previously discussed here), are essentially sexbot stories – men creating programmable women to be ideal partners without any of … Continue reading

Posted in Ex Machina, Frankenstein, gender, Robert Powers, robots, SF love, Turing Test, uncanny valley | Comments Off on Her Brain Proved Wide Enough for My Sky

Once, They Were Wonders

“What type of worker do you think is best from a practical point of view?” “Oh! Perhaps the one who is most honest and hardworking.” “No. The one that is the cheapest. The one whose requirements are the smallest.” This discussion of robots Karel Čapek’… Continue reading

Posted in Automaton, automatons, Hero of Alexandria, Heron of Alexandria, Inventors, robot saints, robots, SF, Zodoc Dederick | Comments Off on Once, They Were Wonders

She Made Herself

In 8 AD, Pygmalion prays a statue to life to be his wife. In 1886, Ewald enlists a fictional Thomas Edison to create Hadaly, a romantic companion who would have the beauty of a human woman without the pesky spirit. In 2009’s (distressingly orientalist)… Continue reading

Posted in Bacigalupi, Chabon, Cynthia Ozick, eta hoffman, Ex Machina, Fantasy, gender, Golem, Marge Piercy, Michael Chabon, Ozick, Piercy, robots, SF, The Future Eve, The Windup Girl, Turing Test | Comments Off on She Made Herself