Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Avatars and Surrogates: A new theme in Science-fiction?

Three movies this year involve technology that has been practically non-existent in Hollywood, teleoperation. First there was Gamer in September, where people were mind-controlled and used as players in video game like bloodsports. Then a couple weeks later came Surrogates, which was a more realistic portrayal of teleoperation, where people stayed at home and used remotely controlled "Surrogates" to live life. Next month is Avatar, about marines using genetically engineered "avatars" to conquer an alien planet. How did Hollywood learn about this?

My guess is the popularity of MMORG's, especially Second Life. Surrogates in particular seems to be referencing the internet. It could be a suggestion that people are increasingly trying to escape real life through the net, that would of course be the obvious one. Well, Gamer and Avatar are trying to emphasize the whole Humans are Bastards meme that is so popular now.


Anonymous said...

If you haven't seen it already, io9 points out how eerily similar Avatar is to Poul Anderson's 'Call me Joe'.

I would also like to point you to 'Old Man's War' by John Scalzi. It's rife with the whole surrogates theme.

ZarPaulus said...

Yeah, well, "popular" science-fiction is completely different from "classic" science-fiction. Hollywood tends to feature whatever they think will attract the most people (and they know most people are stupid).