Jacking In to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation

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Kapell, Matthew and William G. Doty, eds. Jacking In to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation. New York: Continuum, 2004. Reviewed by Andrew M. Butler, "Tune In, Jack In, Drop Out."Science Fiction Studies #96 = 32.2 (July 2005): 333-39 (directly on pp. 336-39) — our initial source for this entry, [1] later supplemented with the Wikipedia discussion.[2]

From the Wikipedia "Overview": "Jacking In to the Matrix Franchise examines the films, video and computer games, comics, anime short films and other aspects of the franchise. The book is organized as a series of essays on the cultural and religious implications of the Matrix franchise, including gender, race, ethics, religion, and cybernetics."[3]

Essays as listed in Wikipedia article and checked against image on Amazon.com:[4]

    [1] "Welcome to the Sexual Spectacle: The Female Heroes in the Franchise" by Martina Lipp
   [2] "Is Neo white?: Reading Race, Watching the Trilogy" by C. Richard King and David J. Leonard
   [3] "Religion, Community, and Revitalization: Why Cinematic Myth Resonates" by Richard R. Jones
   [4] "Story, Product, Franchise: Images of Postmodern Cinema" by Bruce Isaacs and Theodore Louis Trost
   [5] "Fascist Redemption or Democratic Hope?" by John Shelton Lawrence
   [6] "Stopping Bullets: Constructions of Bliss and Problems of Violence" by Frances Flannery-Dailey and Rachel L. Wagner
   [7] "The Déjà-vu Glitch in the Matrix Trilogy" by Michael Sexson
   [8] "Visions of Hope, Freedom of Choice, and the Alleviation of Social Misery: A Pragmatic Reading of the Matrix Franchise" by Stephanie J. Wilhelm and Matthew Kapell
   ]9] "Biomorph: The Posthuman Thing" by Gray Kochhar-Lindgren
   [10] "Strange Volutions: The Matrix Franchise as a Posthuman Memento Mori" by Timothy Mizelle and Elizabeth Baker
   [11] "Try the Blue Pill: What's Wrong With Life in a Simulation?" by Russell Blackford

Note in addition, "Introduction" by one editor, William G. Doty, "The Deeper We Go, the More Complex and Sophisticated the Franchise Seems, and the Dizzier We Feel"; "Conclusion" by the other editor, Matthew Kapell, "At the Edge of the World, Again"; and full scholarly apparatus.

Butler notes that the editors, "Wilhelm and Kapell attempt to escape from both modernist and postmodernist categories, in favor of a utopian vision [for THE MATRIX films]. For them the trilogy ends with the sense of human agency and machine capabilities, the incorporation of 'the traditions or myths of that past and a grand narrative of progress' (138). [...] I’m not so sure whether this does not simply mistake the simulation for the real; perhaps a better fictional future might inspire the possibility of a better real future, but I don’t see many of the machines around me learning anything as they enslave us, nor for that matter do we humans find it that easy to learn" (Butler p. 338).[5]

Note especially Gray Kochhar-Lindgren's "Biomorph: The Posthuman Thing," which has as a kind of log-line in the anthology's Table of Contents, "Machine plus human plus computer software: things, they are a-changing."

RDE, finishing, 3Sep19