Difference between revisions of "Machine Man"

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(Created page with "UNDER CONSTRUCTION '''Barry, Max. ''Machine Man''.''' New York: Vintage-Random House, 2011. "A Vintage Contemporaries Original." Very-near-future or contemporary satire mo...")
 
 
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The protagonist-Narrator is Charles Neumann, Ph.D., whose name may be suggestive for many readers: Charles Darwin and evolution, plus John von Neumann for many things, including what we now call cybernetics and for self-replicating "von Neumann machines."[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann] Quoting part of the Wikipedia synopsis,
 
The protagonist-Narrator is Charles Neumann, Ph.D., whose name may be suggestive for many readers: Charles Darwin and evolution, plus John von Neumann for many things, including what we now call cybernetics and for self-replicating "von Neumann machines."[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann] Quoting part of the Wikipedia synopsis,
  Charles Neumann is a mechanical engineer working at Better Future, a military research company. After losing one of his legs in a hydraulic clamp, he begins to tinker with leg prosthetics. The replacements he builds are so advanced that he amputates his remaining leg in order to make full use of them. [...] ¶ Over the course of events, Neumann gradually replaces more body parts with machinery, suffering various psychological side effects in the process. After first being rebuilt from the neck down as a machine soldier, his mind is eventually uploaded into a computer.[]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Man_(novel)
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  Charles Neumann is a mechanical engineer working at Better Future, a military research company. After losing one of his legs in a hydraulic clamp, he begins to tinker with leg prosthetics. The replacements he builds are so advanced that he amputates his remaining leg in order to make full use of them. [...] ¶ Over the course of events, Neumann gradually replaces more body parts with machinery, suffering various psychological side effects in the process. After first being rebuilt from the neck down as a machine soldier, his mind is eventually uploaded into a computer.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Man_(novel)]
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The novel begins with the sentence, "As a boy, I wanted to be a train" and develops this idea with great economy in a short paragraph ending "What I liked was pretending my body was two hundred tons of unstoppable steel. Imagining I was pistons and valves and hydraulic compressors." When a friend suggests young Charles wants to play robots, that doesn't seem right to Charles, who doesn't like general-purpose devices doing many things badly. He "was not a fan of robots. They were bad machines" (p. [3], end of page. Stories like C. L. Moore's "[[No Woman Born]]" and Damon Knight's "[[Masks]]" show characters dehumanized within machine bodies; Charles Neumann may fulfill ''part'' of himself with total prosthesis, and then digitalization and going from mechanical to cybernetic.
  
  

Latest revision as of 20:47, 15 August 2019

UNDER CONSTRUCTION


Barry, Max. Machine Man. New York: Vintage-Random House, 2011. "A Vintage Contemporaries Original."

Very-near-future or contemporary satire moving into SF themes on prosthesis, in the tradition of, among other works, Bernard Wolfe's Limbo, dealing with cyborg transformation toward the "transhuman," personality uploading into a computer, and other tropes on the human/machine interface and interpenetration.

The protagonist-Narrator is Charles Neumann, Ph.D., whose name may be suggestive for many readers: Charles Darwin and evolution, plus John von Neumann for many things, including what we now call cybernetics and for self-replicating "von Neumann machines."[1] Quoting part of the Wikipedia synopsis,

Charles Neumann is a mechanical engineer working at Better Future, a military research company. After losing one of his legs in a hydraulic clamp, he begins to tinker with leg prosthetics. The replacements he builds are so advanced that he amputates his remaining leg in order to make full use of them. [...] ¶ Over the course of events, Neumann gradually replaces more body parts with machinery, suffering various psychological side effects in the process. After first being rebuilt from the neck down as a machine soldier, his mind is eventually uploaded into a computer.[2]

The novel begins with the sentence, "As a boy, I wanted to be a train" and develops this idea with great economy in a short paragraph ending "What I liked was pretending my body was two hundred tons of unstoppable steel. Imagining I was pistons and valves and hydraulic compressors." When a friend suggests young Charles wants to play robots, that doesn't seem right to Charles, who doesn't like general-purpose devices doing many things badly. He "was not a fan of robots. They were bad machines" (p. [3], end of page. Stories like C. L. Moore's "No Woman Born" and Damon Knight's "Masks" show characters dehumanized within machine bodies; Charles Neumann may fulfill part of himself with total prosthesis, and then digitalization and going from mechanical to cybernetic.