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Comparing the Theme of Technology Versus Nature in Frankenstein and Neuromancer

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Technology Versus Nature in Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gibson’s Neuromancer

 
      At first glance, a comparison of Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gibson’s Neuromancer could seem rather irrelevant having in mind that these two works are separated by more than a century. During this lapse of time, humanity has witnessed profound changes at a breath-taking speed. The partly Gothic and partly Romantic world of Mary Shelley is quite different from the reality Gibson predicts. We could not say, however, that there are no links between the two. Shelley's work could be viewed as the apprehension of the new-born fear in regard to technical invention and Gibson's work as the divination of the consequences of technological development and sophistication. In both cases the essence of human nature has barely changed. It is what lies behind the destructive human strife for more, more at any price that has led to the despondent conclusions of both works.

 

Indispensable to understanding the complexity of the problem of technology, in both Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and William Gibson's Neuromancer, is the historical context in which the two were written. Whereas Frankenstein was written in a period of dramatic change - that of the Industrial revolution, in Neuromancer, Gibson echoes the opinion of economists who believe that we are currently experiencing the beginning of a profound economic revolution, due to the breakthroughs in information and communication technology, and which some believe is equal in magnitude to the industrial revolution. The second leitmotif of my research is that of nature in reference to technology. Here I describe the relation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to technology and some of the crucial issues co...


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... Stephen. York Notes on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Longman York Press, 1992.

Bloom, Harold and Golding, William. Modern Critical Views on Mary Shelley. Edited with an introduction by Harold Bloom. Chelsea House Publishers, New York, 1985.

Forester, Tom. The Information Technology Revolution. Edited and introduced by Tom Forester. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1985.

Borgmann, Albert. Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. A Philosophical Inquiry. The University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Leebaert, Derek. Technology 2001. The Future of Computing and Communications. Edited by Derek Leebaert. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Third printing, 1991.

Michie, Donald and Johnston, Rory. The Knowledge Machine. Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Man. William Morrow and Company, Inc., NY., 1985.

 

 

 

 


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