"What's all this science fiction stuff doing in OT anyway?"


Let's talk about Entropy...

Hamish: There's something very important I forgot
        to tell you.
Jim:    What?
Hamish: Don't cross the entropic streams.
Jim:    Why?
Hamish: It would be bad.
Jim:    I'm fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing. Whattya
        mean "bad?"
Hamish: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping
        instantaneously and every molecule in your body
        exploding at the speed of light.
Dave:   Total protonic reversal....
Jim:    Right, that's bad...OK.. important safety tip.
        Thanks, Hamish. 

(apologia: Venkman, Egon, and Ray....  Ghostbusters)

Peter Nicholls (ed.) in the The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Granada Publishing, London, 1979, page 198. writes:
"Entropy has become a potent metaphor. It is uncertain who first introduced the term to sf, but it was very probably Philip K. Dick, who makes much of the concept in nearly all his works. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) entropy, or increasing disorder, is imaged as "kipple".

Entropy (n): The tendency in the universe towards disorder.

In Operation Tantalus we envisioned Seth, the self-proclaimed Master of Chaos, as using Entropy in his plan to usher in "a new era of chaos". The result - increasing disorder in the form of "Biological Devolution". A somewhat slow but inevitable process in which mankind would devolve into degenerate mutations. Biological Devolution is a central and recurring theme in most of J.G. Ballard's early science fiction work. Notably, The Voices of Time (1960) and The Drowned World (1962).

It is interesting to note that one of the most frequently asked questions in Blade Runner is " Is Deckard a Replicant?" is very similar to the most frequently asked question in Marathon "Are we a Cyborg?"

While many people are aware that Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? formed the basis for Blade Runner, few people are aware that his short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (1966) was used in part for the film Total Recall (starring Arnold Schwartzeneggar). One of the interesting things about the plot, apart from the a guy running around with a wet towel on his head, was that it involved the discovery of alien artifacts on Mars. Sound familar?

Positronic Cyborgs... ?

Positronic: the word was coined by Issac Asimov for his famous 'robot' stories. The positron is the anti-particle of the electron, but the idea of positrons (highly unstable) being suitable material for the construction of a positronic brain is an oxymoron.

Asimov gave us the 3 Laws of Robotics. But what are the "3 Cyborg Laws"?

  1. Never stop running.
  2. Shot everything that moves except in events which would conflict with the First Law.
  3. Shot everything that doesn't move except in events which would conflict with the First or Second Law.

James Brewster
David Dericotte
Hamish Sinclair
Created Dec 14, 1995