Hi All,

 

I'm currently doing an MA in Creative Writing and I'm writing my academic dissertation on Steampunk. Specifically, on the cyborg-type horror elements, the fusion of man and machine.

 

Of course, 'Frankenstein' would probably be the first novel in this area. I can think of a lot of films that deal with this theme, but am racking my brains for examples in literature. Any suggestions? 

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Thanks, Cole, some very interesting thoughts. I agree with you that there is a lot of dualism in this issue, physically as well as philosophically. And yes, you're very right to bring up the issue of medical experimentation, dissection and lack of anesthesia. I think this sometimes gets overlooked in steampunk.

 

Wow, your site is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks! :)

The 'Eve' to Shelley's 'Adam' - some 68 years later :


Tomorrow's Eve
by Villiers de L'isle Adam, 1886.
(Preview @GoogleBooks)
http://tinyurl.com/3f85m3m

The Future Eve
@Wikipedia
http://tinyurl.com/3qj9s7z


See also:

La Mettrie: Medicine, Philosophy, and Enlightenment
by Kathleen Anne Wellman, page 171.
(Preview @GoogleBooks)
http://tinyurl.com/3qxho44

L'Homme Machine: A Study in the Origins of an Idea, 1748.

~ in:

Machine Man and Other Writings
by Julien Offray de La Mettrie, Ann Thomson (transl.)
(Preview @GoogleBooks)
http://tinyurl.com/3tl5tpu


Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination
by Minsoo Kang
(Preview @GoogleBooks)
http://tinyurl.com/3qa4jd3

 

Philip Reeve has the Hungry City Chronicles which feature cyborg characters. 

 

Soldiers are re-animated and fitted with replacement mechanics where the body was damaged.  Not only are they physically remade, but the memory is wiped and emotions are negated as well.  One character, not to give anything away, Striker, has died so many times that the psychological part of his reconditioning seems to fragment as he sporadically accesses emotion and memories.

 

You must also get hold of a copy of Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley.  It's a collection of short fictions written as late as 1920 and as early as 1860's, though I'm not certain on either year and I've shared it with one of my former students.  It's particularly interesting since Ashley provides a bit of socio-historical context as a preface to each selection.

Fantastic - thanks!
You might want to look at Engines of the Imagination: Renaissance Culture and the Rise of the..., which has several sections on automata and one on mechanical women. It's about the Renaissance, yes, but it spans mankind in general as well, and the concepts are interesting. The fear and fascination with machines started earlier than many realize.

And along these same lines, I also recommend:

 

Sympathy or the Devil: Renaissance Magic
and the Ambivalence of Idols

by Wouter J. Hanegraaff
@Esoteric.msu.edu

Excellent discussion of the Classical practice of
"ensouling statues".

~ and ~

Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions
on the Artificial Anthropoid

by Moshe Idel
(Preview @GoogleBooks)

Yes! I saw that mentioned on another forum and have gotten my hands on it. Have started reading. REALLY interesting stuff. Many thanks.

 

Whitechapel Gods by S M Peters, features a disease called "The Clacks" where those infected become more mechanical.

 

 

Thanks, Neon, I've started that one. Nearly finished 'The Wind-up Girl' which I'm LOVING.
What a fantastic book - fabulously-maintained, genuinely creepy atmosphere all the way through. I could practically feel the coal dust on my fingers and in my lungs.
Have you read The Iron Duke, by Meljean Brooks? LOTS of cyborg-esque stuff in there.

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