Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

SciFi Mixed Links – CBS Announces Star Trek Series; Reddit Star Wars Theories; Sonic Tractor Beam

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SciFi Mixed Links – Star Trek Costumes, DeLorean Ecto88, Free NASA Patents

John Colicos as Kor in Star Trek TOS, and Michael Dorn as Worf in Star Trek TNG showcase their Klingon costumes. Photograph: Insight Editions. Image via guardian.com

John Colicos as Kor in Star Trek TOS and Michael Dorn as Worf in Star Trek TNG showcase their Klingon costumes. Photograph: Insight Editions. Image via guardian.com

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SciFi Mixed Links – Mars Mystery Solved, Blood Supermoon, Trekkie Wedding

NASA makes a huge announcement about Mars, just a day after the lunar eclipse of a supermoon. Left image: Mosaic of Mars via NASA. Right Image: The Blood Supermoon via BBC/Getty.

NASA makes a huge announcement about Mars, just a day after the lunar eclipse of a supermoon. Left image: Mosaic of Mars via NASA. Right Image: The Blood Supermoon via BBC/Getty.

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Silent Sentience – Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and the Concept of Self in Science Fiction

What does Joss Whedon's Dollhouse tell us about our notions of self? Image Source: Dollhouse, "Hollow Men." Copyright Fox.

What does Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse tell us about our notions of self? Image Source: Dollhouse, “Hollow Men.” Copyright Fox.

The premise of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse begins simply enough. Rossum Corporation, a mega biotech firm, has developed the technology to “imprint” a person with the personality of another. To further their research (and make a profit at the same time), Rossum creates the Dollhouse – an organization that rents imprinted people, known as “Dolls” or “Actives”, to the highest bidder. These Dolls are generally volunteers, people escaping from their past, who sign a five-year contract to Rossum. Their memories are wiped and stored, leaving them in an “Inactive” blank slate for the new personalities. At the end of the five year period, the volunteers’ original memories are imprinted back into their bodies, and these former Dolls live out the rest of their lives, richer than ever.

Dollhouse starts with the generic fantasies. Clients rent out dolls for their own sexual desires or other strange fetishes. As the two-season series continues, however, the darker side of the Dollhouse presents itself. After all, Dollhouse technology presents infinite possibilities beyond sexual fantasy play – it can mean the rise of the super soldier, the hope of resurrection, and the consequent evils of immortality. But at the same time, Dollhouse begs a fundamental question. If we can imprint an entire artificial self on another human being, what does this mean about the concept of self – the very concept of a soul? Does the original outweigh the imprint – or are both equally human beings, necessitating our respect and protection? If so, is Topher’s last act one of mercy or genocide?

Various science fiction shows and books have addressed this subject of the self before, from Star Trek to Neuromancer to Dune. Let’s take a look at how the Dollhouse narrative compares to these previous works, and addresses the concept of self. (Caution – Spoilers Ahead!)

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SciFi Mixed Links – Star Trek Birthday, Space Whiskey, Asimov Webcomic

Star Trek landed on television screens everywhere over 49 years ago, on September 8, 1966. Image Source: Star Trek, "Plato's Stepchildren", via Blastr.com.

Star Trek landed on television screens everywhere over 49 years ago, on September 8, 1966. Image Source: Star Trek, “Plato’s Stepchildren”, via Blastr.com.

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SciFi Mixed Links – Star Trek AI Dreams, Cassini Closeup, Bradbury Art

A neural network tries to interpret the opening sequence of Star Trek’s TNG. Spaceship or Odometer? Image Source: Ville-Matias Heikkilä (YouTube video).

 

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SciFi Mixed Links – Star Wars Disney, Data DNA, Space Elevator

CoverGirl launches Star Wars-themed makeup (and cosplayers go wild).  Copyright CoverGirl/ Pat McGrath.

CoverGirl launches Star Wars-themed makeup (and cosplayers go wild). Copyright CoverGirl/ Pat McGrath.

 

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