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05 October 2017 @ 06:56 am
Authenticity  
Here’s a recursive sf story: A writer known for the widely varying quality of his work does a mediocre book based on one of his more tiresome obsessions. Somehow Hollywood notices it and buys it. They replace its uncommercial title with a punchier one that they already owned, although it doesn’t have anything to do with the book they bought or even the movie they made of it. They turn it over to a director who tries to read the book but gives up before page 30. Somehow it not only becomes a hit but even makes the original author bankable, but because of the creator’s Creator’s sense of humor, the author dies before he can enjoy it.

Sarah Gailey casts a fresh eye on Blade Runner: It’s a film about slavery, from the owners’ point of view, with a hero who tracks down and kills fugitive slaves if they can’t answer impossible questions because otherwise they would pass and mongrelize society.

Paradoxically, the questions measure “empathy,” but specifically empathy for animals. One pretty much has to be a PETAmane to pass the test. (I suspect that a machine that could pass for organic human could also be programmed to give acceptable answers to the Voight-Mein Kampff test, but that’s not important now.) I have heard the theory that PKD feared the incursion of androids into our society for the same reason some homophobes pursue queers: He was afraid he was one.

Or maybe I’m a replicant. I could not honestly pass the Voight-Kampff test. I’m a human exceptionalist and a posthumanist. If there is a path for us from animals to gods, I would assume that it has to go through machines. While of course the link between mind and body is far too complex to reduce us to one or the other, the most useful oversimplification for me is that we are minds and have bodies, and my empathy goes to those who think like us, even if they clank metallically.
 
 
 
Kalimackalimac on October 6th, 2017 05:47 pm (UTC)
This is the first time I've seen Androids retconned as one of PKD's poorer books.