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MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY

Do Cyborgs Dream of Disassembly? An Exploration of Female Cyborg and Android Bodies in
Contemporary Science Fiction Texts and Discourse

by


Therese Jacqueline Schultz

A PROJECT


SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS (Honours, English)

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLIGH


CALGARY, ALBERTA


December, 2012

© Therese Jacqueline Schultz 2012



ABSTRACT
This paper discusses how particular science fiction texts have grappled with the idea of female cyborgs. It also deals with the relevance of female cyborgs in current academia because they force a reader to address the question of selfhood and agency for a hybrid gendered subject. In effect, this paper goes into elaborate descriptions of three fictional cyborg/android characters in particular: Rachael Rosen, Pris Stratton and Molly Millions who are restricted by the confines of hegemonic gender constructions. William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984), Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner (The Final Cut 2008) and their characters (mentioned above) are contextualized using post-humanist theory and an exposition of the downfalls of traditional humanist theories. This work elaborates on how traditional humanist theory has for so long been a defining criterion for humanness, and explores the notion that humanness is not tied solely through a human’s capability for rationality and morality. The main goal of this research is to indicate how or why feminist scholarship has focused so widely on the confines of the body and not necessarily so on the object of choice within the subject of cyborg body modifications. In specific, this work posits that cyberspace, as a space of infinite and indefinite meanings is a confusing geography for the liberation or non-liberation of female cyborgs from their bodies. The chapters for this work are as follows: “Part I: Mediating the Transgressive Cyborg Body and A Discussion of Feminist Cyborg Discourses”, “Part II: Investigating Notions of Embodiment in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner The Final Cut”, “Part III: Mediating a Female Cyborg in Cyberspace: William Gibson’s Molly in Neuromancer”, and “Part IV: The Humanist/Post-Human Body: Understanding Corporealization and Gender Through A Theoretical Framework.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………………..[iii]
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………...[iv-ix]

Part I: Mediating the Transgressive Cyborg Body and A Discussion of Feminist Cyborg Discourses…………………………………………………………………………………[1-10]

Part II: Investigating Notions of Embodiment in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner The Final Cut………………………[10-21]

Part III: Mediating a Female Cyborg in Cyberspace: William Gibson’s Molly in Neuromancer………………………………………………………………………………[21-26]

Part IV: The Humanist/Post-Human Body: Understanding Corporealization and Gender Through A Theoretical Framework……………………………………………………...[26-32]
Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………[32-34]

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………….[35-36]

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank my friends for putting up with my fantasies and musings about cyborgs and Blade Runner for three months straight, and for supporting me in my own body modifications.

My thanks also to Dr. Kenna Leigh Olsen and Dr. Kit Dobson

This paper would not have been written without their support and guidance. My sincerest gratitude is devoted to them for providing me with the opportunity to create and conclude this project.


And
To Dr. Jane Drover for always challenging me to think outside the gendered box.



Introduction
With the birth of more sophisticated and cutting-edge technologies, humans are compelled to explore the capacity for redefining how the human body functions and how the body is situated within particular geographies. The creation of cyberspace through the medias of popular literature and through film has additionally disrupted the understandings of human physicality. What this means is that the very connotation of the word human is shifting as bodies are being amalgamated with mechanical appendages or with re-engineered human cells. These reinterpreted human bodies are also by extension concrete indicators of the progress of capitalist machine-age enterprises.

With a re-definition of human corporeality emerging it is necessary for an inquiry into the theories that dictate what constitutes human agency, rationality, and consciousness. For centuries Cartesian dualism, or the mind/body dichotomy was considered an essential criteria for defining humanness. This notion that the body is not one without the mind has been problematized with the advent of cyborg and android bodies. Cyborgs and androids cannot solely be understood through a Cartesian dualism because many have been programmed with an intelligence far surpassing the capability of most humans.

The assumption that humans are purely organic is now a myth, even in terms of their sex.1 Cyborgs and androids are no longer fictions of the minds of science-fiction writers; they now exist as hybrid humans with pacemakers, sub-dermal implants and other modifications. These other modifications can include the alterations of sexual organs for performance or for aesthetics.

Our society has presented us with a number of individuals who have chosen to modify their bodies to the extent that they’ve blurred the lines between human and machinic hybrids. For an android in particular, a major conflict arises: the programmability of gender.2

As androids are created, so is their sex. As a result, gendered conventions arise from the possession of the signifier male or female. Gender, even in terms of a created human or is still a product of social conventions and it determines both social/political and sexual behaviors.

The merging of women, machines and biotechnologies constitutes in itself a new debating ground for whether or not gender is established through a purely physical means. Meaning that gender is determined by way of physicality. When perceiving the female android or cyborg body, male fictions and discourses are apt to distinguish her with particularly feminine characteristics although cyberspace’s “consensual hallucination. Unthinkable complexity. [And] Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind (Gibson 51), formulates an infinite space of non-meanings. The machinic female body is fetishized and is given a particular sexual meaning by way of patriarchal relations of power. Many fans and artists’ (including film producers and directors’) articulations of SF characters further contribute to the fetishization of the female cyborg body. 3

What cyberspace should produce is a particular body disconnected and reconnected, metaphorically and physically to particular subjectivities. What William Gibson’s character Molly Millions proves in the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer is that a cyborg female can create her own transgressive meaning by willfully modifying her own body.

Post-Modern Science Fiction literatures often question the very boundaries of the bodily human and the subjective human. Therefore, the female cyborg and android imposes an interrogation into traditional humanist philosophies especially with regards to questions of rationality and morality. The According to author Kaye Mitchell, “The most utopian ‘readings’ and re-conceptualizations of the body in the last couple of decades have concerned themselves… with the impact of new technologies on the body, figuring the outcome as, most optimistically, an escape from control and regulation” (Mitchell 110). Molly’s reconfiguring of her own body and its impending meanings is one example of a female cyborg character in fiction that is able to take control of her own physicality. Alternatively, Molly, as she appears in Gibson’s text can also be treated as a cyborg whose meanings are limited by the very text that surrounds her. Given that she is written into existence by a male author, it is obvious that her rendering will in some ways continue to confine her to stereotypes of femininity inherent in patriarchal structures of power. Control and regulation are still present if a female body is being rendered through the eyes of a voyeuristic male author or readership.

Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and William Gibson’s Neuromancer are still texts deserving of analysis even twenty or thirty years after their creation. These texts are pivotal to the science-fiction canon because they all demonstrate to their readers female cyborg and android bodies that are in many ways limited by the meanings assigned to them by their physicality. These female cyborgs are often potrayed as heroines. Dick and Scott’s android/replicants Rachael Rosen and Pris Stratton are both incredibly beautiful women in possession of like-human bodies. And, Gibson’s cyborg Molly is also strikingly exotic and beautiful in the text’s descriptions of her body and her machinic appendages. In these three texts respectively the reader is confronted with the question of whether or not these hybrid humans have choice regarding their own regulation of their bodies. Are humans able to make decisions about the meanings applied to their bodies if their choice to change their physicality is already restricted? This question is pertinent especially to androids.4 And, if a cyborg female like Molly is able to manipulate and change her body to include cybernetic technologies, can she still regulate and control the meanings inscribed upon her body?

In many ways the traditional notions of expendable heterosexual female sexuality forces the android and the cyborg into a position as an unwilling subject whose body is constantly inscribed upon for the benefit of their male counterparts. She becomes a spectacle in a space: cyberspace, which deconstructs her very ascertainment of self and personhood5. What Dick’s Do Androids, Scott’s Blade Runner and Gibson’s Neuromancer all fail to emphasize is the “more pessimistic, Foucauldian possibility that technology may be working to perpetuate and extend the complicated network of power relations and modes of self-regulation already in place” (Mitchell 110).6 This statement suggests that cyborgs and androids cannot be completely liberated by their bodies, even if they do have a choice to trouble the gendered meanings that have been applied too them. Liberation and transcendence, however, cannot happen without the destruction of hegemonic masculinity.

Self-regulation is problematic for characters like Rachael and Pris who have been programmed with particular memories and with gender. Post-human ideology can to a certain extent explain how these new hybrid bodies can be understood. The discord between the competing ideologies of humanism and post-humanism are explored to a greater extent later on in this work.

There have been attempts by female SF authors to re-inscribe the female cyborg and android, but these renderings continue to be problematic because the corporeality of these beings is still inextricably tied to formations of meaning through gender and corporeal identities. My intent with this paper is to demonstrate how a discursively masculine politics within science fiction literatures continues to envision female cyborgs as possessions, as sub-human and in many ways a colonial other. As mentioned above, the body becomes a place of deconstruction, a battleground of identities and reformation of selves in unity with cybernetic technologies. The body becomes a text for meanings, or in this case: cyberspatial non-meanings. Although cyberspace is itself a location for the casting off of hegemonic relations of power, it can also be viewed as a space metaphorically penetrated by masculine forces. What is of importance here is that although women authors have strived to create a cyborg or android woman free from the constraints of gender, they have come to the realization that within structures of patriarchy come dominating meanings that prevent the cyborg from overcoming the assumptions made about her body. Assumptions about how exotic her body is, assumptions about how easily it is to take advantage of her because she does not possess a particular “type” of rationality and so on.

The corporealization of female cyborgs/androids forces us to pose broader questions about what it means to be human, but more crucially, if supposed female humans are already considered substitutions and conduits for masculine desire (without being considered cyborgs or androids), to what end is the android female subject in control of her body and her mind? Her choice is already constricted. This question will be investigated through the analysis and theoretical explanation of Philip K. Dick’s and Ridley Scott’s characters Rachael and Pris in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the it’s film adaptation Blade Runner. Molly Millions from William Gibson’s Neuromancer will also be the subject of study in tandem with theoretical works like Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter and Jean Baudrillard’s Similacra and Simulation. All of these characters will be contextualized within a post-humanist framework in order to answer the question of humanness as posed above, and to expand upon what so many theoretical texts have avoided or have overlooked for so long in both the disciplines of the arts and of cyber technologies: the subject of human agency and choice.

The aim of this paper is to delineate how choice and liberation from the physical body is limited by means of masculine discourses. In other words, science fiction texts written by male authors will automatically produce particular female cyborgs and androids that are relinquished of any definition of self apart from their bodily inscriptions because they are fetishized and hyper-sexualized.

In the next chapter, Donna J. Haraway’s pivotal text “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” will be addressed in order to contextualize the meaning and physicality of the female cyborg body.


Part I: Mediating the Transgressive Cyborg Body and A Discussion of Feminist Cyborg Discourses

One of the most crucial points an individual can make about the cyborg bodies in Dick’s and Gibson’s texts are that their characters are always filtered by the male gaze. This element of voyeurism functions as an active filter for Molly Millions, Pris Stratton and Rachael Rosen. As a result, it is apparent that these female cyborg characters are being compelled to act as performing spectacles. The spectacle involves the overt sexualization of the female body in terms of its gendered conventions. This type of gendered spectacle can be noted in both the first entrance of Pris Stratton into Dick’s novel’s plot and Rachael’s entrance to meet Deckard at the beginnings of Scott’s film Blade Runner. Much of the emphasis in the meeting scene between Rachael and Deckard emphasizes on the silhouettes of bodies. As Rachael approaches Deckard she is bathed in half-light and the whole outline of her body is emphasized as the camera pans out from a full-body shot to her wide eyes and scarlet red lips (Blade Runner). This scene evokes for an audience a particular seductiveness about Rachael that from the outset plays upon gender, she is perceived as a body, a moving body defined by her physical beauty. In Philip K. Dick’s text, Pris Stratton is first portrayed as a physically “fragmented” (Dick 62) being. In the scene where Pris encounters J.R Isodore, he describes her as a

[F]ragmented and misaligned shrinking figure, a girl who cringed and slunk away and yet hold onto the door, as if for physical support. Fear made her seem ill; it distorted her body lines, made her appear as if someone had broken her…. The girl stepped into the hall, closing the door behind her; arms folded self-consciously before her small high breasts. (Dick 62-65)
Although this portrayal of Pris provides a striking contrast to the overtly sexual representation of Rachael, Pris’ interpretation through the eyes of J.R Isodore illustrates her as a girl, not a woman, who is physically dismantled. She is infantilized and the exposition of her physicality is that of a weak child. The contrasts of these two characters prove that in the novel Do Androids and in Scott’s film Blade Runner that the female replicants are metaphorically weakened by their physical states. Their selfhood is destroyed as a result. Rachael is the seductress and Pris is the childlike and helpless passive subject. The assumptions about Pris then are that she is unable to be anything but passive and that therefore she possesses little agency.

The female cyborg or android body can thus be perceived as a subject hailed into an existence by a male discourse, especially a heterosexual discourse that requires her to continue to function as an object. Many feminist discourses provide more contextualization for the corporealizing, deconstructing and recoding of the female cyborg body. Because this mechanized and technological body blurs the lines of sexual and non-sexual feminists seek to recodify and re-strengthen a post-humanist ideology that does not render this new form of human as a vulnerable subject by re-codification into a masculine space. A female cyborg is still subordinate to her male counterparts and cyborg counterparts if she is not even considered an existent socio-political agent. As post-humanist theory tries to answer the question of cyborg existence, often the possibility of a transcendent and perhaps even willfully gendered subject cannot exist. In other words, for an android to choose a gender is unfathomable because she is controlled by whoever programs her. With this in mind, the next section will focus mainly on how feminist discourses have mediated the female cyborg and android body beginning with Haraway’s “Manifesto”.

Donna J. Haraway’s text “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” has served as the launching point for various scholarly works on the socio-political operations of the cyborg female. Haraway has also pursued a dialogue about the existence of a common language amongst android women and cyberspace beings. The identity of the cyborg female is dependent upon social constructions that are intermediated within and outside her body, but, as Haraway argues, an understanding of self through “essential unity” (Haraway122) is not possible:

The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labor, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity…. Identities seem contradictory, partial, and strategic. With the hard-won recognition of their social and historical constitution, gender, race, and class cannot provide the basis for belief in ‘essential unity’. There is nothing about being ‘female’ that naturally binds women. (Haraway 118-22)

Deconstruction is essential for determining how the female cyborg body is inscribed and partitioned, but the underlying issue, as Haraway notes, is being able to reconstruct female subjectivity without relying on a unification founded on elements of female gender. This excerpt also reminds the reader that this post-humanist rendering of mechanized bodies is not reliant on a single origin story. If, as Haraway argues, there is no essential female self that can be appealed to for the redefinition of the post-modern cyborg body, what then can function to re-enter her into a stream of communication with other beings? Agency, if filtered through the lens of humanism, means that the android and cyborg female will still be metaphorically written upon by her gender as a palimpsest. It is automatic that she then is subjected to hyper-sexualization. What is difficult to determine here is why the cyborg must be re-entered into meaning at all. Two outcomes are possible from this determination. Firstly, the cyborg female can be re-entered and then re-subjected to relations of power and then is capable of being defined. Secondly, if she is not re-entered, this works to her advantage because she can create her own meaning. The conflict here is that with this self-created meaning can she still be considered a “worthy” subject. Is she worthy of being considered human if she does not ascribe to particular definitions of the body? This challenges the foundations of Cartesian Dualism: whether or not the body can survive without the mind. Like one single ideology, the cyborg cannot be viewed as simply a self in and of itself. The cyborg, according to Jennifer Gonzalez should not be limited “as primarily a surface or simulacrum which signifies only itself; rather the cyborg is like a symptom—[she] represents that which cannot otherwise be represented” (Gonzalez 59). The existence of the female cyborg or android then, according to Gonzalez, is predicated on the fact that she (the cyborg or android) should not be contained by mere embodiment, neither should she only defined by her bodily confines. Instead, this cyborg is a product of a number of social interactions and historical experiences, which make it a part of the post-modern world:

In order to determine the character of any given cyborg identity and the range of its power, one must be able to examine the form and not merely the fact of this interface between automaton and autonomy…. The cyborg body thus becomes the historical record of changes in human perception. One such change may be reflected in the implied redefinition of the space the cyborg inhabits. (Gonzalez 61)

Gonzales mentions a “historical record” (Gonzalez 61) in this passage in reference to the female cyborg and, perhaps, in reference to the cyborg’s origin story. Because the cyborg is considered to be made and not born, it is not always assumed that it would carry with it the various attitudes and corresponding memories about the history of its past. The history with which I am speaking is its lineage and where or why it was created. The female cyborg does not fit precisely into a taxonomy of the human species because it is exotic and new. Where Gonzalez’ argument is flawed is understanding where the cyborg is in fact given a gender, it carries along with it all of the socio-political implications that accompany that particular gender. In this case, the female cyborg has both a history of female revolution and the conflict of forming the other to the subject because she is still entrapped within patriarchal power structures. The binary of male and female must be delineated. In order for humans to relate to their androgynous robotic creations they often ascribe a gender in order to create relativity. Because cyborgs and androids are infinitely creations born of capitalist processes it makes sense that gender must be programmed to make them sellable commodities.

Gonzalez’ “historical record” (61) also illustrates how the female cyborg may continue to be sexualized because of her gender. Because the body has become the center or, perhaps, a decentered arena for the contemplation of subjectivity, it is also possible that one can argue that gender is non-existent, especially through when the body itself is deconstructed. The metaphorical lines of existent and non-existent gender are always blurred.

The irony in any added appendage to the body, in this case for females, whether it is mirrors for eyes or metallic claws, for Molly Millions, is that the body mods become a performance of a sort of deviant culture. The hacking into of the body by machinic intervention subverts traditional notions of femininity. Molly’s act of “body hacking” is deviant because she is attaining agency through the distortion of her physical body. With the additions of her fingernails and her improved reflexes, she is voluntarily throwing off meanings created by hegemonic masculinity.7 Victoria Pitts, author of “Body Projects,” explains that: “Postmodern feminists, having rejected the idea of a ‘natural’ pristine body to be defended, celebrated the ironic intent of deviant body modifiers” (Pitts 232). These so-called “modifiers” (232) often continue to codify the body within its space and in the space that mediates it. In cyberspace, which is still quite literally a male-dominated space (insofar that males are able to “hack in” and penetrate the space), the female cyborg body is still tethered to the various intersections of gender and bodily awareness. A celebration in this particular setting is not necessarily warranted.

The denaturing of the female body then calls for a reconnecting to culture, one in which that provides the cyborg woman with a sense of agency and power, but is this possible? To a certain extent, Rachael Rosen and Pris Stratton can be considered both fictional cyborg characters that cannot escape their historical origins. Not only are Rachael and Pris built out of a capitalist schema; they are also bound to their father and creator Eldon Rosen –this poses a sort of Frankenesteinian problem.

While Molly Millions may have some chance at circumventing or at throwing off her gender inscriptions, because her fiction occurs in cyberspace: a place where the understanding of identities are already deconstructed, Pris and Rachael may not be as fortunate. This is true because both Rachael and Pris are locationally static. Their access to cyberspace is through computers, but neither cyborg engages in the actual process of plugging in as Molly Millions does in Neuromancer. Dick presents his reader with a dystopic twenty-first century geography of the United States, which has seen degradation into a total wasteland. Here, in this wasteland, the audience and reader will note gender inscriptions are still very important because the replicants themselves are given sex. Pris Stratton’s label as a “pleasure model” from the outset of the novel and Ridley Scott’s film indicates that gender identities are not necessarily in flux. Gender is being programmed, and android prostitutes are being produced to appease out-world colonials.

What is crucial to remark here is that rarely do cyborg characters get to decide on which bodies they wish to represent themselves in. As a result, a transgressive body politics that involves a woman’s choosing to change her body is imminently modern and perhaps not necessarily relevant for the machinic woman who has been created not of her own accord. Victoria Pitts’s article presents an argument surrounding female body modifications –not necessarily cyborg body modifications, although, the premise itself in theory can be applied to the female cyborg body:

I would also describe agency here in terms of speed and visibility. The practice of commanding the social gaze means that the insertion of women’s own meanings of the body usurps, at least temporarily, the experts’ role in naming women’s bodies. (Pitts 240)

Although many feminists would argue that the implantation of machinic appendages could from the equivalent of a deviant female bodily awareness and commanding of a certain amount of socio-political power, the manifestation of these parts is still reliant on the father. The creator, or the father, forms a Frankensteinian bond with the creation, hence its status as made and not born. Essentially, the woman cyborg is linked to this history, and therefore, this reality is inescapable. She is, as Pris and Rachael are, commanded by their creator to die at a particular time. The death of the android or replicant is, thus, determined by the creator. A female android or cyborg may embody traits that are considered traditionally masculine such as: strength, heroism etc. However, these social constructions merely continue to adhere her to representation of what liberation may look like. Embodying the traits of the opposite sex cannot untether the female cyborg from her foundations. She is infinitely female.

The female cyborg body manifests a slight contradiction. Melissa Colleen Stevenson contrasts two very different views on the embodiment of the cyborg and its surroundings. What she argues mainly is that (regarding Haraway’s cyborg) which she calls the “ethereal” (Stevenson 88) female cyborg, the cyborg in question has the capability of disconnecting herself from “essentialist connections” (87). That she is not bound by a totalizing myth of female gender, “the cyborg’s technologically penetrated body allows the cyborg to reject Edenic notions of being and femininity, and to turn away from the history of repression that such an origin myth countenances” (Haraway qtd in Stevenson 87). Stevenson contrasts this with Katherine Hayles’s justification of cyborgs as products of a dichotomy: embodiment and environment. Hayles is foremost attentive to the subject of the body, but she is also aware of the socio-political factors physically surrounding the outside of physicality:

Hayles’s fully realized (post) human beings depend upon their embodied experiences and upon their interaction with their complex and shifting environments to define a subjectivity that extends through their bodies and out into the larger world within which they create a kind of “disturbed cognition environment (Hayles qtd in Stevenson 290). They are thus not independent of their worlds of flesh and of experience, but inextricably bound to them and defined by them. (Stevenson 88)

These two varying viewpoints prove that the subject matter of transcending the female cyborg body is still contested. If the body is indeed “penetrated” (Haraway qtd in Stevenson 87) as Haraway maintains, the reader assumes that female cyborg is the object of the penetration. And, as a result, the controller or the agent of the penetration then becomes the creator of the mediating gaze; which, we can argue, is predominantly male, at least within a discourse of phallocentric science fiction literature.

The next few sections will explore each of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner The Final Cut, Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and William Gibson’s Neuromancer. The consideration of female cyborg as visible spectacle/gendered performance will be discussed at length with a contextual framework provided by Butler’s text Bodies that Matter.

The broader inquiry for the next section will involve posing the question of whether or not a phallocentric science fiction can provide an answer to an ethics and morality for cyborgs. Scott’s Blade Runner, Gibson’s Neuromancer and Dick’s Do Androids all deal with the issue of what it means to be human, and more specifically, what that meaning is within a post-modern and post-humanist world. It is notable to remember that cyberspace, although freeing in its concept is still codified as a masculine space. The process of “jacking in” or “hacking” in is the very embodiment of phallocentric activities. The very act itself of metaphorical penetration into the consciousness of cyberspace means that it is now a masculine space.

Cyberspace is intended for passage of vast amounts of information and, it is used mainly by men. A good example of this statement is in Neuromancer when Gibson’s main protagonist Case demonstrates his original disdain for cyberspace as a construct. He expresses disdain because he states that “it was basically a meat toy… and that the cyberspace matrix was actually a drastic simplification of the human sensorium… and a gratuitous multiplication of flesh input” (Gibson 55). This disdain arises from Case’s disillusionment with an object that allows an individual to transcend the body, or in his mind to multiply “flesh input” (55). His engagement later on in the text with the sim-stim unit as a conduit for metaphorically penetrating Molly’s consciousness means that the masculine characters (at least in Gibson’s text) are looking for some sort of fulfillment.8 Cyberspace acts as a sort of spiritual vehicle within which men are relieved from the confines of their body. The very act of Case placing electric trodes on himself and “jacking in” demonstrates that although the body is missing from cyberspace, it is that critical connection. Being absorbed into cyberspace means that the body is being repressed in many ways. Case’s nickname “console cowboy” in Gibson’s novel also illustrates for a reader that although Case possesses disdain for the very item he uses to escape his body, he actually enjoys using it as a spiritual replacement. Because Gibson’s post-modern Sprawl does not contain any continuing vision of religious dogmatism or any other cultic religion, I would argue that the cyberspace itself acts as a vehicle for the realization of selfhood and the realization of a supposedly higher power. The higher power in this case is infinite but it is not God. The objective for the next section is to analyze the androids Rachael and Pris in Dick’s Do Androids and Scott’s Blade Runner respectively. The same thread of spiritual reconnection is also envisioned in Dick’s text in the form of the cult of Mercerism.




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